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

Friday, January 29, 2010

All Mighty Savior

Our second day in court didn’t quite go as hoped. Jim and I both spoke- that went well. Thank you so much for praying. Everything was fine with the exception of a document. When we were in Moscow, we had seen the 8 specialists required. Apparently, someone at the medical center forgot to make a copy of the license of the Infectious Disease doctor. Hence, that was not in the packet of information that they sent with us. When our coordinator realized the mistake the next day, she had a copy of the license faxed to our region. The judge deemed it not good enough. I can’t tell you the emotion that came over Jim and I when the judge announced that she couldn’t accept our request for the adoption. She set a new court date for the next day. Time for court was to be 3 pm. We were scheduled to fly home the next day at 12:10pm.

As the judge left, all was a buzz in the court room. Our coordinator, the orphanage doctor and the social worker all began to talk and to make phone calls. Of course, all this banter was in Russian. Jim and I stood there and looked at each other, dumbfounded. No one was talking to us and explaining the situation. They were just talking to each other. We later found out, this was to serve us well.

Our hotel was full so we had to find a new one. We had a non refundable room waiting for us in Moscow (tried unsuccessfully to get our money back) and the great possibility of missing our flights back home. We paid our old hotel for permission to sit on a coach and use their wireless access (our new hotel had no access) and started making calls. We talked to friends and family- asking for prayer. And looked for airline alternatives for the next day because it was unlikely that we would make our flight. All in all, our “Plan B” best case scenario was to go out on Saturday, a day late and pay about an extra thousand dollars for the change.

A call was made to a local Infectious Disease Doctor. We were to be at her office at 8 am (with our blood test results from America). If we could meet with her for 15 minutes and then race to the judge (15 minutes away), the judge had agreed to meet us at 8:30 am. If we could then get out of court by around 9 am…we might make our flight. The flight took registration until 11:30 am and flew at 12:10 pm.

All this time that I prayed, I kept hearing that song “…He can move the mountains…my God is mighty to save, He is mighty to save…” The mountains were about to move.

At 7:30 am, Jim and I were waiting to be picked up- nervous and prayerful that God was going to make this happen. But also asking for peace if we had to wait another day. We sat in the van outside the doctor’s office until it opened. Then five of us rushed upstairs. The next few moments were the beginning of seeing God make it happen. Jim and I sat quietly in chairs while 6 wonderful women- two doctors, a receptionist and our adoption contact people, typed and copied and stamped and signed. Quickly. Quickly. Did I mention that we are in Russia and typically efficiency and speed are not a strength here? Jim and I sat in awe. These people were doing this for us. Doing this for our son. “He can move the mountains…” played in my head.

We raced to the court. It was 8:31 am. We all ran in. The judge, prosecutor, typist, social worker, orphanage doctor, translator….all there. People spoke and then the judge walked out to make a decision. We waited……..

When she returned, she stood and read her decision. HE IS OURS! An orphan no more! My eyes, as in court, fill as I type this. There is one less orphan in the world. With a smile, she said that he is OUR son and wished us well. From the look on her face, I could tell that she knows we will love him and care for him well. Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!!!

Wiping my eyes, Jim and I hugged and I let out a cheer. Words escape me.. what if feels like to have that verdict read…….never in my life…Beautiful.
But we had no time to celebrate as we were told to race to the van. It was about 9:15 am. It would be close. Only those who have been to a place like Russia can understand the traffic there. It can be so difficult… traffic can be stopped for hours. So again , I asked for the mountains to move and peace and acceptance if they didn’t.

As we neared the airport at 11:25 am (we can register for the flight until 11:30 am), our coordinator kept crossing herself- countless times. She asked if we had prayed and we assured her that we had. We dropped off Jim and our translator to race upstairs and to tell them that “the lady is coming” and can we please register? The coordinator and I followed behind quickly, carrying the rest of the luggage. It was like a movie. As they started processing our information, they said we must hurry because the plane was already loading. With a wave and a smile to our translator and coordinator, we ran to passport control and then on to security,. Our gate was on the far end of the airport, of course, so we raced. Totally like a movie.  I ran and laughed. God was doing His thing!

So now, I sit here in Seat 26 D. Jim is asleep on one side of me and a pretty blond Russian woman on the other. I pull out the pictures of this little guy that I met in a Russian orphanage about a month ago. Sweet boy… beautiful brown eyes and the hint of a dimple in his right cheek. Our son.

