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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

We are Going!!!!!!!

It ended up that someone put our visa package on the wrong flight! For several hours, no one even knew where our visas and passports were- that was scary! That could have lead to a delay of a month or two. But The Lord worked it all out. :) My parents have a friend that works at a high level at the airport. He was able to track our package down and has it now in a locked cabinet waiting for us.

Flights have all been changed and we now leave tonight at about 7:30 pm.

Please pray for out flights back. We are hoping that we will still be able to complete all the necessary requirement in Moscow and still catch our flight home on Friday. If not, I guess we will just deal with it. There continue to be some outstanding issues as it relates to our return flights (due to changing flights today). I would cover your prayers for wisdom and Holy Intervention.

We will keep you posted as the adventure continues. God is on the Throne and that is all that matters! :)


It's after 1:00AM. It's snowing. I'm typing. I'm staring out the window waiting for welcome headlights. Can't possibly go to bed until the visas arrive. Waiting...and praying...

Starting to wonder when I start looking for alternate flights. God is here; I can tell because I'm not really worried, just ready to do what he says.


Friday, February 26, 2010

and waiting...

It's 2:30 AM...Just spoke with FedEx...they aren't sure how to track the package that supposedly left on a commercial (Delta) flight out of Memphis. I got a "I've never heard of anything like this before..." response. I just had to chuckle...apparently we haven't met:).

Any insomniacs out there? How long do I wait for this package? I'm going to get a sleeping bag and just sleep by the front door.


Back to Moving Mountains

Well, preparations for this trip were apparently going just too smoothly. We knew 2 weeks in advance when we were to travel (that's a first), the weather in Indy is fine, our itinerary is coming together, friends and family are helping in numerous ways... all great!

Well, all seemed pretty calm until about 1 pm today (we leave tomorrow at 10: 30 am). Then we received a call from our adoption agancy that there was a visa problem related back again to issues Jim dealt with 2 weeks ago on the last trip. We have been receiving advice on our visas from the appropriate personnel in New York. Apparently this advice doesn't line up with preferences in Russia. Go figure! Why should I be surprised? The bottomline is that becaue we have "the wrong kind of visa" we have to pay a penalty when we get to our region. In addition, we have to spend an extra day in our region before they will give us our son's passport (although it is already complete). HMMMMM! So my first prayer request is that we can complete all we need to in Russia and still make our scheduled flight home on Friday (due to the delay, it will be tight). As we were making phone calls and discussing options, I got a bit discouraged and frustrated. I feel as if we are just continuing to be yanked around. He is our son already. I am ready to not have those knots in my stomach anymore, wondering of there will be any more hoops to jump through- anymore "surprises".

But you know, when life is smooth and it is all going as planned, you don't have a chance to see God "do His thing". And I wouldn't trade that for anything. As the afternoon unfolded, we were going to have more opportunities to see God take charge.

First of all, I called my sister and asked her to pray for us. She reminded me of what a spiritual battle we are fighting. Bringing a lost and lonely orphan into a home, and a Christian one at that- Wow! That is something that the enemy will try to stop. Through tears, she stressed that anytime she pictures us going to get our son and bringing hime out of the orphanage, she hears the song, "My Deliverer is Coming." Tears filled my eyes as we talked about rescuing this child out of the very hands of death. God was saving him not only from a physical death (life expectancy for a Russian child that isn't adopted is about 21 years of age) but also a spiritual one. God is pulling our son out of this institution and placing him in a Christian home. So as I think of our son's testimony... "My Deliverer is Coming." Jesus is coming, sweetie. You are not forgotten. The Creator of the Universe has heard your cry and knows your heart and He will stop at nothing. What a plan! What a Savior!

But that's just the beginning.

