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
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!