Thank you, Lord for giving us the privilege of allowing us to see you do your work. He can move the mountains. He is mighty to save.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Continued Surprises

This morning, we were able to see our little guy for the last time this trip. He still cried a little when he saw me but it just lasted a minute or so. We were able to have about 2 hours with him this morning. I am starting to see my son for who he is now- ALL BOY!!!! That meek little spirit is starting to shed and the real boy is being revealed. He is still sweet...but he is acting like a typical, testing 2 year old little boy. It is actually good to see a little fire in him. But I said to Jim, "I am going to be tired at the end of each day!"

Today, he continued to want to be held. He continued to want to gaze out the window. But he was throwing things and rolling on the floor and testing boundaries...not knowing what to do with this new found freedom he had. I am definitely going to be talking to my dear friends that have gone before me. Friends-need some counsel when I get home as it relates to bringing him home. I want him to feel safe and secure and treasured. Given his past, he needs to be loved on in an extra special way and my little mercy heart has no problem with that. That's easy for me. But I don't want to be a permissive parent that I get him in bad habits. Two is a tough age with any child (living it already with Miss Bella) in that it is an important time for boundaries and to show that Momma is still in charge! :) -kids try to take over at this age and are constantly testing. HMMMM! I will need to sit down with some "veterans" and discuss how to find a balance of compassion for the sake of bonding and still setting appropriate boundaries like any other child. Not worried - it is just becoming more of a reality that eventually this little guy WILL come home and WILL be my forever son. Good stuff!

It seems as if each day we find out... well, things are not quite the way you think they are. Every day seems to contain "a littls surprise" that we have to accept. Today is was our travel plans. Ever since we found out that we had 4 trips, we have planned that Jim would come for the 3rd trip alone (to apply for the child's passport) and that I would come (perhaps with a friend) for the fourth trip (to bring our son home). We planned it this way so that Jim could not take so much time from work, so that we weren't both leaving the children at home so much, and so that we could save some money. We have discussed this plan multiple times with our agency at home as well as our contacts here in Russia. Well, today we were told that it wouldn't work. We were told that whoever applies for the passport for the child also has to pick it up when is is processed. We had planned to send documents signing over power of attorney to make this all work. But alas, no! And it was a very firm no! Hence , we need to pray and rethink our travel plans for the next 2 trips. Bummer...but what are you going to do? No control...yet again. I guess we should be getting used to it.

Next is court. We covet your prayers. I will post again after court.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Judgement Day Part 1

Today was our first day of court and it lasted a little more than an hour. We were told that this was the most important of the two court dates. The basic objective for today was for the judge to read all of our documents out loud in the presence of a social worker, prosecutor, secretary and orphanage representative. Jim and I just sat there quietly most of the time, with the exception of answering a few questions. But most of the time, the judge would read our documents out loud and a translator would translate for us into English. If we had any corrections or concerns, we were to verbalize them. The judge was to make sure we had all appropriate documents and that she was satisfied. Fortunately, only one item was found missing. Our coordinator was already aware of this void and we will bring it to the final session tomorrow. So all went well! Thank you, Jesus!

It is more than a little intimidating, sitting there on a wooden bench right in front of a judge. It was, of course, very formal. Just another new life experience- both Jim and I were quiet, solemn and nervous. As each document is reviewed, you wonder if it acceptable or if something is going to come up. All of our references from friends and church representatives were read aloud for all to hear. AHHHH! I have never been in court before as the one being examined and evaluated. As I sat there sweating a bit, I thought of Judgment Day- when God, Himself, will be reviewing events from my life and choices that I have made. I pictured myself, sitting there… sweating profusely.. cringing at what He would have to report. It reminded me of how glad I am to have a Savior who has stood in my place and has taken the punishment that I so deserve.

After court, we went back to our hotel to change and to take a break. I had a great talk with my parents (sorry again about that- Jim forgot it was 1 am in the morning when he called). Then Jim and I bundled up and took a walk. We so much needed to get out and stretch our legs!!!! But did I mention it was cold here? BRRR! It was below zero so we didn’t last too long. But we walked a few blocks down the street to a pedestrian walkway. We found some lunch, some cookies (both of us were craving chocolate) and just enjoyed being out a bit. As we were rushing back to the hotel, Jim laughed and said, “If our son ever wonders if he would have been happier living here, I am bringing him back to Russia in the winter. He will run back home!”

