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 29, 2009

Meeting our little guy

We met him! We met him! Enough said.

So precious. So smart and easy to get along with. So cute.

We waited in the orphanage sitting room for a few minutes. Then without warning, a caregiver comes walking down the hall, holding his hand. AHH! Never in my life ...

They took us into a little room; introduced us; and then let us play with him for a few hours.
My emotions still overwhelm me. I didn't cry. Just such an overwhelming experience for all people included.

He is so sweet. Such a good boy.

Jim and I knew right away, "Yes, this is our son."

What an adventure!

12/28/2009 2:54 PM

There is a now a whole new understanding of how little control we really have in life. I don’t know how people live without a personal relationship with Christ. Seriously! Just getting here has been harder than we ever expected. I thought it would be difficult in Russia. But we couldn’t get out of our own country. We couldn’t even get out of the Midwest! I think Jim is going to share the details of those adventures; hence, I won’t duplicate.

It was such a difficult time when our travel itinerary fell apart and they said there was no way to get to Russia until Tuesday. That meant that, due to the Russian holiday and the visitation requirements for the trip, we would not meet this little boy until the end of January. We were going to have to go home.

We prayed and persisted in finding anyway to make this happen. We offered to drive to Cincinnati or Chicago to make a connecting flight. It was so hard emotionally. It had been hard enough to get to where we were- paperwork, childcare arrangements, puppy arrangements, saying a tearful good bye to the children…I can still picture Alecia, standing out in the cold. Just standing there, watching us go. Once the car started to go, she started to run after the car, waving. The thought of having to turn around and go home and do that all over again was more than my mommy heart could stand.

But alas, with the Lord’s help, we prayed and persisted. As the next 24 hours unfolded, we continued to see how helpless we were and how dependent we were for His help. We came to put away the tears and laugh. What more could we do? Brick wall after brick wall came up. Each time, God would help us jump one more hurdle. But we still were unsure how far we would get in the process. Our adoption coordinator was trying to work things out so that we could visit this little boy for 2 days instead of the required 3. But we were not sure if this trip would “even count”. We might get there and they say “no” we didn’t meet the requirements and we would have to come back four more times. So we prayed and kept going, not knowing.

I am a planner and want my ducks in a row. I want the requirements laid out to follow. No such luck!

But if things had gone as planned, we would have missed out on so many lifelong lessons. God is so much bigger than anything the enemy can throw at you. And He can comfort and support you in ways that come as a complete surprise. The Lord brought a wonderful woman to help us in Chicago. She worked for United Airlines but there was someone else she was working for that night. When we arrived in Chicago and she told us that she had never heard of the airlines and that United had no relationship with such an airlines, Jim and I just looked at each other. "There is no such airline"- not words you hope to hear. But she worked and worked to find us a new plan. At this point it was close to midnight. She found a flight that would leave Chicago around 2:30 pm the next day and get us to Russia on Monday at 1:30 pm. Our adoption coordinator was called and she said we would see in the morning if that was good enough. So, we went out in the cold to wait for a shuttle bus to take us to a hotel in Chicago. Nope- no Russia tonight!

The next day, out coordinator called to say that perhaps it would work out. Our contact in Russia would do everything to make it work. No guarantee but get on the plane!

Upon returning to the airport, we looked for "Perpetual"- the young United woman that we had met the night before. She had told us to find her and she would help us in the morning. God eventually connected us. She greeted us with a smile. She said that when she had returned from work the night bofore, she had called her family and asked them to pray for us. Do you believe that? She said that she thought it was so wonderful what we were doing and wanted to help in any way. She disappeared and came back with our boarding passes. She had bumped us up to the business class. Wow! We had an eight hour flight in the business class.

I have never flown business class before. Wow! I just felt as if God was surprising us with the abundant feast and luxury! We had so much room. We were given great food, warm almonds, a damp, warm towel to wash our faces, and all the comfort you can find on an airplane. I kept giggling at Jim. "This is absolutely crazy!" I'd laugh as the stewardess would surprise us with one more extravagence. Jim and I felt so spoiled! it had been a terribly difficult journey so far and I felt the hand of God just taking care of us in an unexpected, reassuring way. We were really trying to follow God with this adoption. The whole process has been hard. But He has made Himself known to reassure us in those most critical times.

From Frankfort, we flew to Russia . We were told to start running as soon as we exited the plane. We had no time to waste . Our driver and translator whisked us away and on the road to get necessary documents signed in order to request permission to meet this little boy.

It was to be a 6 hour drive. I prayed for good weather and easy traffic. We got both!

