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.


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!


We Do What We Want

I have always said, “People do what they want.”

When I’m disappointed in the outcome of something based on someone’s actions, I remind myself of this. And if I am being totally honest, I try to point the finger back at myself when I don’t want to do something and feel terrible about it.

Honestly, think about it – you do what you want. You spend your time how you want to.

This is a time I did exactly what I wanted and I made my husband go along with it – I searched LA for the Golden Girls House. Yes, please.

My husband and I were having a discussion the other day about the things we spend money on and how that shows what we value/where our hearts are. This conversation started because we feel we are spending too much on our television choices and we do not want TV to be that big of a thing in our family. We do not want the amount we are currently paying to be reflective of how much we value TV- so we were assessing a change.

We tell the world who we are internally by our outward purchases and actions.

I was driving downtown with my boys the other day (we live in Nashville and we were going downtown to get into the CMA Fest madness. If you have never been … umm it’s crazy-town; especially for those of us who are local.)

As we were driving, I pointed out some of the government buildings to my oldest and I said, “You see those buildings? Mommy went to those buildings a bunch of times to fill out paperwork and turn it in so that they would let me come get you and bring you home.”

A: “Those big buildings? You filled out paperwork so they would let you bring me to Nashville?”
Me : “Yes baby. All the paperwork, because I wanted to bring you home.”

Our first trip to Grenada – this was right before we took him back to his orphanage at the end of our time with him

As I was saying this, I remembered all the times I drove downtown. All the trips; all the parking fees I paid; all the hills I walked up to a building and down to another one – all the hours  of filling out information about myself and my husband.

(This is where I will insert my two cents for those who always ask me, “Why do they make it so difficult?” Because it SHOULD be difficult to adopt a child. We SHOULD have to jump through hoops to make sure these children aren’t trafficked or headed to their doom. It isn’t easy, but nothing worth fighting for should be easy. Every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears is worth every ounce of his protected life.)

A: “Mommy, when I was in Grenada I would cry and cry because I never thought I would have a family. But because you filled out all the papers, they let you bring me home to my family.”

(I proceeded to cry my eyes out for quite a while over this statement. I don’t believe he actually cried about it, but I do believe he longed for a family and he now, as a 6-year-old, has the words to tell me what his 3-year-old self was feeling.)

You see, I showed my son the other day what mattered to me. I showed him that I did what I wanted and what I wanted was to give him a home. I showed him that I would fill out all the papers in the world to bring him home to me. He doesn’t know it also means I spent all the money I needed to make it happen as well; that I raised every penny I could to make him my son.

What do we show our loved ones with our actions?
Do we show them that when we do what we want, we want to love them well?
Do we show them that when we spend our money, we aren’t wasting it on things that don’t matter?

What do you show your children?
What do you show your family?
What do you show your friends?

Challenge : Do what you want and let what you want do a world of good.




Love Me In The Waiting

I have something really awesome brewing in my life all because of this message – Love Me In The Waiting.

Since I am still fleshing out the meaning of it all, I had to share some of my thoughts here. I believe they will encourage you on a deep level.

I am a firm believer that we can all do a better job loving one another. 

Some of us do this well 99% of the time. Some of us never do this well. Some of us are in between.

I have several friends going through intense waiting periods right now.

One friend is waiting to see if her fertility treatments are working. 
One friend is waiting to find out if they are going to lose their job.
One friend just began trying to have a baby. 
One friend is waiting for God to answer a lifelong prayer. 
One friend is waiting for her adoption agency to call and tell them to come get their baby. 
One friend is waiting for their marriage to heal. 
One friend is pregnant and waiting for her baby to enter this world; whom they know will pass away not long after being born.

One friend is waiting for their house to be renovated so they can move in.

I could go on and on. Each person waits in a different way. Each waiting period has its own anxieties and pain. 

waiting for my baby boy

What I have realized is that we can all love one another better in our waiting periods.

