An Orphan No More- Home Where He Belongs

An Orphan No More-  Home Where He Belongs
Christian David Snyder!!!!!!!!

The Snyders minus 1

The Snyders minus 1

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I met my son. Wow! Jim and I were talking this weekend about that day in the orphanage. We were standing in the middle of this old, dingy, dark room that smelled like stewed fruit. Nervously we waited...Low voices spoke in a language we couldn't understand. I remember taking in the old couch, the weathered walls, looking around when ... with no preparation... down the hall walks one of the caregivers holding the hand of a small child. I can still picture his turquoise tights, Mickey Mouse shirt, mop of dark brown hair, and frightened expression. Oh my gosh, it was him!!!! The little boy from the picture. What a surreal moment.

Instinctively, I quickly dropped to my knees to be at eye level and offered him a warm (but nervous) smile. I held out one hand to him. I heard the caregiver introduce me. I knew enough Russian to recognize, "This is your mother." Jim and I looked at her, quite shocked. What if?... But she had told him I was his mother... Then she introduced Jim as "his papa." Jim and I exchanged a nervous glance.

So many feelings and emotions........It didn't seem quite real.

But it was. Thank you, Jesus, that it was.

A year son, my son! Oh how I love my son! I call him my baby boy and he just beams. Whenever I leave, upon return he will say, "Mama, I missed you!"

This scared, malnourished, parasite-filled frightened little boy that would neither laugh or cry, now giggles with joy as his daddy tickles him. He cries when he falls, knowing that he has someone to comfort him. He calls to each sibling for a hug before he goes to bed.

It has been a fabulous year! A year that has drawn Jim and I together as a couple. A year that has drawn us to our knees before The Lord. A year in which we have had the privilege of seeing someone blossom right before our eyes.

It hasn't been easy. Christian David is stubborn, curious beyound belief, defiant, and messy. He is two!!! He is also teachable, kind, affectionate, bright and helpful. Just an all around wonderful Snyder kiddo.

We are oh so thankful to have been chosen as his family. We look forward expectantly to see how God manifest Himself in Christian David's life.

We appreciate your prayers!

Friday, June 25, 2010

It Happens so Fast

I have had a very precious week with my two youngest this week, as the older 4 attended day camp at a local church. Hence, I had a rare opportunity to do little kid things- sprinker park, the Children's Museum, extra time with mom pushing the kids on the swing, etc. This has been wonderful time to connect with my Bella and Christian David.

Taking Christian David to the Children's Museum for the first time and seeing him light up on the eyes filled with tears as I thought of what could have been and what still remains for so many other orphans. I thought of those same walls... day after day... that same routine. No where to go.... no one to come see you.... no momma... no family.... no knowledge of a Savior...

You should have seen my smile as Bella took her brother's hand to introduce him to his play choices at should have seen my smile as his face lit up when the carousel music started... you should have seen my smile when he asked if we could ride the horse again and momma said, "oh yes!"... you should have seen my smile as I later opened the lunch box to give them thier lunches in the car in an effort to keep them awake before we got home for naps (ahhhh... memories of days with Caleb and Alecia) should have seen my smile as Jim and I took the kids to the Y and we took turns with each child as they jumped into our arms.

Good stuff... great blessed are we?

And today, today ... today we dropped off the older 4 and then went back to the adoption agency. Not to turn in more paperwork and to write a check. We went back to say "Thank you!" Bella and Christian each held a bouquet of flowers as walked in the door to express our appreciation to the people who helped us find our son. So I introduced my sweeties to Heather and Inna and Steve. We gave flowers, a framed pic of Christian David, showed a pic of all 6 of the kids and all eight of us, took a picture of Christian David with these precious people and then we told stories and gave hugs!

Now, the little kids are sleeping and I am sorting adoption paperwork. I cry......

Oh the obstacles, the hurdles, the documents, the errands, the money, the hoops we jumped through... the growing we did. We grew as afamily and as individuals. We were blessed with family and friends that stood in the gap for us in amazing ways..

I came across a note someone shared with me. It was a small child's writing in marker that said, "I pray that the Snyder's little boy is safe." I also came across a preicosu song that Alecia wrote for her brother evern prior to receiving our referral. It is called "Our Little Sunshine". Then I found a picture of my crazy family, all dressed in tights , waiting at the airport for us (Because Christian always had tights on)

All this made me feel so many emotions...gratitude, joy,!