About an hour later, we received a call that our visas (Jim and mine) were delayed due to poor weather in Newark. Delayed? In all 4 trips, these were the only visas that didn't have to be expedited. These were the only ones that we hadn't worried about. HMMM! Jim made several more calls but was told by all parties that our visas wouldn't be here in time for us to make our morning flights. Seriously? So I prayed. I called a few and asked them to pray. Then I received a call from a wonderful woman with Fed Ex. She had just received the package in Memphis and was calling to discuss the delay with me. I assumed she knew the details of our situation and I begged her to do anything possible to get it here on time. After a few more comments she asked as to the contents of the package. When I explained that it contained the visas for my husband and I to travel to Russia to bring home our son, she just let out a sigh, "You're killing me. You're killing me!" I gently explained that we had been to Russia 3 times to meet him and that finally we were going to be able to bring him home. She exclaimed, "oh my heart! My heart! Let me see what I can do. I am getting off soon but let me talk to my supervisor and see if there is anything we can do. I can't promise anything. But I will keep you posted!"

I went back to tasks with the kids, not knowing what was to happen. I continued to pray and thought. "Well, this is another opportunity for God to move some mountains. Either He will intervene and make this happen or our plans are going to change and we are going to get another lesson in flexibility."

Over the next few hours, we received several phone calls from different Fed Ex personnel. My sister reminded me of a verse that God can change the hearts of kings. Well, let me tell you, he penetrated the hearts of the people at Fed Ex. These people found out about our adoption- they wanted us to be able to get our little guy home as planned and they bent over backwards. At about 6:15 pm, we got a call from Sophia (love ya, Fed Ex Sophia) that they had found our package, located a commercial flight heading from Memphis to Indy, purchased a plane ticket for the package (yes, apparently it has a seat on a 6:50 pm flight), it will land in Indy and they are hiring a driver to drive it to our house! (all free) It is supposed to arrive at our house a little after midnight tonight. Can you believe it!!!? Isn't that crazy wonderful!!!!!

I can't wait to tell our son how personal God is and how much He loves this little guy! Wow! I am almost speechless.

I am tired of the emotional ups and downs of the rollercoaster called adoption. But it is a privilege and a faith builder to see God work. He is The Alpha and The Omega- Ruler of All !

Coming to get you, son!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Travel Plans

We would love your prayers for safety and for bonding as we prepare to leave to bring our little guy home! Many have asked for more specific information. This is what I know: we leave Saturday morning (2/27) and arrive in Russia on Sunday (2/28). We are able to get out little boy on Monday (3/1). We will spend a few days in Russia taking him for his medical exam, going to the US Embassy, etc. We are scheduled to arrive back home that Friday (3/5) at 6:45 pm.

Please pray not only for those of us traveling but also for those waiting at home. We have such special friends and family that are watching over our children, teaching our kids, taking them to their various activities.... huge stuff... huge gift to us. It takes so much pressure off to know that our children are safe and happy back at home. THANK YOU!!!!!!!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Bringing Our Son Home

OK, I can tell we are getting close to bringing our son home because I am getting more and more emotional. :) Watch out, I cry pretty easily these days. Now part of that is because I am snowed under with things I need to do this week. But I'm not really talking about that. I am talking about the good stuff- buying little boy pull ups, picking out his snacks for the plane, bringing Caleb's old dresser out of storage for our little guy, looking at all his cute little jeans and sweatshirts and socks.....that is the good stuff that tugs at my heart.

More than that, it is hitting me more and more each day that he will soon be part of "us". He will be sleeping upstairs, wearing his cutie pjs and running around with 4 sisters and a brother and an onery puppy. He'll be holding Snickerdoodle's leash and running around the circle with Bella. Can I tell you how excited I am for him!!!!!!!!! I am so excited for us.. for all of us... that we GET to have him in our family. But I look back at the pictures from our first trip. My heart is still pierced by the sadness and the fear that I saw in those big brown eyes. Each trip, I see a bit more life in those eyes. And that stoic face ... he still seems to fight smiling... but each time, it comes a bit easier.

So, gotta get my boy home! I want to see those eyes shine. I want to see a BIG smile and hear him giggle so hard his stomach hurts. I want to fill his belly with good, healthy food and fill his heart with the deep love of Jesus and a family that thinks he's precious. Jesus has such a heart for the weak, the marginalized and those without a voice.

We are priviledged to be able to watch The Lord give this little boy a whole new life- we get to see the trasformation in front of us . How cool is that! ? And may God be glorified every step of the way.

May our hearts forever beat differently and continue to help other orphans, just like our son.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Guess Who is Two Today?