Next, we were able to return to the orphanage to see our little guy. We played with him for about 2 hours. For the first time, he cried when he saw us. Not quite the reaction I was hoping for… but I can’t imagine how hard this is for him. With the help of our translator, we were able to calm him down pretty quickly. He’s a brave little boy- truly.

It actually turned out to be probably our best visit with him yet. He started to get more comfortable with us. He started talking more (actually I don’t know if it is toddler babble or if he is speaking Russian- I can’t tell the difference). And I started to see a sparkle in his eye. For the first time, a little sparkle. He has always had beautiful eyes. But puppy dog, sad eyes. I started to see a shine in those eyes that was new. And he laughed. Really belly laughed for the first time. He let me tickle him and hold him outside down… he started to tease and giggle just like any other child. It was…..BEAUTIFUL!!!!!!!!

At dinner time, I carried him down to his room where all the other children were seated quietly at a little table, waiting to eat. When I left, he had a smile on his face. It was a contented smile…

We just came back from dinner and IT WAS GOOD! Whoopee! Jim and I are not the most adventurous with meals, plus with all that is going on…well it doesn’t give you a huge appetite, period. But we shared a great meal that we both enjoyed. Plus, they were having some sort of a reception in the room we were eating, so a musician had been hired to play the keyboard. So we ate and listened to a little music….What a bonus for our special day!

Jim and I would sincerely appreciate your prayers for court tomorrow. The second day is what they call "The Speaking Day." It is the day in which Jim and I, individually, stand before the judge and answer questions. I am told that each of us will be questioned for about 30- 45 minutes. Can you imagine? Standing in front of a Russian judge while someone translates and the judge asks you question after question? I can't imagine! But... I guess I will experience it first hand tomorrow. Did I mention that I was nervous??? But I have prayed and will continue to pray for just the right words and for the judge to see our hearts. I know My Heavenly Father will be right beside us and that nothing can block His Will from coming into fruition. In my weakness, He is strong...right!! Perfect time for me to see this. As Jim has often prayed, "Lord, be my legs so I can stand and accomplish Your Will." Friends and family- thanks for standing in the gap.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Okay, now for The Best Part

Yesterday was a difficult day. We had been told that we would have some sort of medical exam. Then we were told that we would meet with a panel of doctors. Later it was stated that we would have six doctors. When we got into the medical center, we were told that we would meet with 8 doctors. Eight doctors! Are you crazy? We were to meet with 8 separate specialists so that they could determine if they gave approval or not for us to adopt. Honestly, at this point I go a bit teary…and a bit angry. We had done so much already. We just want to give a child a home that has no home, no family. I was anxious about meeting with these doctors- doctors that I didn’t understand in a place that I didn’t know. I felt no control over what type of exam they would do. I was scared. I felt vulnerable, taken advantage of and personally violated of my rights of privacy.

But I paced and prayed and pulled myself together and just took it one doctor at a time. The first was the most uncomfortable- I won’t explain- the rest were not a big deal. It took us a full 4 hours to see the 8 specialists. But I must tell you about the last doctor- a psychiatrist. After asking us a few questions, she just smiled and said, “I want to thank you for what you are doing. There are so many without a family. It is wonderful what you are doing.” She thanked us!!!!!! Then she went on to say that she could tell just in our eyes that we were OK and that we would take good care of him. She did not need to ask us any more questions. Furthermore, as we went back to the waiting room, an assistant pulled us aside. She had escorted us to all the doctors and served as a translator. She looked at both of us closely and said, “From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank you for what you are doing. It is such a good thing.” She looked as if she were going to cry when she talked to us. Jim and I were taken back by the outpouring of appreciation from these 2 people. What a gift! God gives encouragement right when you need it to show that you are right in His Will. What an amazing way to end an amazing day.

We then left to go to our hotel. What was supposed to be a 3 hour ride turned into a five hour ride , due to traffic. Five hours in a van without heat in winter in Russia…hmmm…next time I will wear a bit more layers for the long drive. Jim and I huddled close and marveled at the lessons we were learning.