Great stuff!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Better than I Ever Expected- Just like God

It has been so long since I have written. We have been busy adjusting to life with 6 kids and just recovering from all the traveling and plans to travel...We are a busy little family ...sometimes I get a wee bit tired. :)

I think another reason that I haven't posted is that there is soo much to say. Wow! I have so many thoughts running through my head ... I don't know where to start ... I know that I will never do God justice!

But I will just start and do my best. Christian David is fabulous! Oh, I love that boy!!! It has been amazing to see the transformation in his eyes, his demeanor, his smile...Those sad little puppy dog eyes are full of sparkle, light, joy... and a mischievious twinkle. He is all boy- rough and tumble and exploring and testing and learning and growing and enjoying and laughing and climbing and running..... Did I make my point? He is alive and enjoying life and embracing it for all it is worth! When I go to get him each morning, he jumps up, runs to the edge of the crib and starts jumping up and down with his arms outstretched. What a great greeting for mom!

Can I tell you how crazy fun it is with he and Bella together? So cute and so busy! They have worked through some of their issues with sharing mom. They still vie for my lap but Christian David loves his other siblings too. He and Caleb, in particular, have a very special connection. The latest point of contention with the youngest is that Bella loves to kiss Christian David on the cheek. The boy wants nothing to do with that and highly values his personal space. :) But it was precious today when she got hurt and he went and gave her a hug and patted her back.

Christian David seems to have truly bonded well, tries to do most everything (quite adventurous) and is quite the parrot verbally. His verbal skills are amazing-he has surpassed the other Snyder kids at this age. Quite ironic!

I love to watch him experience daily life. I love to ask him if he wants to go outside (that little head just starts nodding). I love to give him good wholesome food (it is fun to watch him eat ice cream also). I love to watch him giggle on the swing and smile as all the siblings clamor to give him a hug when he wakes up. I can't help but want to burst with joy for him- at how his life has changed. To watch participate in that transformation...what a privilege! The joy fills my heart and starts pouring out my eyes.

After the first difficult trip to Russia, I remember Jim and I feeling somewhat paralyzed. We both looked at each other, dumbfounded. We kept murmuring , "No, sorry. We can't do it. There is no way. We cannot do this 3 more times. We can't leave our 5 kids, find a place for our kids and dog, travel to this freezing, somewhat terrifying and uncomfortable place, pay these exorbinant fees... sorry- can't do this 3 more times!!!!!!!!!!"

But with God's help, we just kept going... only with His help did we continue to walk in faith..not fearless... but we walked... despite our fear.


Grateful.........Blessed....So glad we didn't miss glad we didn't miss him

Lest I give a false impression. We are still battling uphill as a work in progress. Our little guy has some medical issues that we are working through (he'll be fine). And Christian David is a delightful handful. He is a busy 2 year old boy and all that comes with it.

Moreover, I firmly believe that when you take a stand to step out in faith and give The Lord the glory... a spiritual battle begins. When I get discouraged and frustrated with the demands on my time and energy, I have to remind myself of this battle. The Lord tells us not to look at our circumstances or we will definitely feel overwhelmed. Instead we are to look at Him and at His capabilities- He is more than able.

Thank your for sharing in our journey with Christian David. It's not over and I look forward to sharing more of it with you. Thank you for your support, your prayers, your encouragement and your love. Please celebrate with us the joyful homecoming of our son.

My prayer is that you are encouraged. If The Lord is challenging you to step out in faith in some way- He is trustworthy. He is Wise. He is loving. He can fill in the gaps. The result will be greater that you ever imagined!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

How Sweet to Take My Baby to Church

Tonight, we took Christian David to church for the first time. Wow! As I started worshipping, the tears filled my eyes as I looked at my son in my arms. This so much of Christian David's journey into our family came from the Holy Spirit moving in this sanctuary. God prompted us in many settings. But there was a particular sermon series two years ago about the weak and the marginalized in the world and our responsibility as Christians- it was this series that God really used to lead us to adopt. I can still remember where we were sitting in church when the messages hit us week after week and my convictions grew stronger and stronger.

So being in church...holding this child that God lead us to... looking in his eyes... I just closed my eyes and wept silently. Sooo grateful for the call.

Then as I listened to the words of the worship songs... My Savior... My Jesus... Amazing Grace... I looked at Christian David's face. He was somber again. Watching and listening ever so intently as people around him lifted their voices in admiration to The Lord. And then The Lord reminded me, "This is so much why you adopted. So that this child could hear about me." And I looked in his beautiful little eyes and thought, "If we hadn't adopted him, would he have ever heard about the love of The Lord? Not in the orphanage... probably not in the streets of Russia..." I just hugged him tightly. This is why we brought you home. To hear the sweet message of Jesus. I kept caressing his face and rubbing his back and singing to him.

