Gotcha Day –> Year Two

He is the light of every room he enters.
He is the son a mom could only dream about.
He is full of life and possibilities.
He loves hard and big.
He is starting to be more brave in most aspects of life.
He has a natural servant’s heart.
He is the best big brother I have ever seen.
He loves his daddy and longs for every moment he can spend with him.
He loves to kiss his mommy and his baby brother.
He would eat corn dogs every day if he was allowed.
He loves ice cream something fierce.
He works the phrase “Paw Patrol” into every conversation he has.
He loves to laugh and to make other people laugh.

My Sweet Aiden Jahreed-James Ribble 

This weekend, two years ago, a judge in Grenada declared that Aiden could be our little boy. He was officially a Ribble the morning of June 25, 2015.

I watch him every day and marvel at his life. His life is so much more now than it was two years ago. He has grown in maturity and definitely physically (he has legs for days).

Aiden when he revealed that he was going to be a big brother

I will never stop marveling at him and the plans God has for him. I am so honored I get to watch his life unfold. I am so proud to be the mom on the sideline cheering him on. I just get giddy with excitement when I think about all that God has for his life.

My Aiden <3

Happy Gotcha Day sweet boy.

I am so glad to have more days to love on you. You are exquisite.

-Mommy

How To Look Like Jesus

We do not know what Jesus looked like physically. We have ideas and some people have drawn their depictions for our imaginations; however, we really do not know what He looked like.

One way that I have discovered what Jesus may be like is by who He shows Himself to be in the Bible. I can imagine His demeanor and His mannerisms by the stories I read about Him in His Word.

As I look at my oldest son, whom we adopted, I am always lost in thought about what he will physically look like as he grows up. Everything about him will be a surprise to us because we have no idea what his biological parents look like.

one of the first pictures we took of Aiden with his daddy in Grenada

Each year when we visit the pediatrician for his check up, we find that he is always in a very high percentile for his height and the doctors tell us they think he will be really tall.
I would say this assessment goes really well with how many pairs of shoes and pants I go through with that kid. I can’t keep them on him. Seriously – I bought him a pair of tennis shoes at the beginning of the summer break (which was the end of May) and they are already getting small. Amazing.

What I love about our situation with Aiden is there is no comparing him physically to family members. We do not look to our family genes to know what he might appear like in the future – we are able to focus on who he is as a person.

one of my favorites of Jared and Aiden in Grenada

Just like I do not know what Jesus really looks like, I may not know what Aiden will physically look like. However, I can read God’s word, take stories that show who He really is and pour those into my son so that he can look like Jesus when he grows up.

I am so thankful God gave Aiden an earthly father who is doing this for him – showing him the traits of Jesus in a very real and tangible way every single day.  I am able to see my husband be such an amazing father to him. A father that is showing Aiden what it means to be a good soul, to have a good heart, to love others well. Aiden is able to watch his earthly father and mimic his traits to this world.

Jared holding our youngest, Ryman, with Aiden nearby

Are you doing this for your children?
Take who Jesus shows Himself to be in scripture, mimic that in your own life, so that as your children watch you – they are watching Jesus.

Happy Father’s Day to all the amazing dads out there. I am so blessed that my boys got one of the best!

-KR

Guest Blog : Holt International : Advocating for Boys

I was deeply honored to guest blog on Holt International’s website for National Adoption Month. Below is the blog I wrote for them.

The Story Behind the Picture : Advocating for Boys

Krystal Ribble is an adoptive mom of one son from Grenada, the Executive Director of Equality for Adopted Children in Washington, D.C. and a college minister at Belmont Heights Church Nashville. Her blog www.krystalribble.com is full advocacy for orphaned and abandoned children, adoptees and adoptive families. Here, she writes about how we can advocate for adopted sons and meet them where they are.

KR, Aiden, & Baby
When we think of the vulnerability of orphans, we tend to think of the girls who are in need of families first. We see them for their fragility and feel the need to protect them.

As a mom to a little boy who was once an orphan, my view has shifted slightly. I would never have thought about his little spirit and soul as fragile. The only thing about him that felt fragile when I first held him was his little three year old body. Everything else about him felt ready to take on this big world with gusto and determination.

Now, having the experience of parenting him, I have discovered all the ways in which his little heart longs for me to fight for him. He needs a combination of my vulnerability and my stability every day.

How can we show up for these boys and advocate best for them?

I believe there are three things we can do:

1. Recognize his heart as still being molded by the love and influence he is surrounded by.
My son comes from a harsher place than most because of being abandoned and I notice his heart aches much easier when fear enters a picture or when he witnesses injustice.
It is important for me to be aware of the circumstances around him and be willing to protect his emotions when I can as well as be present for him when he is hurt by something or someone. Both are equally important.

Aiden
2. Do not apologize to others or try to change his behavior to mold him into an image the public can accept.