About 11:30 pm, we arrived at our hotel. We were able to talk to the kids via skype! Hurrah! I can’t tell you how thankful we are for friends and family who are taking such good care of our children at home. Jim and I have both talked about the fact that we couldn’t and wouldn’t be here with out the support and friendship of these people. HUGE THANK YOU! We know they are safe and loved and that takes a huge burden from us.

But let’s get to the good part- we finally saw our little guy today (Tuesday). That’s the good stuff. That’s the highlight! He was appropriately tentative at the beginning. We hadn’t seen him in a month. But that cautiousness didn’t last long. He warmed up quite quickly. He has such a sweet disposition and he is so affectionate. That boy likes to be held. OH I love that! He would run to me and just place his little body in my arms. He is curious- he and Caleb are so similar. He kept trying to figure out how to work the camera. He so much reminds me of Caleb. He has a precious smile and an easy way about him. And God has placed a love in Mommy for this little guy that I just can’t explain. I sure prayed for that to happen- it is amazing to see it come to fruition. I feel so drawn to this child. Both of us just want to bring him home to join the gang. I can already picture him, sitting at the kitchen table eating ice cream and listening to Mommy read stories. That is a very Snyder tradition. I want to bring him home and pull he and Bella in the wagon to the park…I just want him home with our family, being a Snyder!

I must tell you, one of the visuals that stayed with me after we left the orphanage was that of our little guy (can’t give you a name) looking out the window. Whenever we meet with him, we play in this small area that is basically a hallway between rooms. In the room, is a window that looks out to a small playground used by the older orphans. Each time we visit, he wants to spend a great deal of time being held and looking out the window. So we pull aside the curtains and we hold him and we look. You should see his eyes! Such a longing. Such a deep longing to get outside. It is like he imagines something better, looking eagerly at the world beyond this place. Jim or I will hold him for awhile and he points at things and we talk about what we see …but it never seems to be enough time for him. He wants to continue to gaze. It is like he is hoping and dreaming and wondering what is beyond the walls that hold him inside. . So today, I stood at the window with my son and told him all the things we would do together.. I told him that I would pull he and Bella in the wagon when the weather was warm, and that he and all the kids and Papa would go to the park. I told him that I would hold him on my lap and go down the snow-covered hill on a sled. I told him that he would play soccer in the grass with Caleb, Alecia, Sophia, Natalia and Bella. I explained these things that he has to look forward to, because as my Caleb once said to me, “ Mom, a boy’s got to run!”

Monday, January 25, 2010

Accepting that It just Doesn't Make Sense

We are between doctor's appointments now. We went to get bloodwork done this morning. Of course, we had to have bloodwork done in America before we came. It was a requirement for this trip. So we brought with us a print out of our test results- blood work, tb skin tests, full physicals, even recent lung x-rays that prove that we don't have tb. We brought them with us and handed the results to the medical personnel. Then we have to turn around and have the same tests run here. Crazy! We asked our coordinator why we are doing them again. He just shakes his head- he doesn't know either. But blood tests are done and we go back in a few hours for physicals. That ought to be fun!

I was a bit nervous the night we left when a good friend of ours (Kevin) asked if we were bringing our own needles for the blood tests. Years prior, he had lived in Russia for a year. At that time, he had been told to bring his own needles for blood work because the Russians reuse needles. You should have seen our faces!!Well, it was the night before we flew out so really too late to get needles. So we asked our coordinator here if it was a concern. He said it is a good hospital and not to worry. So what to you do? I said a quick prayer for protection and just accepted the process. You had better believe I was watching the phlebotomist prepare to take my blood, though . :)

The gentlemen that drives us around transports us in an old, smelly van. It's ok- just old and smelly. He needs a new belt of some sort for the van. Hence, they dropped us off at the hotel while they went to get the belt replaced. Jim is working a bit- I am blogging- then we plan to go and explore Moscow for an hour until our next doctor's appointment. Just be glad I am not calling any of you right now (we found a way to call internationally using our computer- $5/ month). I want to skype with my parents and the kids but is is around 2 am so I am doing this instead. :)

Lots of waiting. Lots of patience. So much of this doesn't make any sense at all. So much of the process. But these are the times that I go back and remember why I am on this "detour" from my nornal, familiar life. I recall who first knocked on our hearts about adoption and called us to do what we are doing. It doesn't have to make sense. We just have to be obedient. I cling to the fact that He has gone before us, behind us and is right next to us. I need my Savior every day. But feel so helpless here- it is a beautiful opportunity to realize how totally dependent that I really am. And then to simply trust.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God Sent us a Huge Blessing

Well, it is about 8:30 pm here in Russia. So it is around 12:30 pm at home. What a great start we have had here!

