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Hi I'm Valerie

I'm a wife, a mother to 13 children from around the world and I'm a Mormon.

About Me

I am a wife, a mother and a blessed daughter of God. I have been happily married for 12 years and am the mother of 13 incredible children: biological triplets and 10 children with special needs, adopted from Uzbekistan, Ukraine and Bulgaria. We affectionately refer to ourselves as "The International House of Riebens" and our days are spent in constant amazement of the crazy, chaotic, adventurous life that God has blessed us with. We live on a small farm and, in addition to our 13 children, raise chickens, turkeys, rabbits, sheep and donkeys! Many of our children were born with or have acquired physical, emotional and/or developmental special needs. They remind us daily that there is no DISability, only DIFability and that each of us has been perfectly designed to accomplish the mission and purpose that God has for us. We are not extraordinary people. Just ordinary people blessed with the opportunity to do extraordinary things.

Why I am a Mormon

I am a classic Type-A personality. I enjoy structure, order and appreciate a well-thought-out plan. Unfortunately, no matter how well-thought-out our plans may be, life rarely goes according to those plans. Though my life has been filled with innumerable blessings, I have also experienced the depths of sorrow, heartache, suffering, weakness and pain. None of which were part of MY plan. Fortunately, a loving and merciful God, through the restored gospel of Jesus Christ, has provided us with an unfailing plan; a plan that is not deterred by weakness, sin, sickness, pain, disability or even death.That plan is founded upon our Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave his life and took it up again so that we could live! His sacrifice enables us to know happiness, joy, love and triumph, despite the weakness, sin and suffering that is part of this mortal experience. He has walked with me every step of this journey and, in my weakness, he carries me. There is a song that is sung by the children that says, "I know who I am. I know God's plan. I'll follow him in faith." It is because of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ that I know where I come from, why I am here, where I am going, who I am and who I have the potential to become. Things may not always go according to MY plan, but I have learned that, when I put my trust in God and follow where he leads, I find myself in beautiful places!

How I live my faith

When I was baptized, I made a promise to God that I would follow Jesus Christ, keep his commandments, love and serve others and stand as a witness of God at all times, in all things and in all places. I keep that promise by saying, "YES!" whenever the Lord calls upon me to be his hands and feet. Sometimes that means traveling around the world to offer love, life and a family to a child in need. Most of the time it means being there for a friend in need, drying the tears, kissing the boo-boos and calming the fears of my children, supporting and encouraging my husband as he works hard to support and provide for our family, visiting with and serving elderly neighbors, or cooking a meal and offering words of encouragement to an exhausted new mother. "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it." (Matthew 16:25) My Savior, Jesus Christ, gave his life and took it up again for ME and so I live for HIM!