We talked and slept on and off. People were waiting. We had to be there by 6 pm or the office would close. At 5:45 pm (isn't that like God) we arrived at the building. We rushed in, saw a few people and saw a new picture of the little boy. At first, they had things confused and were going to give us a girl but... we worked it out.

Paperwork signed, we went to the hotel to eat and recover.

And so it begins...

Jim's post 12/26/2009 7:30 AM

Christmas was great. In fact the whole holiday season was a lot of fun. We got to do so many of our special Snyder traditions and we have all been healthy. But now our focus shifts, not to something completely unrelated to the season or the excitement, but to the next gift. This gift is one that has been, and will continue to be, given and received by so many. Our “little” family, big family, friends and an amazing number of casual observers are all captivated by this gift. It’s a big gift. It’s like the big gift under the tree that stirs anticipation and wonder in everyone. Everyone sort of knows what it is, but the details are unclear. So we wait until it is completely unwrapped.

Today is the day that we begin in earnest to unwrap this gift. To this point I honestly haven’t been able to distinguish the wrapping from unwrapping, but today we are ready to start pulling the wrapping away. The really cool part is that so many have a part in this. Many are not only part of the unwrapping but they are part of the gift itself. This gift we have given the name “adoption”. Its literal meaning is clear, but doesn’t come close to describing the gift.

This gift is given by God: A new home, father, mother, brother and sisters, grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, and cousins; a new son, brother, grandson, nephew, cousin, and friend. To some the gift feels like hope and some see it as an opportunity. I think there’s something powerful in this that compels people to be more of what they were made to be. This presents an opportunity for people to care and serve and pray and encourage, a rare moment in life where selflessness comes a little easier.

And so it begins…

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


This weekend, the family went for our annual Christmas shopping trip at Walmart. This is when we split up into 2 groups and buy for one another, covering our purchases with coats. I am just waiting for the day in which we are accused of shop-lifting. :)

After we finished, we went and picked out baby blankets, stuffed animals and a baby scrapbook for our little guy. Wow! So precious. An emotional time for me but I held it together and refrained from crying. I get emotional quite often right now.

We continue to wrap up paperwork, run errands, etc, amidst Christmas preparations. So much to process- I really can't .

I am so grateful for the encouragement, prayers and help from friends and family. At times, I am overwhelmed with how the body of Christ is coming around us right now in preparation for our trip. I am so appreciative!

Several of the kids are talking about how difficult it will be when we leave. Hard for all of us. But it is in His hands now. All will be ok. I am so excited to go. I am thrilled to be meeting our son. I just love my children at home so much. The enemy knows how I struggle with worrying about them. I am the protective Momma Bear.

This is so much bigger than me. Bigger than our family. This is God's work.. God's plan. We just have to trust Him enough to keep walking forward.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Our Son

Wow! It finally happened! We got our referral- the referral. After a rollercoaster ride- such an emotional week (but one that kept me at His feet)- we received a referral on Thursday around 6 pm. Our son....our son....

He is precious and we can't wait to meet him. I can't share much detail at this time because he isn't legally ours. But I will say that I see God's hand all over this. That's a confirmation.

I feel very peaceful and right about the decision. Nervous, of course, but it just feels right.

We leave to go meet him the day after Christmas (December 26th). We are to leave the 26th, arrive in Russia the 27th, see him the 28th- 30th and then fly home December 31st.

I have oh so very much to do with adoption preparation, final paperwork for the adoption, Christmas and enjoying the kids.

But I know it will all work out if I pray and just keep going.

So thrilled to share more as we know it.

What a gift! We are thrilled to see a glimpse at what God has been preparing us for in recent years. The addition of our son.

God has already used this journey to grow us and stretch us in ways that we needed to be stretched. This child has already been a blessing to our family.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Another Little Tune

I went upstairs to say good night to the girls this evening. They asked if they could sing me a little song. I responded positively. Then Alecia, Sophia and Natalia, with huge grins, sang" All I want for Christmas is my little Brother, my little brother, my little brother. All I want for Christmas is my little brother. And I will wish you Merry Christmas!"

I smiled and hugged each girl.

Sweet girls! I hope their wish comes true.

Still possiblities of meeting him this year... we should know if that is a possibilty in the next two days.

I'm praying and then letting go... trying to. :)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Patience ... patience is a challenge for most of us. That's human nature. Hence, today I struggle a bit. We were supposed to receive a referrral last Saturday. Monday at the latest. We were to potentially go meet our son on the 19th of December. Saturday passed. Monday passed. Nothing. It is late on Tuesday. All hopes of leaving on Saturday are dashed. It isn't just seeing a face or even going to meet him. I was looking forward to so many things . The big one that I was anticipating is seeing God's direction . I wanted to know if this is our son...or someone else's. If this is not our child, then we will pray for this child to be with his family and then know to look forward. Right now we don't know anything. There is no direction. Bummer.