When a friend is waiting for God to speak, to direct them, or to give them something – we can be God’s arms of peace on this earth for them. 

I remember when I was waiting for my adoptions to finalize, I felt so alone during those times. Any act of kindness towards me took my heart a thousand miles in the right direction.

me after a social visit in Ukraine about our adoptive daughter. we would lose her adoption days after this.

Find those people in your life and figure out a way to be the arms of Jesus for them.

You have no idea how painful their waiting period is. Step in and help them breathe through it.

Be Jesus for the tribe He circles around you. The blessings will be twofold. 


In Case You Feel Lonely

When I was a child, I had this tiny pink bear that I slept with every single night. I carried him everywhere. I thought he was the greatest.

I always knew, if I ever felt lonely, all I had to do was get my bear (whom I named Justin.)

My Justin Bear. Look how worn he is. My mom probably sewed his leg and head back on at least 10 times.

Because I had a little bear I loved so much, I always imagined every child fixated on a stuffed animal or a blanket. It just made sense to me.

In my adult life I always saw this to be true. Most children had a beloved toy that if they needed comfort, they could grab it.

Then enter my son, Aiden. He has nothing he is attached to. There are things he loves and things he longs to have; but everything in his world is only there for a season.

I can not get him to love any stuffed animal or any blanket. Know why? Because in the beginning of his life, he had nothing.

There was not one single item he could call his own until he was 4 years old.
There were no toys he could put away for safe keeping. There were no coloring pages he could save as his own. Nothing.

Aiden with his Paw Patrol Chase stuffed animal. He looks attached. Ummm…. this Chase has never seen much play time. But he looks good in Aiden’s room. 🙂

Jared and I went through some serious growing time with him when he finally came home and he had some toys that were actually HIS. He would immediately freak out if you reached for his stuff because he thought he would never see it again. It was heart breaking, but Jared and I had to prove to him that we would protect him and his stuff at all costs. That lesson has helped us tremendously.

As sad as I have been at times that Aiden doesn’t have a security blanket or something he can cuddle with to feel better, I have also grown to love this about him.

Why? Because Aiden find’s more security in Jared as his dad, me as his mom, and Ryman as his brother than any item he owns.

The other night after dinner, Aiden was describing his ice-cream to me by the color of it. He said he had pink, white, and brown ice-cream. Then he said, “You know, brown, like I am brown.” Then he grinned from ear to ear.

I walked over and hugged him so tight – his arms wrapped around me and matched my intensity. I whispered in his ear, “And I love every single thing about you. I love that you are brown and I love who you are. You are amazing.”

My Aiden hugging me.

I could feel his body relax into mine. I am his security. I am his home.

Isn’t that what we have with our Heavenly Father?

While I am so happy to have remnants of our Lord here on earth to love and hold on to – I am so glad I can close my eyes and climb into His lap for my security.

Friend, when you feel lonely – know that there is a God who longs to be your Home. He knows your heart and your hurts. He knows you and loves you and longs to have you wrap yourself in Him.

What wonderful truth I felt the other night with my son’s arms wrapped around me.

In case you feel lonely – know you have a Father who is waiting to hold you.
Close your eyes. Be still. Hear Him speak.



The Trait Project : Jared James-Robert

I have been nervous to start this Trait Project. I know that seems silly because this one is about my husband and it should be the easiest to write.

It’s not.

It’s the hardest because he means so much to me that no string of words put together seem to be adequate enough for him. I am terrified to not do this incredible man the justice he deserves. So here it goes, my attempt to tell you about the most wonderful human I have ever met.

Jared James-Robert Ribble.

Jared, on a golf trip in Ireland

He came into my life on June 1, 2008. This is the day he responded to a message I sent, to what I believed was the band he played for, but the message went to him personally. It’s a funny and very unlikely story. I never imagined I would meet the man I would marry in an “unlikely” way, but even to this day, I think about how we met and am in awe I share my life with this man.