Well, it is our son's second birthday today. It's weird. I am here in America at home without him. He is far, far away in such a distant land. I'm not sure if he even knows that it's his birhtday. The caregivers at his orphanage seem very kind and loving. But do they do anything for the children's birthay? Probably not.

Well, your family loves you buddy! So we are remembering. I made a cake and frosted it. The kids are going to decorate it today. Then we are going to videotape our family celebrating your birthday. We will sing happy birthday. I will probably cry a little (Sorry, buddy, that's just mom. Ask your siblings, Mommy cries over sentimental things so you better get used to it. ) Then one day when you are older, we can show you that we remembered. We were thinking of you on your birthday even though you weren't with us. Because you belong to a family now. That's what family's do. :)

In honor of his birthday, we also hope to start writing "his story" today. As a family, we want to write a book for our little guy of how God came to bring him into our family- when we first started feeling led to adopt, what the journey looked like, how we felt when we saw his referral picture, how glad we are that he is one of us... We will have the kids draw pictures, add some photos, etc. and have it laminated. Then the kids can read him his story when he is a bit older. I had a friend from our homeschool group tell me how often her 4 year old asks to hear "her story". So I got to thinking.... Hence, our birthday plan for today.

As for the rest of the week, so much to do before we leave on Saturday. We leave on Saturday!!!!!!! Our little guy's visa is to be completed 2/26. So we will leave here 2/27, arrive in Russia 2/28 and "Gotcha Day " is March 1st!!!!!!!!I can't believe we get to bring him home.

The picture that I come back to is that of holding our little guy up by the window.... and his looking and looking outside. I picture those big brown eyes with that sad gaze of longing. I want to reassuure that precious little boy , "Well, no more!!!! Mommy and Daddy are coming and we are getting you out into that big world that you are so desperate to explore. It's a beautiful world of adventure, opportunity, and love. It's also a world of change and confusion. But you will have a Mommy and a Daddy to love hold you... to tickle reassure you... to nurture you... and to introduce you to your gentle Savior that can meet your every need. And family...let me tell you about family. You have a wonderful big brother and 4 big sisters that can't wait to love on you. You are going to be playing soccer in the big open area in front of your house,;you are going to the park in a wagon; you are going to eat ice cream and listen to Mommy read; you are going to be in crazy shows put on by the Snyder kids; you are going to play with other kids at this place called "church"; you are going to LOTS of sporting events to see your siblings play; you are going to get messy making cookies or playing playdough....."

My eyes fill with tears as I think of all our son will now experience. He will live... and be loved ...and belong.

As a family, I have this visual of us scaling this towering, steep wall. We have been scaling it to reach our son. There has always been a harness, in case we'd start to slip. Guess, who that is? Yep, that's The Lord. But we have been climbing, grabbing with our fingers and toes and reaching and stretching higher and higher. I feel as if we are finally at the top, hoisting ourselves over the side. And there he will be.. our son. On March 1st, we will greet him with a smile and a kiss, and pick him up , strap him to our bodies, and start going back down the wall again.... together.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Boy has Shoes...and a Few Other Things

OK, it is finally hitting me that we are actually going to bring our little guy home soon! So for the first time, I went shopping! Actually, Alecia, Caleb and I went shopping!!!!!!!!!

We didn't buy too much. It is tricky because of sizing. His tags at the orphange are usually about 18 months. But I am not sure how quickly he will grow when he comes home. So, I will keep the receipts but went ahead and bought some things. It was so fun! I have been so good in holding off this long. One of the highlights for me was watching the kids pick out clothes. Sales were good and well... we have been waiting a long time for this! Ally chose 2 outfits that she loved. Caleb's goal was to find matching clothes for he and his brother. Very precious! We spent a LONG time trying to match clothes for a 12 year old and a 2 year old, Not an easy task. And of course, what makes it even harder is to find things that Caleb will actually wear that match his brother. :) We were successful. Caeleb wanted to buy his brother every baseball shirt or pj he could find! I smiled, set a boundary, and reminded him that this won't be the last time he gets to pick out clothes for his brother.

We left with smiles on our faces in anticipation.