We continue to wait and we haven't been told when we will find out. There are some complexities that have made the timing unsure.

Today I cried again. Then I prayed and I talked to Jim. Those 3 things are what helps me- that has been my pattern the last few days.

I want to be in His will. I want this child to be in the best home for him. Just continuing to seek how we fit.

Still hoping to know something by Christmas. If not, we'll continue to grow in patience. :)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mickey Mouse PJs

We just came back from a trip to Florida. We had a wonderful time visiting with Jim's folks and going to Disney World. Lots of fun memory- making! Before leaving, we offered to buy the kids a few souveniers. They had filled some "reward charts" for good school days and this was the time to "get their prize". None of the girls had trouble finding a desired souvenier. Caleb, however, came to us and said that he couldn't find anything he really wanted and "didn't want to waste our money". We asked if he was sure. Then he disappeared for awhile. When he came back, he had a sheepish grin on his face. he was holding toddler- size Mickey Mouse pirate pajamas. He asked if instead of getting something for himself, he could get them for his brother. Wow! Precious, precious...I just hugged him and smiled.

The pajamas are now sitting on my dresser. Everytime I pass them, I smile........

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Where do we Fit?

From the beginning, I have just asked The Lord to show us where we fit in this whole adoption picture. There are so many needy children- about 147 million unfortunately. There are needs here through the foster system, adoption from birth and then the vast world of international adoption.

As I prayed about it and researched it almost 2 years ago, doors shut everywhere I went, with the exception of Russia. Hence, that is where I thought God was leading our family.

That may still be where we are to go. Just not sure. Jim has really felt led to explore more possibilites within the foster care system. So, we go back to our knees, back to asking questions, back to researching. I admit that I am a bit disappointed that we are up in the air again. On the other had, I am relieved that Jim and I are both unified in pursing adoption. No one is wanting to run the other way. :)

I see more excitement and enthusiasm in Jim than in the past. That's great to see.

I really feel as if something will happen soon. Just not sure if it will be a foster care child or a Russian one.

Lord, please barricade any door that we shouldn't walk through. Lead us to the child we should bring home!

Mommy's waiting....

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

God is Up to Something

God is so good.

We had a great service at church on Saturday night. The whole service revolved around connecting with God and hearing from Him. There were multiple opportunites during the service to just be quiet before Him and listen.

I felt as if God was continuing to call me to be patient. There is a little guy out there and it will be soon. Just a continued call to trust. That's good......

Then Jim and I had the most interesting conversation on Sunday. I was blown away! Jim shared that he was wondering if our son could perhaps be a little African American boy or a Hispanic boy. He even encouraged me to find out more information about some brothers that are currently in the foster care system.

All this to say, I just feel so thankful that Jim and I are united under Him. Jim isn't wearing out and asking me to reconsider adopting. Instead, he is tuning into God and telling Him that we will walk wherever we need to . The box is open. No limitations. Palms up.

Those of you who know my family realize how huge this is. God has done something in Jim that is truly a miracle. I am so thankful. I am so amazed! Yay! I am not crazy.... :)

Our little guy may be in Russia. Maybe not. We will just continue to pray for God to barricade the wrong doors and throw open the right one.

This weekend, I just felt a confirmation that Jim and I are unified and in His Will. You can't ask for more than that. Hallelujah!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Lord Often Uses Children

I was struggling this week. I was asking for encouragement from The Lord. Fears were gripping my heart as it relates to the realities of our adoption. Would it ever really happen? What if the anticipated referral doesn't pan out? What will we do then? We feel confident that we are to adopt... but are we on the right path? Should we be looking somewhere besides Russia? This is taking so much longer than our other friends that adopted from Russia.

I was driving home from the YMCA with tears streaming down my face. I just cried out to Him and admitted my weakness. I admitted my sadness in comparing my journey with others. I confessed that I needed some encouragement from The Lord. I asked that He show me that we are in His Will.

Upon arriving home, my daughter Alecia greeted me with a joyful but somewhat sheepish grin. "I wrote a song, " she said with enthusiasm. "Do you want to hear it?"

Still red- eyed, I smiled and nodded my head.

Then her sweet, innocent voice started:

Help Again

"Is there hope?
Is there faith?
Am I on this journey all alone?
I need help. I need love.
Is there anyone in this dirty place?
So as you can see, I need a caring family.
I need a good family to help me out, help me out.
So is there anyone out there to help me through it?
Is there anyone out there in the darkness?
Cause I'm in this dirty place. Cause my mama died and my papa's very sick.
I would love if you could send an angel. I just need help again, help again.
And then when I looked up into the clouds, I saw an angel.
And he said, "Follow me, child, Don't be afraid. "
So I followed him to this wonderful place.
The kindest lady opened the door.
She threw up her arms and said, "What a wonderful surprise! "
But when I turned around, he was gone. He was gone.
And then 12 months later, I walked into a home with loving siblings and mama and papa of my very own.
Help again..."

