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, March 20, 2010

How Sweet to Take My Baby to Church

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

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

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

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

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

If we hadn't adopted him....

I am so glad that God is persistent.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Home as a Family

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

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

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

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

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

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Coming Home at Last

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday, March 4, 2010

New arrival Time

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

Can't wait!

Jim, Karen and Christian David

All 8 Snyders Appreciate Your Support!

We have been blessed by friends and family in so many ways throughout this journey. Though we are walking this path in love and service to God, we often feel like we are the ones being served. Many of you continue to ask what you can do or how you can help bring our boy home. The simple answer is prayer and support.
1. Prayer: Please pray that God will tenderly care for Christian now in Russia and soon at home as he bonds and adjust to life in our family. Pray for Caleb, Alecia, Sophia, Natalia and Isabella as they prepare for their new little brother. And pray that Christian will feel safe and loved by his family and sense the presence of The Lord in his life.
2. Support: We have experienced support of so many kinds and are thankful. Some have expressed an interest in supporting Christian’s homecoming financially, but aside from our family garage sale, we never really felt all that comfortable (pride) going there, and were clueless about how to get there anyway. We have recently discovered that there is a way for those who would like to offer financial support to do so in an anonymous and tax deductible manner. Lifesong ( has graciously established an account for us that will receive the support. Lifesong is a trusted organization administering the funds on Christian’s behalf, and the funds will be dispersed by them to directly cover adoption expenses.
Checks should be made payable to Lifesong. You can write “preference Christian Snyder Adoption” in the memo section of your check.
(*Note: In following IRS guidelines, your donation is to Lifesong which retains full discretion and control over its use.)
Mail checks to:
Lifesong for Orphans
Attn: Christian David Snyder Adoption
PO Box 40
Gridley, IL 61744

Going to the US Embassy

Jim got up about 5:30 am to deal with some flight concerns we have for tomorrow. There are still some oustanding issues with being on the same flight as Christian. (picky, picky), Jim needed to talk to a few people back in Indianapolis regarding this problem and that was the preferred time. We'd appreciate your continued prayers as it relates to our flights.

I believe Christian has realized that his eyes are bigger than his stomach. He still ate almost an entire omelette this morning, as well as a few more things. But nothing like yesterday!!

We tried to purchase a few souveniers this morning at a monastery that Jim and Kevin visited on the last trip. Moscow is so expensive and this monastery sold items Jim liked for 10% of the price in downtown Moscow. Our friend, Sasha, lent us his driver again for this excursion but the traffic was so bad that we had to turn around without reaching our destination. We were too concerned that we would be late for our appointment at the embassy. So, we aren't returning with too many souveniers ..but we have a great little boy so that is better than any old trinket! On another sweet note, our driver stopped and bought me flowers from someone on the street. Isn't that nice!

The US Embassy was a bit frightening- going through security with all the Russian police...just a bit intimidating. We were there for about an hour. The great part was being in the waiting room with about 20 other families who were adopting their children. It was fun to look around and see all the kids that are no longer orphans. They have families! Hallelujah! It was interesting to swap adoption stories and to see first hand the lives being changed.... beautiful. One particularly friendly couple was tthere for their 4th Russian adoption in about 8 years- all the kids were from different regions in Russia- wow! I can't imagine going through this process that many times. But they were so easy going, happy...quite the veterans. They spoke highly of the church support they experienced at home.

After that, we went outside and met with a secondary adoption agency that had rights in the region. That will be a story for off line discussion.

Christian then took a nap while I talked to the single mom in the process of adopting. Meanwhile, Jim hit more roadblocks trying to be souvenier/gifts- just too expensive here.

Now, Christian is helping us pack before his shower and bottle. We are packing up for the last time!!!!!!