We are exhausted and needing to rest. You never sleep well on a plane. Plus we are so "nerved up" with the week ahead. But we are torn because this is really our only opportunity to see Moscow. I don't want to miss this chance. Therefore, we did a little bit of this and a little bit of that. We laid down for about an hour and tried to sleep this afternoon. As always, I slept more than Jim.

Then we connected with our friend, Sasha, that I spoke about in my last blog. Wow! Was he wonderful!!! I can't say enough wonderful things about Sasha. I jokingly asked if he would hang with us the rest of our trip. He took us to Red Square- beautiful at night! It was really important to me that we capture some of our son's heritage while we are here. It was freezing outside- oh so cold! It was about -6 degrees. But we saw some of the government buildings, went into a church service (quite formal- the minister was reading the Bible while people just stood there listening, holding candles- lovely church that looked somewhat Catholic with its architecture and beautiful paintings). We saw the building that Lenin's body is in, a beautiful basilica....They even had a brightly painted building that was temporarily set up or ice skating. After awhile, we went to a small cafe to get some hot tea because we were FREEZING! Sasha laughed that the only people at Red Square are tourists. Russian people don't bother going to these places.

Sasha needed to get back to his family so we were trying to be respectful of his time. However, he then took us to a grocery store to purchase some needed "gifts" for the adoption process as well as a few items for ourselves. Everything is really expensive in Moscow so we were extremely selective with our purchases. We decided to buy water, yogurt and fruit for dinner to avoid paying for a restaurant. Sasha helped us locate what we needed and read labels for us. Then, in an unexpected demonstration of generosity, he insisted on buying our groceries. Due to the "gifts" we were buying, it was about $120 worth of stuff. He said that he thought it was wonderful that we were adopting a Russian child. He agrees that there are so many orphans in his country! And he feels bad that his country has made it so hard for people to do something that is so nice. Hence, he wanted to pay. Definite God thing!

Again, having a friend that knows the country- the ins and outs -and knows the language and speaks fluent English... what a treat! As we talked, I was able to ask questions about the Russian culture, traditions and laws that helped us understand life here in Russia. So much of what he said made me so sad for the people that live here. We talked about how serious the Russian people are- rarely a smile. He even laughed that if you have a big smile, they actually call it "an American smile".

Everything is harder here. For instance, he wanted to go into the hotel with us for a minute. We drove around the block twice but there were no parking spots. Hence, he decided to go into the hotel parking garage. That alone entailed a long talk with a parking security man who then stood in front of the car to block it while he filled out paperwork. He proceeded to write detailed information about the vehicle and check in the trunk before he let us into the garage. Wow! Just to get into a parking garage.

We are now back at the hotel hoping to skype with the kids. I think Jim is going to work and then we are hoping to join everyone in watching the Colts game! I think Jim is quite surprised that no one out here seems to care about American football. :) But he things he has found access to the game over the internet. So we will be watching tonight- about 11 pm out here. GO COLTS!

Again, we appreciate your prayers and support. We truly sense His presence and look forward to what tomorrow brings. I am NOT looking forward to going to the doctor tomorrow but I hope we get to see our little guy afterward.

We Made it Here

It is about 1:15 pm here. I think about 5:15 am back home.

We are here and safe and ready to go! It was so much of a simpler trip than last time. One stop in New York - no big deal!

At one point, we thought one of our bags had been mistakenly taken by someone else at baggage claim. That was an anxious time. But then we found that it was in the inside of the baggage area- inside the conveyor belt. Apparently it had fallen off into the middle. Once we discovered it, Jim kissed the bag. :)

Today we are going to get settled and actually connect with an old Russian friend. One of our Indy friends hosted a Russian foreign exchange student about 13 years ago. Sasha has offered to show us around this afternoon. Isn't that cool? Jim and he actually were exchanging text messages on Saturday to make the plan. So it is a last minute bonus!

