Friday, July 27, 2012

Thank you!

In just a few hours I will leave for the airport to bring Benjamin and Thomas home. Before I do, I want to take a moment to thank all of those who have offered their love, encouragement, support, prayers and donations throughout this journey. We could not do this without you!

Last week I began an "emergency" fundraiser to raise the funds necessary to cover the cost of food and lodging while in Bulgaria. I was humbled as I watched friends, family and strangers come together to help us raise those funds in LESS THAN 48 HOURS! The Lord ALWAYS provides and He usually does it through the kindness, generosity and love of others. Thank you to each and every one of you who acted as instruments in the Lord's hands in helping us to reach our goal by donating, sharing and praying!

Before I go, I would like to announce the winners of our "Stitched Together by Love" giveaway.  They are:

Jessica Tschudy
Bulgarian/European Chocolate 

Michelle Buhler
Bulgarian/European Chocolate

Karen Davison
$25 Amazon gift card

Lori Schumaker
$25 Amazon gift card

CeAnne Kosel
$25 Amazon gift card

Viviane Martini
$25 Amazon gift card

I will be mailing all giveaway items once I have arrived home. If the mailing address linked to your paypal accounts are not the same as your current address, please send me a message! 

In just a few days my sweet boys will FINALLY be in my arms to stay! Thank you all for being part of this journey! Your kindness, generosity, love and support will, quite literally, always be etched upon our hearts!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Stitched Together by Love

When we began the process of adopting Benjamin and Thomas 15 months ago, we were thrilled to realize that we had enough money in savings to complete their adoptions WITHOUT fundraising. This is a phenomenon and a blessing that we have never experienced before. Recognizing this great blessing, we decided to focus our fundraising and advocacy efforts in November/December on a little boy with Down syndrome waiting for his forever family in Eastern Europe (He is STILL waiting by the way, with almost $5000 in his grant fund! Where is his mama!?).

Of course, when we started this process in the beginning of 2011, we never could have imagined that it would take as long as it has (this has been our longest process by far) and, when estimating the cost of our airfare for our second trip, we never dreamed that we would be traveling to Europe in the middle of the summer. . . . .during the Olympics! Unfortunately, the combination of these two things drastically changed the cost of airfare and our flights were $1500 more than we had budgeted; $1500 that we had planned to use for food, hotel and the boy's medical examinations required to issue their visas.

Our savings are depleted and our time is short. Next Friday, July 27th, I will leave for Bulgaria to bring my boys home. We have little more than a week to raise the money necessary to complete the process. In the past five years (and five adoptions), we have seen the Lord's hand work many mighty miracles when it comes to raising the necessary funds to complete our adoptions and bring our children home and we know that He will provide a way for us to do so now.

Two years ago, when we were working to bring Alayna, Lily and Alexis home from Bulgaria, we did a fundraiser we called, "Pieced Together by Love." This fundraiser featured a 500 piece puzzle with a picture of the Savior surrounded by children. Friends, family and even strangers donated to our adoption, prayed for our success and shared with others, and their names were written on the backs of these puzzle pieces. This puzzle/picture is a priceless keepsake to our family and especially to our girls as they read the names of the many, many people who came together to help bring them home.

We would like to do a similar fundraiser now. We will be calling it, "Stitched Together by Love." The kids and I have worked together to make quilts for Benjamin and Thomas. Each quilt features squares with appliqued hearts (designed by our kids). For every donation made, for every prayer said on our behalf and for sharing this fundraiser with others, your name will be written on a heart on a coordinating piece of artwork that will hang on the wall in the boys' bedroom and will, once again, serve as a reminder of the many, many people who came together to help us bring our boys home.

 Benjamin's completed quilt 

 Appliqued hearts designed by all of the Rieben kids

In addition to having your name forever etched upon our "hearts," we will also be offering (4) $25 Amazon gift cards and a delicious assortment of Bulgarian/European chocolates (to be acquired while in Bulgaria and shipped upon our arrival home). For every $5 donated, your name will be entered to win one of the gift cards/chocolates. Additionally, every time you share our fundraiser through your blog, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. your name will be entered into the drawing (please be sure to let me know that you have shared). To donate, simply click on the "Stitched Together by Love" Chipin on the sidebar.

Any funds that we raise beyond what we need will be donated to the adoption fund of the Van Nice family who is also working to bring two sweet little ones with Down syndrome home from Bulgaria.

We thank you in advance for all of the encouragement, support, love, donations and prayers that have helped us to bring our boys home!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dear Anonymous

We're not the giving up type 


*This video was made in response to an anonymous comment regarding adoption disruption. We respectfully ask our blog readers to take a "judge not" approach when making comments on our blog concerning this controversial topic. Building a family through adoption is extremely difficult. The decision to disrupt an adoption is very personal and, in most cases, heart wrenching for the family and the child. These families need your support much more than your judgement.