When Jared came into my world, I was a skeptic and he was a bit wounded. He was healing from the end of his first marriage and I was beginning a new life in a new city where I carried a mindset that it would take a long time to find the right guy to spend my life with.

I thought it was terrible timing, but as I look back, God brought us together to tie up the loose ends of the respective things we were going through.

Jared would never be completely healed until God brought him the woman He made specifically for him.

I would never stop being skeptical of every guy I met until God brought me a man whose traits stood above all others.

We would never be complete until we met each other.

one of our engagement pictures shot in Door Country, Wisconsin

I could write an entire book on all of Jared’s traits. To spare you the time, I will focus on one that I see in every moment of his being. One that I love so much.

The first conversation that Jared and I had, he asked me a million questions about myself. He was so interested in everything about me – what I loved, what I hated, where I have lived, what I had studied, what I want to study, where I want to live, how I spend my time- On and on. He asked millions of questions.

I honestly had never in my life felt like anyone had taken such interest in me before. I don’t know that I had ever answered that many questions about myself.

moments after he proposed to me

I have noticed over the course of my life with Jared that when he meets someone new,  he always has a ton of questions for them. Sometimes people are intimidated by this and feel interrogated. Most of the time, people are as taken back as I was because someone they just met is taking such vast interest in who they are and who they want to be.

I have the special honor of being his fan – with this comes the unique privilege of being in his audience. I get to watch him be himself on the daily and I just love my seat in his story.

Now, when we meet someone new, I know the canon of questions is coming and I sit back and get ready to watch him be great.

This new person doesn’t yet know that they have met someone who will make them feel like they are the only one at the table that matters in that moment. I love to see this unfold and watch their “taken back” emotions turn to curiosity and then gratefulness.

there was this one time, we were on HGTV – such a random story. ha!

Every human on this planet should have a chance to be questioned by Jared – to feel the way he will make you feel at the end of a conversation.

Everyone deserves to be known- to be sought after- to be valued.

Jared loves when I anticipate something he loves or wants – such as being in the kitchen cooking together and I grab what he needs and hand it to him before he even asks for it. He will smile and say, “It’s so good to be known.”

Babe, you make everyone you meet feel known- feel worthy of attention.

Girls in their twenties can often be strewn through relationships that make them feel the complete opposite of known and valued and worthy.

You came into my little world and made me feel like the queen.

Every day you find moments to show me that my opinion matters- that my feelings matter- that who I want to be and who I am is more than enough.

You have not only shown me, but told me, that God has made my place in this world so spectacular and that no one can fill the shoes God made for me.

my favorite wedding photo

What a man you are. What an encourager you are. What perfection you are to me.

I pray that our boys take this trait from you. I pray that they meet people and their curiosity spurs them to ask questions so that no one feels they are falling through the cracks in this world. I want everyone they encounter to feel that they are leaving conversations with our boys feeling more known and more important than they ever have.

Jared with our boys, Aiden & Ryman

You have given me a ton of gifts in this life already, but one of the greatest is that I am KNOWN. Who God made me to be – how the clay of my existence was formed in God’s hands- you have shown me that who I am is one of the most precious gifts to this universe.

No girl could ask for more.

I love you with everything that I am and everything that I will ever be.


The #1 Thing To Do This Summer

A title as catchy as that should have something profound beneath it.

I’m not sure I can be “profound,” but I can be real.

This summer has been much-anticipated and much dreaded in my house.

We wanted to enjoy this summer with our 6-year-old and also share sweet moments with our newborn babe.

We still will, but this summer will be difficult.

Our 6-year-old has major eye and ear surgery in June and I have my ACL & meniscus repair surgery in July.

Not exactly how we want to spend our first summer with our 3 month old.

However, as I have battled through the levels of grief with my ACL injury, I have come out (for the most part) on a pretty positive side. (Some days you can catch me down and out about my knee – I’m trying to stay positive-I really am.)