We are hoping Sasha can show us some sights, help us do some shopping and then we are going to go out to dinner. Then Jim wants to get settled in and try to find the Colts game so we can watch it. We both have our jerseys and hope to skype with the kids during the game. He wants to feel like he is watching it with the kids. :)

Thanks for your prayers and support. We will keep you posted as the adventure continues to unfold.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Sorry about the title of this blog. Some songs just stick with you. :)

Well, we have been following the tracking number of our needed Fed Ex package. At 2 am it was still in Tennessee so Jim called a customer service number. They assured him that it will be here in time. We will pick it up this morning.

Some have asked about our itinerary. So this is all I know:

Saturday- Leave at 1 pm for Moscow (1 stop in New York)

Sunday- Arrive in Moscow around 10 am (2 am Indiana time)
Hang out at the hotel and do some sight seeing (High of 5 Low of -11 so lots of layers)

Monday- Jim and I spend half a day at the hospital getting tests run. Then go to region where our son is.

Tuesday- See our little guy and run errands as told by coordinator

Wednesday and Thursday- Court for several hours each day and hopefully a visit with our son also. As of the final proceedings of Thursday, he is ours!!!!!

Friday- Fly home arrive home about 10 pm

Not sure what will happen besides all these nuts and bolts. I am sure we will have lots of stories to share.

I so appreciate your prayers not only for Jim and I, but for the precious Fabulous Five we have at home.

So hard to leave them. Lots of tears......

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Looks Like We are Going

What a day it has been! A day of prayer. A day in which I got down on my knees with my 5 kids, held hands, and prayed for God's intervention. Either God was going to move some mountains so that we could go to court next week or it just wasn't the right timing- and we were to trust that. All day long, we waited to see His Will. In the late evening, we heard some good news about the FBI data- it will be sent on Friday and Fed Exed to a nearby local. At their suggestion, we will be waiting outside their office at 8 a.m on Saturday morning. They were so gracious and told us that they would make it a priority to find that morning when they sort the letters. (Our flight is at 1 pm- so not a whole lot of extra time there).

About 10:30 pm tonight, we received a text from our adoption agency. There was still some outstanding items that the local judge had to approve of. According to the text, there just remains one final internal document that should arrive Monday but the judge has agreed to see us.

Wow! Jim and I kind of looked at each other. Is this real? Could it be? Is something going to come along and mess this up? I am an optimistic person with a deep sense of God's faithfulness. But this is international adoption- it's a crazy journey of complications and surprises. So you are never 100% confident of basically anything- except Jesus.

So .. are we excited ? YES!!! Are surprised? YES!!!! Did God move those mountains in a miraculous way that just screams the Almighty? YES!!!!

Celebrate and worship Him with us.

Now---- can't wait to see our little guy again.

Thank you for your support and prayers. They mean SO much!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Glad to be on the Potter's Wheel

I am so glad to be on The Potter's Wheel. Jim and I both are. There are countless rough edges and imperfections in our clay. Sometimes I just feel like a big, old gray blob without any hope of beauty. Only His hands can mold me and make me into the treasure that He envisions. So often I am on the wheel almost shouting my requests to The Potter. I don't mean to and sometimes I don't even realize that I am doing it at the time. But I think I know what is best. I think I know "The best plan" that makes "the most sense". So I tell Him that plan. And then I get frustrated when it doesn't work out like I wrote the script. It's almost like He didn't even read my script.

I always... always... look back later and am so grateful that He didn't follow my script. His plan is always better. Always wiser.

You'd think that one day I would learn that lesson. Once and for all. :)

We have been on the Potter's Wheel for a long time now as we have traveled this adoption journey. And so little has gone as we expected. It has taken longer. Been more expensive. More complicated. More emotionally exhausting. More spiritually stretching.

But as Jim said this week, "Those are life lessons that you can't buy at the store."

Like so many trials in life, we wouldn't trade it.

We started this journey with a heart to obey a calling we felt by God. We have felt so blessed in our lives with our 5 children...we felt it was the least we could do- to open up our home to give another child a family and a sense of home and security. But this journey is about so much more. There is so much more that we have learned. So many ways that we have grown in our dependence and faith in The Creator- ways we have grown closer as a married couple-- numerous opportunities to teach our children about the needs beyond our safe little world-- our hearts have been expanded for things of Him. It has made us hunger for more of that.