Today was a bit more preparation for our little guy. (quite a feat for this homeschooling mom) A dear friend and neighbor, Julie, gave us the clothes that her son had outgrown. What a huge gift! And her son is a beautiful boy from China- so the gift has extra meaning. So now, I have some stacks going of clothes- sorted by size. I don't have a dresser or a room ready for him yet, but I needed to know what clothes I needed prior to traveling next week.

Tonight, my folks babysat so that Jim and I could go out for Valentine's Day. We spent most of the time running errands for the homecoming and for upcoming family birthdays this week. We did purchase our little guy some shoes!! We took in his little footprints (outlined on notebook paper) and bought him 2 pair- certainly one of them will fit. (We purposed to go to Shoe Carnival for the price break on the 2nd pair) As were walking to the check out, I realized that I hadn't purchased any socks yet. I can't believe that I almost forgot a basic. So we grabbed a few packages of socks- we are getting set.

I am totally nesting!!!!!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Rounding the Bases

I've talked to Jim via skype several times this past week. It sounds as if he had several special visits with our little guy. I wish I could have been there. :) But I am glad that daddy is bonding so well with his son. Jim amd Kevin also were able to take out little guy out of the orphanage to get his passport picture taken. Jim said that they dressed him up so snug that only the middle of his face showed. So they took him down the street to a local store, unwrapped him, took his photo, wrapped him up and took him back to the orphange. Poor little guy! Seems like a shame to show him some freedom and then... well soon enough.

It sounds as if Kevin and Jim became quite the experts with public transportation. They rode the train and the subway. Jim says they found some good spots to buy souveniers for the kids. Jim and I had only been taken to one store in previous trips so it was great to have Kevin's leadership in scouting out other avenues. According to Jim, Kevin is quite the adventurer! He has taken Jim way outside of his comfort zone there. But I know Jim is glad and I can only imagine that Jim will be "stretching" me on our next trip. I'm pretty timid in Russia, I readily admit.

Jim did share some great news with me today! The passport office actually gave Jim a date as to when our son's passport will be ready. We didn't expect that at all. We were told that we would get a range of a few weeks. I got a little teary when Jim told me about this great news. I think it is just finally sinking in- our son is actually going to come home!!!!!!! Sometimes, you feel as if this adoption process is just going to continue indefinitely. We are just going to continue to fill out paperwork, write checks and fly to Russia occasionally to visit with this precious child. But no! It is hitting me that eventually he will just come home and be in our family! Wow!!!!!!!!!!! (Oh my, I have sooo much to do) :)

So as of today, we will leave home again in late February and pick him up in early March. We will narrowly miss bringing him home for his bday. Bummer! But, that's OK. I was prepared for that. So anyway, anything can happen... I've really come to realize that. But, with God' s help, we could have him home in around 3 1/2 weeks. I want to scream, I am so excited! Just bubbling over........

So lots of reasons to celebrate!

We so appreciate the outpouring of love, support, prayer, help with the kids, encouragement...we continue to feel blessed to have such a great community of believers as our friends. You give us strength for the journey.

As I was considering the title of this post, my mind immediately went to baseball. I see an image of us flying around 3rd base (3rd trip to Russia) and we are rounding toward home. Can't wait to bring our son across homeplate! Beautiful..................

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Where's My Mommy!

So I know Karen's a terrific person and mother, but the look of underwhelment our little guy's face when he saw me was hilarious. When I finally got him out of the corner (see pic) things started to go better. Okay so it wasn't that bad, in fact it was pretty good considering he really has had a more immediate bond with momma; which is totally normal of course. We did spend time looking at mommy's picture and the sisters and brother too, and that helped.

The paperwork had snags...I know you're all shocked. There is some outstanding issue with my visa that I don't understand. Why don't I understand? Because our very nice translator was very careful not to give me too much info and alarm me. He doesn't realize that his concern, strange line of questions and a request to make a copy of my visa raise my "oh boy, hang on tight" antenna. I'm hoping this resolves tomorrow...please pray for that specifically.

Our son got his picture taken for his passport today...I think he's saving his smiles for momma. He did very well really. We played for ~3 hours today. It is much different without Karen here. Fortunately they allowed Kevin to come to the orphanage with me, so he got to meet our little guy.