Last summer was my first summer as a mom and I wanted very badly to just “be” in all the moments I had with Aiden. I wanted to be present and there and whole for him.

What I didn’t know last summer was that it was easier when I didn’t also have a baby to care for on top of everything else.

Aren’t they cute?!?!

This past month has had me hobbling on crutches, battling a bunch of different knee braces, therapy twice a week, not being able to carry my kiddos because I can’t trust my leg, trying to still make lunch and pack snacks and do normal activities with my kiddos but all while one leg down, etc. On top of all the Mom and Wife duties, I am exhausted from just getting myself from room to room.

So after I had a pity party about this summer and all my limitations that will take away from my children’s fun –  I looked up from my poor self and realized –  the same truth of last summer is still here.

My sons still need me to just “be” with them.

kissing my boys after a long day

My 6-year-old needs me to be present and focused and interested in his days. My baby needs me to be attentive and loving and whole for him.

They need me to BE.

They need me to BE THEIR MOM.

Krystal and Ryman

Aiden riding his scooter
(the same scooter Krystal tore her ACL on- ugh!)

When I am struggling with what to wear to the pool because I still have Ryman love cells hanging on my hips and because I have a leg brace that is uncomfortable without leggings on…. My kiddos don’t care, they just need me to BE THERE. My boys do not look at me and see extra love cells or uncomfortable clothes or the flaws I feel right now –  they both look at me with these lovey dovey eyes that I could only dream about. My kiddos don’t see me as the struggling cripple I feel like right now –  they see me as God does –  perfectly made for them.

So suck it up Krystal. Find a moo-moo and drape yourself up and go enjoy the freakin’ pool with your kids.

From one Mama to another  : The #1 thing to do this summer is to BE. 

Let’s BE AMAZING for our kiddos this summer.
Let’s BE REAL for our friends this summer.

Let’s BE AVAILABLE for those that need us this summer.

BE YOU. It’s the only you that will do. 


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 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.

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



Letting Myself Rejoice In Good News

So….. We are having a baby!?!?!

While we were not surprised we were pregnant, there were a million emotions flooding me the moment we found out.

I am not the girl who ever wanted to be pregnant. My husband is not the guy who ever wanted a baby. Therefore, why would we ever try?

As the age old tales of couples who fall in love go though, you one day look at each other wondering if you will ever regret not having tried to have a baby together. That happened to us this past December.

JR & KR Baby Shoes

On top of it all, as we have been raising this spunky five year old, we see so many reasons he needs a sibling.

I want him to have a counterpart in this world and Jared and I both feel he needs to know this world is not all about him (so easy to slip into that when he is an only child).

Aiden & Baby Shoes

This summer, with a million things going on and circumstances changing in our family, we found out that we were adding another little Ribble to this small team we have created.

I was scared, nervous, excited, shocked, happy, and guarded all at the same time. I can’t begin to explain the weird feeling of being a full on mom in every way possible because I am raising a son, but at the same time having no knowledge or instincts about babies. I have no clue. However, that’s part of the journey and Jared and I get to go on it together.

I am choosing to see the unknown as a good place instead of a scary place. Most people would say that about raising a 5 year old Caribbean boy; instead I say that about having a biological baby. HA!

KR and Baby Pumpkin

As soon as we found out I was expecting, I immediately started preparing myself to lose the baby. Jared begged me to stop putting myself through such emotional distress, but my mind and heart were just torn. I couldn’t enjoy any of it. Some of these emotions had to do with the “first pregnancy” risks. Most of it had to do with something else all together.

You see, I have been on the journey of becoming/being a mom for four years now. In those four years, I have lost three children in the adoption process and only brought one home.

I know more about losing a child than I do about gaining one. 

My natural inclination was to prepare myself to lose this baby. My doctor has been amazing at putting my fears at ease and walking softly with us through this journey.