So, I continue to sit as the gray "thing" on His wheel as it turns. We are supposed to go to court next week to adopt our little guy. But there is still one outstanding piece that keeps us from being able to do so. So despite the fact that hotel reservations have been made and flight arrangements made and visas in the mail... we may not go. Bummer. Don't understand why that is best. But it must be for some reason. The door is not totally closed for next week but quickly approaching. And if that happens... well, must be best.. and we will be shaped a little more.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Feeling Discouraged

We just found out that the peson that Jim talked to on Wednesday at Lugar's office never followed up with the FBI as promised. As of around noon today (Friday), Lugar's office is going to start making contact for us. Such disappointment on our part.

We also found out that there is further paperwok from our Secretary of State that will be taken to the region on Monday. The judge may or may not approve of the document.

Meanwhile, flight prices are rising and time is ticking away if we are going to leave the 23rd.

We have done so well with just praying and working as hard as possible. Jim and I have both had a really good attitude, with His help.

We are feeling pretty discouraged now. The chances of going to court this month are dwindling. If we lose this court date, it could put us back another month or so.

Sometimes the unknown is the most unsettling.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Gotta Laugh

Several people have sweetly asked what is the latest on bringing our little guy home. We have a court date set for the end of the month and hotel reservations made. We have a flight in mind and have Fed Ex'd our Visa applications. But the fingerprint approval is still outstanding. It is a good reminder that we can work our list and check it twice but ultimately, we still need His miraculous hand to intervene. My friend was reminding me today that there is such a spiritual battle going on when you are trying to work in His name. The Lord mentions the need to take care of orphans many times in the Bible. And bringing that child that is otherwise forgotten into a loving Christian home...well the enemy isn't going to let that slide by. But we serve God the Almighty. The Alpha and the Omega. The Great "I Am". The kids and I were reading in Proverbs today that "He will uphold the ways of the righteous that seek Him." I am by no means righteous but I do seek Him and I do seek to honor Him through this. So... I'm thinking that He has our back. :)

At the encouragement of our adoption agency and the FBI itself, we are asking for the help of one of our state representatives to get our fingerprints expedited. You are reading the blog of a person that doesn't like to inconvenience people. Now we are contacting our government officials for help. But apparently, this is pretty standard. Fortunately, my parents are friends with a state representative. So hence, the phone calls and emails to her started today. I expect her to call me at home tomorrow.

I called my sister- in-law tonight just to have someone laugh with me. Jim and I needed passport pics for our visa applications that Jim planned to Fed Ex out after kids' activities tonight. I called Meijer (near dance class) to see if they could take a passport picture. Jim and I met there, 25 minutes before we needed to pick up girls at dance. After a lot of fussing and taking 2 photos, the young man told us that the machine was broken. So Jim called the Walmart across the street. After more confusion, they finally told him that they could take our passport pic. So we tromped over there (right across the street mind you). Upon arrival, a stunned young man told us that the only one person who knows how to take those pictures left 5 minutes prior. We said that surely there must be someone at the store that can take our picture (as I stood gazing at the banner proclaiming "Get your passport pic taken at Walmart") We were told a big "no". Now mind you, we had called both of these places first to make sure they could do this. Already late to pick up the girls, we finally called a FedEx store. I ran and got the girls from dance, another friend generously took one of our other girls home from basketball and we went to the next destination. While I finally awaited in front of the backdrop, the young lady paused and said that the battery on the camera was dying. I paused... and laughed. What do you do? Good news, though, the camera lasted and Visa applications are on their way.

It is a good lesson in continuing to laugh. Just pray and laugh- what a combination! Oh, speaking of laughter, wait until you find out what "gifts" I am supposed to bring to Russia. Ask me!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

So Thankful

We serve such a personal God. I am feeling so excited that I don't quite know what to do with myself. :)

On my last blog, I was very honest about my weaknesses and fears. I talked about how many planes we have to get on and off of, the mounting bills, etc. Stuff that I can trust God with but am struggling to face.