"Listen my son. This is everything...listen to hear about Jesus. This is what you need more than anything. "

And as the words of the songs washed over his soul and entered his mind...I'm speechless... I am sure he doesn't understand everything that they are saying right now. But one day he will. One day he will understand it all. And he will have an opportunity to know all about the Lord's love for him... His gift to him.

If we hadn't adopted him....

I am so glad that God is persistent.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Home as a Family

Sorry that I haven't posted since we arrived home. It has been a bit of a whirlwind. The first night home, I was up a good part of the night with my sweet Bella who had the stomach flu. Since then, 2 more kids have gotten ill. So amidst all of the transition home, illness has added a new component as well. But such is life. It hasn't been ths smoothest of homecomings but one thing The Lord has continued to teach me is that life rarely goes as you plan in your mind. :) So don't let circumstances dictate your emotions- let God.

As for the airport greeting- hilarious! Several of our family members actually donned tights and shorts in honor of our little guy who always wore them when we visited. So funny to see them in their shorts and tights. Thank you, family, for making us laugh!!!!!!!

Christian has done so well since we got home. Can I tell you how much I love that boy? My mommy heart is so attached to this little man!!!! He is doing great- he is enjoying getting to know our home (loves the piano), his siblings, the whole nine yards....

And the rest of the gang is doing beautifull with him. He and Bella will have their natural adjustment period- it's hard for a toddler to bring home a walking, talking, want momma 2 year old. Sometimes, Bella has woken Christian up and asked him to play with her. Other times, she struggles because they both want me and want to be held by me. So, at times, I have 2 little ones reaching their arms up and crying for me. I can carry them both for awhile but not indefinitely. So... normal transition stuff.

I will post pictures soon- thanks for your encouragement and prayers.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coming Home at Last

Oh, my eyes filled with tears several times today- and not because we had a 10 ½ hour flight with an active 2 year old boy. As for the flight… it was LONG!!!!! Christian did great, really terrific. He slept about the first 2 hours .. and then was awake the next 8 plus. Not much sitting for mommy or daddy but I really have no complaints. We were in the back of the plane with 2 other adopting families (very fun) and we were close to the bathroom and the galley area where the stewards and stewardesses prepare meals. So we had plenty of room to walk Christian up and down the aisle occasionally or stand in the preparation area.

As for tears, I think the first time (today J) was when I was pacing the aisles on the plane singing “Jesus Loves me” and “You are my Sunshine.” In the latter song, part of it says, “You’ll never know dear, how much I love you. Please don’t take my sunshine away.” So all of a sudden the emotions hit as I looked into his deep, trusting eyes, I just love him sooo much…he doesn’t know how much. Then the second phrase, “Please don’t take my sunshine away…” When I birthed my other children, I prayed for their health but I was never afraid that someone would try to take them away from me. This adoption journey has been long and faith stretching. I know that God is big enough to handle all the details. However, in my flesh, there were so many times that we wondered if something would happen or a judge would not allow us to adopt him or if some Russian police officer would take him from my arms (I never claimed to be fully rational- a bit skittish in Russia)… whatever….until all the paperwork was signed, the embassy visited, the plane landed… fears would try to creep up that made me uncomfortable. So my eyes filled with tears as I sang those 2 lines, gazing at my newly adopted child.

Then landing on American soil… realizing that Christian is now an American citizen (he has dual citizenship). Little misty here.

Then we had a great guy in passport control. With a smile, he grandly welcomed Christian to America and really tried to connect with him as he looked at our adoption papers. So as he stamped Christian’s visa and passport, Momma let out a whoop and hugged Christian close again. To be in America with him- I love this place!!!!!!!

So now we have a 5 hour layover in Washington DC. It is about 3 am in our bodies and our little guy is asleep on the floor by the gate- sleeping on a few coats and daddy’s shirt.

Can I tell you we have such wonderful family and friends???????? I called my mom and was able to speak with Bella. Oh, I miss her! Brent is taking several of the kids to church for the Multicultural night (adoption ministry event). Our children are safe and loved and …another huge thank you- everyone who has prayed for them and for us and have helped in so many ways. What a beautiful, humbling example of the Body of Christ!

We look forward to seeing you all in the coming weeks. May Christian’s life forever be a testimony to His goodness.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New arrival Time

FYI- Our flight arrival time has changed. We will be coming home on Friday night at midnight.

Can't wait!

Jim, Karen and Christian David