We found out just over a week ago that our baby was a boy and at that moment was when so many things came into perspective for me. I could finally let down a lot of guards and begin to enjoy him a little.

I knew immediately when I heard it was a boy that God had a great plan for this little one and that we were going to be so honored to be his cheerleaders on the sideline. I feel the same about Aiden every time I look at him.

Three Ribbles with Baby Shoes

So now, I am a legit BOYMOM. Through and through. I have a little baby inside that won’t stop moving and kicking and jumping (even for every ultrasound, he moves like crazy) and I have an almost six year old at home who has so much energy and spontaneity that it is difficult to keep up sometimes.

All that to say… apparently I am the mom of two very active boys.

KR, Aiden, & Baby

Begin praying for me now. : )

Thanks for rejoicing with us friends!

(oh and in case you are wondering : I am halfway through my pregnancy. Our little boy is due March 14th.)


(thank you to our amazing friend Kelsey Kirkegaard {} for capturing our gender reveal photos. I love watching you with Aiden and I CAN NOT WAIT to see you with your son Akers as soon as he is home from India!)

{KR’s Book Club} Red Notice by Bill Browder {Review}

Book Club

To the normal person who sees this book and picks it up to read it, it is a book about high finance in both the United States and Russia with a story line to keep you on your toes. Its good. Really good.

I am not normally one to read a true thriller like this, but I had one particular mission to accomplish.
This book is the story about the circumstances that led to Russia banning Americans from adopting Russian children. This book is about what really happened to our little Alina. This is why she couldn’t come home to us.

Red Notice

If you want to read about finance and taking big risks, this is an awesome story about that. {I actually learned a ton of things that I never knew about high finance} However, if you are an adoptive parent and you have adopted internationally, you NEED to read this. Even if you never had a thing to do with Russian adoptions, you NEED to read this.


When you lose an international adoption due to government policies, problems, and red tape you often have no idea why. It is so difficult to understand what back door meeting happened that caused you to lose an adoption of a specific child. Just reading one example can lessen the burden of the unknown. {And even if you haven’t lost an adoption internationally, this is a good book to give you insight into how foreign governments work together on issues pertaining to your foreign-born child}

Browder’s book did just this for me. Being a part of a Congressional family has always given me a little better perspective on what actually happened to us all those years ago in Russia, but nothing could give me clarity like Browder’s depiction of the moments.

While reading this book I found myself cheering Browder on in his quest to seek justice for those Russia treats poorly; not only poorly… for those Russia kills. I applaud Mr. Browder.
I am sure there are a lot of families who lost their children in the Russia ban that would hate for me to say this; but this is what I have learned through attempting to adopt from three different countries : Sometimes, our passion to bring a child home is one of the fuels to the instability in their country’s current political and economic environment. Sometimes we are harming our children and ourselves more when we walk into a situation like this. When you go into another country to bring a child home to our country, there are so many moving parts that are defining how the process will go for you. Most of these moving parts you know nothing about and will never see, but they are vital to the health of your adoption process.

I have always been a firm believer that we can tell our relationship (As the United States) with another country not only by our trade agreements with them, but by how they handle adoptions with us. There were signs for many years that Russia was not working with us well. Mr. Browder’s book was able to shine so much light on the situation our family went through a couple of years ago.

As a girl who now spends time in DC helping families navigate our Congressional system to be advocates for the orphans they seek to help, I am so proud of Mr. Browder’s work to bring justice to his corner of this vast world. Isn’t that what we all want to do when we face injustice? 

Mr. Browder, if you ever read this, I hope we get to meet one day. I want to shake your hand as a mom who had a broken heart from losing a little one in Russia and instead of being upset with you, I want to thank you for standing up for what is right. Thank you for advocating for Mr. Magnitsky and his family. We all need to be a voice for the voiceless, no matter HOW they lost their voice.


**You guys and gals need to read this book. Like pronto. It’s so good.**

Buy it here :