Huge praise! As we looked at the dates we might travel next, the flights had gone down significantly. Actually the cost to fly at the end of this month is almost half of what it cost last month. Almost half! And this same flight has only 1 stop! We had to change planes 3 times last trip- just going to Russia alone. Moreover, Jim found a different hotel with a comparable price with more wireless access (so we can skype with the kids for free instead of buying phonecards)and is supposed to have more people that speak English working there. I am all up for an adventure and all but there are so many adventures packed into an international adoption that an English speaking person here and there is kind of nice. :)

Much is still up in the air. I called the FBI to get the status of our fingerprints and it could still be weeks. Moreover, there are a few more new tricky paperwork requirements that they have insisted upon. We hope to go back to Russia the last week of the month but it is obvious that only He can make that happen.

The children's prayers are more and more fervent as they have seen more pictures and now video of their little brother. Bella was watching the video today and told my mom, "He's coming to my house!" And she smiled so big!

I so appreciate your prayers and encouragement. Trying not to cling to anything but so hopeful and encouraged. Yippee!!!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

So Many Layers

As we settle back into normal life in the Snyder household, the processing is slowly beginning. While in Russia, too much was going on. Too much, too fast. We were kept very busy going from the orphanage to various government offices.... papers were being translated for us to sign, presents were handed out to appropriate persons, and smiles exchanged with this most precious new son of ours. Our eyes, ears and noses were filled with cigarette smoke, diesel fumes, and the gray coldness of Russia in winter. Our hearts were filled with the sovereignty of the Lord and the joy of meeting another one of His children- soon to be ours.

Spiritually, physically and emotionally, this has been a difficult journey. But that is where the gift lies. The Bible is very clear. God never promised an easy life. God never promised that following His will would be easy. I was reading James this morning and was reminded: "Consider it pure joy , my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. " I know I will never be complete until I reach Heaven. But I do want to be mature. I do want to grow in my faith . I do want to be humbly on my knees, dependent upon Him for my life. This journey sure puts me there.

The thought of getting on those planes again... that is probably the hardest part for me. That is when my fears overwhelm me. I look around at those around me and fear for my safety. I fear that I will never return to hug my 5 children that await at home. But I have to get on that plane... 8 times for each trip. While flying from Munich to Washington DC last week, security was tight and fear was thick in the air. Everyone watched you if you rose fromn your seat. Stewardesses paced up and down the aisles. I admit to quietly crying the first half hour of the flight. At one point I whispered to Jim, "Next time, I want a private jet".

And we have 3 more trips. AHHHH! Fear and the desire to avoid that gripping fear almost ... well it almost causes me to rethink the whole thing: "I can't do it! It scares me too much. The plane rides, the toll on my other children, the expenses that keep multiplying, the uncomfortableness I feel in this unknown culture, the lack of control I have in all parts of this.." These thoughts flood my mind. The enemy knows my weakness.

I read a quote recently that went something like this: "Stop telling God how big your storm is and start telling your storm how big your God is." Wow! That helps.

I love God. I trust God.. with my life. He has called us to adopt this wonderful ,beautiful little boy of His in a distant land. So I will obey.

We will continue to take one step at a time. One plane ride at a time. One bill at a time.

I keep picturing his little face. I keep opening God's Word to find strength and direction.

This life isn't about the world about us that we can see. His purposes are much farther reaching. As a brother in Christ recently said on his adoption journey, "I am realizing that God's agenda is much bigger than my own."

To God be the Glory.

Friday, January 1, 2010


We arrived home about 7 pm last night. I am so glad to be home!

We haven't posted much lately because we couldn't find any wireless access. We will have to have a new plan for communication next time. It was very frustrating that we felt limited in our ability to communicate with people back home.

We saw our little boy three times all together. By the third time, he blew me a kiss when I left. Then he reached for me. it was just a little, but he reached for me. He was in his caregiver's arms, going back for his lunch and a nap. He waved, blew me a kiss, and reached. He was torn between 2 worlds. My heart was torn....but so happy.

We completed some paperwork to move toward adopting him. Then we headed to the van for a long, 8 hour trip in a cold smelly van- back to the airport. We left our area around 8 pm and arrived at the airport in the wee hours of the morning. After some inconcenient luggage weight limitations for the trip back caused us to reaarrange everything in our luggage, we wandered around the airport until our 5:50 am flight.

We are home now. yay! Due to the fact that we only had a bed for 3 out of the 5 nights we were gone, we are in a bit of a stupor this morning. But throughtout our travels home, I kept picturing that face. That sweet little face with the big brown eyes. Forever in my mind and heart.

I hope he understands , that mama and papa are coming back for him.