Submitted story: A Day with the Rippke's

Today we are SO excited to share with you this submitted story from the super talented Molly Wantland of Simply M Photography! Molly is an incredible artist with a big heart for orphan care and we are so grateful for the way she captured this beautiful family and for sharing her gifts with us and with you! You can keep up with Molly on her blog and Instagram. Artists: interested in submitting a story to The Archibald Project?! We'd love to hear from you! You can read more about submitting a story here or email your story summary and preview images to stories@thearchibaldproject.com. 

A reflection from adoptive mom, Ashley Rippke:

We started our first adoption process four years ago last month. Adoption had always been on our hearts, before we ever met or got married. However, if you had shown us then exactly what our family looks like today I don’t know that we would have believed you. In fact I’m fairly certain I can say we wouldn’t have. We started out, like many families, on an agency wait list. With our own ideas of what our adoption story would look like. I used to pray, in the wait, that God would break our hearts. Just break them apart for what breaks His. And to make a very long story short, He did. He placed specific people in our lives to open our eyes to parts of the orphan crisis we didn’t even know existed. And through that we saw our daughter’s face for the first time. We left the agency we were with and brought her home seven months later. When we decided to adopt again, eight months after she came home, our process looked much different. We knew after traveling to the orphanages in Ethiopia, and after bringing our daughter home, that we wouldn’t be joining a wait list. We knew God was calling us to another waiting child, and we felt an peaceful urgency about it. Just a couple of weeks later we saw our son’s face, and five months ago he came home. God continues to open our eyes and break our hearts. He continues to stretch us and push us and call us to things we never anticipated. He provides, and is faithful, and is a heck of a lot wiser than we are. This is completely His story. If we had written it it would have been epically less wonderful ha! I don’t want to paint the picture that adoption is unicorns and rainbows. At the core of it all adoption is born out of loss, and grief, and so much pain you don’t know if you’re going to make it somedays. But God can use it all. He’s can redeem and build back up what is torn down. He can form relationships and attachments in the midst of it. He can use it to educate, and equip, and to form advocates with. He can take two complete little strangers and make them the most loving (and seriously adorable) siblings you’ve ever seen. He can take a whole lot of your “I’ll never…” statements and turn them upside down. He loves these kiddos more than we ever could. Which is a crazy amount of love to even try to wrap my brain around. These kids…whew, they are seriously amazing. So much joy and laughter in the midst of it all. It’s a humbling thing to get to be their parents.

You can follow along with the Rippke's at http://www.liftedfromthewater.com!

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