It's hard knowing I will be leaving him here for the 3rd time, but nice to know we'll be back soon to take him home.

I'm out of words...hopefully I'll connect with Karen (having trouble connecting today) and she can relay other stuff.


Saturday, February 6, 2010

Back for the Third Trip

Well, Jim and Kevin just left. They rented a car and are driving to Cincinnati because we aren't confident the Indy- to- Cincinnati flight will go out today due to the weather. Hence, they are driving to Cincinnati, then catching that leg of the trip to fly to Amsterdam and onto Russia.

It is difficult for both Jim and I to leave the kids when we travel together to Russia. But this adoption experience had brought a whole different level of unity to our marriage. That has been a blessing! Anytime you walk togehter as a couple through such a long, spiritual experience it can be such a unifier. We are even more of a team than ever before and we have an even greater respect and love for one another. As a result of that, it was difficult for both of us to be separated on this trip. It was the right decision for me to stay home and provide a sense of normalcy for the kids. Just miss him already. After almost 15 years of marriage, it is good to feel this way. :) Could be worse!

Please pray for Jim and Kevin- for safety and a smooth road in Russia. They are applying for our son's passport and then coming home. Sounds easy is amazing how long it can take. They are leaving today (Saturday) and return on Thursday afternoon.

I'll keep you posted as the details unfold!

Part 2 of this post:

Great news! I received a call earlier tonight from Jim. He called from the plane in Cincinnati- it was to take off shortly! Terrific! With all the bad weather, we weren't 100% sure that the flight would take off. Of course, I had prayed that it would but also trust God that if for some reason it wasn't the best timing or there were a safety issue, the boys would return home and reschedule the trip. If I have learned anything through this, it is to hold plans loosely and to trust The Lord that He is more than capable of handling the details.

One more precious side note: Last night, several of our children put money from their piggy bank into an envelop and gave it to Jim and I for the adoption. So precious to see their hearts. Sophia just added, "I know it isn't new money but maybe you can use it for all the airplane flights". (They have gone with us to get "new money" for our travels- that is a requirement in Russia). As I looked at the bundle of folded up bills, I was reminded of our family trip to the bank in early December. All 5 children went with us to the bank to turn in change that had been raised/donated for the adoption. When we got to the bank, the cashier gave us coin wrappers to roll the coins. So all 7 of us went over to a corner in the back of the bank, sat down on the floor, and rolled coins for quite a long time. Curious onlookers stopped us and asked what we were all doing. With a smile, we explained that this was money to bring the children's brother home from Russia. As I remember that day, my eyes well with tears and a smile comes across my lips. God is molding us and we will all be better off as He continues to leave His imprint on our hearts.

Can't wait to share these stories with our son when he gets older. A VERY much wanted part of our family....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Going Back Already?!

Yes, it is time to plan the next trip to Russia. We just returned last Friday but need to start making plans for the next adventure... next week. It is so wonderful to have the trips so close so that we can keep the adoption process moving forward. But it is taxing for us as we have transitioned home and now need to transition out again. Only one of us has to go this trip. Jim and I have talked and prayed about who should go. It is difficult for Jim to leave work again if he goes. It is difficult for me to go because I have to find someone to watch and school the 5 children at home. Wonderful, wonderful friends have offered to help in so many ways. Wow, I am amazed at what great friends we have been blessed with in our lives.

We finally decided tonight that Jim will go next week. A dear friend, Kevin, has offered to go with Jim. Years ago, Kevin lived in Russia for about a year and also adopted a little boy from there as well. What a gift to have those 2 brothers in Christ sharing this next step of our journey!

So the kids and I will pray at home and I can provide some sense of normalcy for them. Meanwhile, Jim and Kevin will brave the cold winter of Russia to apply for a passport for our son. With Kevin's love for Russia and mastery of the language, I am sure they will venture much farther than Jim and I did on previous trips :) Suzy, Kevin's wife, remarked that Kevin is quite comfortable using the subway system in Russia. That is something Jim and I never used while we were there. Who knows where those two will go? No doubt these will be memories for a lifetime.

Thank you so much for your continued prayers, encouragement and support.