This can be on a multitude of levels, but I want to give a small example that can be expounded upon.
My son is terrified of dogs. When I say terrified, I mean absolutely loses his mind. Most dog owners we encounter try to talk him into liking their dog because “oh she doesn’t bite” or “he is so friendly,” but to a child, who is scared of these animals, not only do those statements not register in his mind, he can’t fathom that truth.
My husband and I have chosen to help minimize his fear by showing him the truth of those animals from afar. We have not and will not force him to be close to a dog when we know how much is shakes him to the core.
His experience with dogs is different than anything we can imagine and someone’s animal who is nice or small or cute will not take away his past experiences.
He needs to see that we take his fears seriously and we protect him in public when he is afraid. He needs to know that we are not trying to change him to fit other people’s ideas of what a five year old boy should be like.
This applies in many circumstances.

Mommy & Aiden in Grenada

3. He needs to know that you pray for him and lift his requests to God on his behalf.
We have spent a lot of time teaching our son the importance of prayer and thanksgiving. He picked up on it really quickly as he was immediately thankful for the new life his was given through adoption. However, we have made it clear to him that his requests and the desires of his heart matter to not only us, but they matter to God as well.

Our little boys are just as fragile as our little girls. They need us in their corners fighting for them and cheering for them. If you don’t do this, who else will?

Thank you for your advocacy friends. Carry on.

Krystal Ribble | Nashville, TN

 

 

My Map To Mamahood: Part III

Read Part One 

Read Part Two

…In October of 2014 we received a call from our social worker (this blessed lady had been on the whole journey with us from Russia to now and deserves a million crowns in heaven for it). She had been working with an agency in the Caribbean on a certain matter and because of the good rapport they developed; they began to ask her to send families over who they could consider for a little 3 year old boy. She wanted to know if she could send our file to be considered. I need to be honest here. I was snarky about it. “Sure, send our file. It’s not like anyone has ever wanted to give us a child. Whatever.”From what was explained to me, there is an adoption board on these islands that know the orphans personally. The board likes to meet and look at files of families and they hand pick them for children. I was so skeptical of this process. I had only seen Eastern European orphanages and processes and thus far, I had not experienced one that was not using these children as political pawns. I had not experienced a world where they cared enough to match these children to families they knew would be good for them. I was skeptical, but I wanted to see it too. I wanted to vet this.

Our social worker decided to submit our file; I then expected to hear nothing.

A few weeks later I was working a show (I am a Tour Manager for a few music artists) in Florida. I had done a presentation on Holt International (kiddos who need sponsors) and then proceeded to the merchandise table. This older lady came up to me and said she would be praying for us with our adoption. She grabbed my hand and said, “I just know that you are going to be a Mama… real soon.” In the split second that she said it, I was thinking that it was a nice sentiment and that many people have said this to me. However, when she said “Mama real soon,” my phone began to ring below the merchandise table. I could see that it was my social workers name lit up on the screen. Weird. Since I was talking to this older lady, I could not answer. Then I saw a text message pop up on the screen that said, “Call me ASAP.”

I called her back (mind you… this is like 9PM; an odd time for phone calls like this). She said, “I am just wondering how you feel about soccer balls, baseballs, and boy toys because… you are a Mama. They chose you.”

Sheer SHOCK.

Jared and I walked around in a daze of shock for a week. I don’t even think we talked about it because… WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO US???

We had been on this adoption journey, not necessarily for a certain type of child, but all the ones we had been brought to, thus far, were little girls about 7 or 8 years in age. But here is this little Caribbean boy who is 3…WHAT??? We had been told that when the adoption board picks you, that is it; they consider you his parents and will move you along to be able to come get him. Amazing.

We spoke with the agency soon after this. I told her point blank about my skepticism. I told her they would need to prove themselves to me. She thought I was joking at first; I was not.

They invited us to visit this little one for a week in November. We literally only had one week available the whole rest of the year so we booked our tickets and we flew to the island of Grenada, where little Aiden (that’s his cute name!) lives. I had no clue what we were stepping into, but I was willing to take another risk (heaven only knows why).

The first part of the week we went to his orphanage every day to spend an hour or so with him so he could warm up to us. He was a ball of cuteness. He has a laugh that will send you into happiness no matter your mood before and his smile completely lights up a room. I was stunned. These women who are caring for him are raising him to the best of their abilities and it is SO MUCH more than I have ever seen in any other orphanage. He needs parents, but he has received the next best thing at this children’s home and I cannot even tell you the amount of gratitude this fills me with.

Picture

Little Aiden in his Homework Room at the orphanage

After three days with small visits, we were allowed to take him to stay with us at our hotel for the remainder of the week. He did very well with us although he did take a little bit to warm up to the idea of it just being the three of us. We played on the beach and went to restaurants and walked into town. He grew to love just being close to us. He really values time with just us three. You can tell he craves this type of family.Leaving was very difficult. We knew we had to come back for him. There was no doubt in our minds. We left Grenada knowing he was our little boy; and thus we began the process to change our paperwork to Grenada and try to get back to him as soon as possible.