Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday's Fabulous Five

Last week (Thursday-Saturday) was our 4th Annual Adoption Yard/Bake Sale. Needless to say, I didn't have much left to give by Friday evening, hence the absence of last week's Fabulous Five. So, here are five things that have happened in the last TWO weeks that have given the Riebens something to smile about:

1. Like many of you who are claiming the Adoption Tax Credit (now refundable), we are STILL waiting for our refund (we filed our taxes at the beginning of February). We had hoped to use this money to fund our current adoption, but unfortunately, it looks like we are going to have to raise the bulk of the funds for this adoption the old fashioned way! For the past 6+ weeks, friends, family and even strangers have cleaned their closets and donated items to our 4th Annual Adoption Yard/Bake Sale which we held last Thursday-Saturday. Prior to the sale, we prayed that we would be able to raise enough money to get through the next steps in the adoption process. As things drew to a close on Saturday afternoon and we began adding the money we realized that we had raised the EXACT amount needed to file our I800A and complete our dossier! For those of you who are considering taking the leap of faith to adopt a child, but are worried about finances, let this be another lesson that, if the Lord calls you to it, He'll see you through it! We'd like to offer an ENORMOUS "Thank you!" to all who donated, shopped, helped and supported us in this endeavor!

2. I am happy to announce that, sweet Rieben baby #10 (previously "He-who-is-yet-to-be-named") now has a name! The name that we have chosen is one that has been pushing itself to the front of my mind for a long time, but because it has never been on my list of favorites, I have always casually pushed it aside. As I settled into bed one night last week, I found the name swimming around inside my head once again. The next morning, Richard poked his head out of the shower and asked me if I had considered this name (I had not mentioned it to him previously). The fact that the name had been on both of our minds and that we actually agreed upon it made it golden, but before we made it official I decided to see what the name meant. . . .and I laughed, realizing once again what a great sense of humor our Heavenly Father has! The name means, "Twin." No, the boys are NOT twins, but they are only a few weeks apart in age, share an extra chromosome and certainly LOOK like they could be twins and already, people are referring to them as "the twins." As a mother of multiples, this drives me CRAZY! At the same time, I recognize this name to be a beautiful reminder that these precious boys, though they did not share a womb, were meant to walk through this life together as brothers. So, now that you have all waited SO patiently while I have rambled on and on about this name, Rieben baby #10 will be known as. . . . .

Thomas Christopher (TC)

3. Just in case you didn't hear us celebrating this piece of good news around the world. . . .Alayna's second skin graft was a SUCCESS!!!! She is still taking it easy as the new skin settles into it's new home and puts down roots, but her chronic wound is officially no more and we could not be happier. We will be heading back to Philadelphia at the end of July for her first prosthetic fitting and are hopeful that she will have two feet on the ground and be running circles around us all by the end of the summer! Hallelujah!!!

4. While most of you were relaxing by the pool, playing at the park and working on your tans this week, the Rieben kids were hard at work. . . . .at school! We started school again at our house this week. Earlier in the year (as we were driving back and forth to Philadelphia every few weeks), we made the decision to follow a "year-round" school schedule. Not only does this accommodate our traveling better than a "traditional" schedule, but it has helped our children who are behind (Alayna, Lily and Alexis in particular) have more opportunity to "catch up," AND it helps us to maintain a more consistent schedule (which is vital for so many of our kids, adopted and biological). We have had an EXCELLENT first week and, although homeschooling 8 children does make me want to pull my hair out on a regular basis, it also gives me A LOT to smile about! Seeing my children get excited about learning and knowing that I helped to facilitate that love and excitement is incredibly rewarding!

A glimpse of our "school room!" (we found these desks on Craigslist and were able to purchase 10 of them for $75! What a steal! And it has made such a difference for the kids to have their own work space.)

We learned a little about archaeology in school this week. Today we set up our own archaeological dig site in our backyard.

Our site manager

Budding archaeologists

Our record keeper (Lukas would be a brilliant archaeologist. . .he is incredibly detail oriented and organized. He LOVED this activity!)

5. This week the kids and I started a project to benefit other adoptive families. It combines my love of creating beautiful things with my love for adoption AND my kids are an integral part of it! We're not quite ready to share all of the details yet, but we are SO excited for this opportunity to bless other families on their adoption journeys! As a sneak preview, these fun fabrics will be a part of our creations. . . .


Kathryn said...

Lots of wonderful things to smile about are going on in your family! And I couldn't be more pleased.

Also, I know you have a TON going on, but I'd love to hear more about how you manage your homeschool...someday IF you have time (and I'd totally understand if you didn't). But I am so impressed and inspired by you, your faith and diligence, and the everything about the rest of your beautiful family.

Jill said...

LOVE the new name for your son - can't wait to actually see him in your arms! So excited for you. I wish I could do the whole homeschooling thing - I've thought about moving in nextdoor to you and combining forces! ha ha!

Love the material you've chosen - so cute! :D

boysrus said...

I have always loved the name Thomas and am a little sad it wasn't right for either of our boys (although I do love their names and they are right for them.)

You are so amazing! I love reading your blog and seeing the miracles you are doing!

Cynthia Curtis said...

I think keeping school going year round is a good idea -- you an always program in "vacationn time" and this way you an take advantages of all the teachable opportunities that summer presents -- like archaeological digs!! What fun! Grandma DD