By Alecia Snyder (age 10)

Wow! My eyes filled again as she finished her song. But this time for a different reason.

I had asked for encouragement from The Lord. God knew..... Before I shed my first tear in the car, he had planted that song in Alecia's heart. Before my first plea to Him in the car, He had her putting pencil to paper. It says in His Word that before a word is on your lips, He knows it. How amazing. How reassuring.

God's ability to encouragement is beyond our expectations. I still don't know what December will bring- perhaps nothing. I still don't know if our son is in Russia.

But I do think we are on His path. We are seeking and he will lead us to our child.

That's enough for now.

My prayer continues to be that our child (like the child in Alecia's song )is somehow sensing the love of Jesus along the way. He needs to know that all good things come from Him.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Waiting for His Brother

I had a very precious conversation with Jim yesterday about Caleb. A few years ago, Jim tore our boot box out of the mud room to utilize the space differently. As is typical of Caleb, he built something new with it- he fashioned it into an additional small table top for his work area in the garage. It is little- comes up a little higher than my knee.

Recently, Jim was trying to clean up the garage and asked Caleb if he could throw it away- Caleb had plenty of workspace. Caleb said, "Please don't throw that away. I am going to put it right next to my workbench for my little brother. Then he can work right beside me."

My eyes filled with tears. Caleb is so excited! I can almost picture the two of them out there now.

Suddenly, the wait doesn't bother me so much as long as my little guy eventually comes.....

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Learning as We Wait

You know, my children are of school age, but I feel as if I am the one who is learning the most during this chapter of my life.

I am learning that I really have no control over anything in my life- big surprise! I knew that fact ,but this adoption process has brought it to life in new ways. I also continue to rely on the fact that I either believe that God is who He says He is or I don't. Is He Sovereign? Is He All- knowing? Is He All -powerful? Does He really love me? Can I trust Him?

The answer to all of those questions is a resounding "Yes!"

But when I worry, or complain that this is taking so long, or not following "my ideal schedule", then I am questioning His Authority and Sovereignty. When I stop myself and return to my trust in Him, then I am fine!!!!

We are good. We are eagerly waiting. We are hopeful that we will get our referral soon. But, I am also not so emotional with each passing day. I used to be so disappointed when the phone would ring and it wasn't our adoption agency. I kep thinking it would be any day.

I am so thankful to be off that emotional rollercoaster.

I still am eager and prayerful but am learning to accept what is. It may not be for a very long time. But when our son is available, the referral will come. And it will be the best timing for everyone.

I may get a "Ph.D." before this whole thing is over. :)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Palms Up

Palms up... palms up. That is a phrase that Jim has repeated time and tme again along this adoption journey. We just want to be where The Lord wants us to be. We just want to be about His business and not our own agenda. Sometimes it is difficult to determine where one starts and the other ends.

We are so thrilled to be on this journey - eager to see where it lands us. But as my sister-in-law has wisely reminded me- God doesn't waste the journey. It isn't all about the destination. That is just part of it. I am so eager to get there- to find my son and to hold him and love him and bring him home. That is all good and part of it- a crucial piece of it. But not the whole thing. And God is teaching us that time and time again.

He has taught us through the obvious things like the infamous hurricane that lead to the tree falling on our house last September. And the small, daily things like learning to not take ourselves quite so seriosuly around here. At least not in the trivial things. Focus on Him and passing on our spiritual heritage to the kids. Love them, enjoy them but don't mistake indulgence for love. Be firm , patient and consistent. Sounds easier than it is.

We are preparing. Preparing our hearts, our home, our family for this newest member that is oh so far away and so painfully out of reach. I scan the crowds of faces everywhere I go just as if I could catch a glimpse of him. I find myself searching deeply into the eyes of every little boy I meet as if somehow... somehow... does he look like that? will he smile that way? will he like to play trucks? trains? sing outloud?

I am searching deep in the eyes of the boys I see ... I am looking to connect with a child that I know is out there. My son.. my son that I long to know. My son that I long to hold. My son that I want to pull close and whisper, "I love you. We have all been waiting for you. You are home."

I want to reassure him that he is not forgotten. I want to bandage his knees. I want to bandage his wounded heart.

I can't fix anything- not even with a mother's love. But I know who can and I want to introduce him to That Man.

I am excited... frightened...and trusting.

I find reassurance knowing that we are Safely in His Grip.