We can't wait to come home, bond as a family, and just stay!!!!! We are due to fly in about 6:45 pm. We are so ready to see our children and introduce them to their little brother.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Settling In

Today was a much less structured day. The doctor arrived at our hotel room around 7:30 am. He checked Christian out and said that the only thing he could find wrong with him is rickets. Rickets are not a big surprise. He reassured us that with sunshine and vitamin D (through dietary sources such as milk) all signs of rickets will take care of themselves. He did a bit of scolding of me though. He stated that being in an orphanage is somewhat like being in the Marines. It makes you tough! (Great for my 2 year old…the Marines) He was concerned that when Christian cried while being examined, he kept looking at me. The doctor warned me not to be too soft on him or he wouldn’t remain tough. He also stated that he could tell from Christian’s behavior that he had been one of the favorites in the orphanage and had learned how to get what he wanted. (HMMMMMMMM..That is just what I had prayed for). I had prayed that he would be one of the caregiver’s favorites to that he could get his physical and emotional needs met in our absence. One of the caregiver’s gave us a flash drive with about 40 pictures she had taken of him while in her care. God definitely heard this mother’s prayers.

After the appointment, we went downstairs to the complimentary breakfast buffet and got this little guy some good food! He ate smoked salmon, an omelet with veggies, multi vitamin juice, fruit, a banana, pancakes and cornflakes. I kept looking at him to see if he was full. Wow! That little mouth kept opening for me- just like a baby bird.

After play time in the room and a nap, we headed out to explore Moscow. We wanted to take pictures with Christian in various locations like Red Square. You should see how bundled this little guy is- hilarious! The weather is really quite mild here (around 34 degrees) but we knew we were to be out for a while. He was so good... we just kept on going. Jim did great leading us around as we went sight seeing and souvenir shopping. I just loved seeing all that Christian was taking in. Oh I wish I knew what he was thinking!!!!!!!!

Finally, we came back to the hotel for a late dinner and ate with an English woman here on business. She and Jim are in the same industry and had quite a bit to talk about. One telling moment was when Christian toppled over in his booth seat and knocked his face against a wooden edge. It left a big red mark on his cheek that looked a bit painful. Bella definitely would have cried. Christian’s face puckered up as if to cry, then he rubbed on his own little cheek and pulled himself together without making a peep. It was so indicative of his past… Jim looked at him and reassured him, “Honey, it’s ok to cry.” Then I reached over and kissed the owie on his cheek. Boy, that doctor would have scolded me!

This evening we were able to Skype and see several of the children. Christian even waved to them on the screen. So precious! I am so proud of my children. They are truly rising to the occasion and managing so well. Good job, Snyder kids! It was also fun to talk to my mom and to talk to Jim’s parents. His folks hadn’t loaded Skype yet so Jim walked them through it. We let Christian stay up REALLY late so that they could see him. It was so worth it! What a thrill to share their new grandson with them… in action.

Well, that is the crux of our day here in Moscow. Great day of loving our little guy and getting to know him better and better. We are enjoying “unwrapping The Lord’s gift”.

Thanks again for all your prayers and support…don’t stop!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

New Adventures

Karen Blog 3.2.10

Oh, I miss my sweet children at home. I was able to talk with them last night and hear their happy voices. I know they are safe and in good care. For that I am so grateful. But it is hard to be away from them yet another time.

I am ready to be united as a family now. I can see Christian fitting in so well. He is such a great little boy. He is just like them- full of life and enthusiasm! He and Bella together are going to have such fun …and wear me out. I can’t wait to see all 6 of the children together.

Christian slept great last night. The only reason that we were up with him was because he woke us up as his “diaper exploded”. I was drifting off to sleep, and well… I heard a loud…rumbling..from the crib. All the new foods and anxiety of leaving his friends at the orphanage took a toll on his little system. J

Today, Christian and I are hanging in the hotel room, playing with toys and walking up and down the hall. I brushed his teeth again this morning- he was not real excited as this is a foreign concept. We have taught him to drink out of a sippy and also introduced him to water (he is used to juice and sweetened tea). He continues to eat everything and sat in the bed enjoying a banana and cheerios this morning. Oh no, he just found stray cheerios under the bed- gotta go!

Later: After Jim was successful in settling some issues with Christian’s visa (huge relief), we headed to Moscow. I couldn’t help feeling a mixture of emotions for my son as we left his region. As we got into the van to travel to Moscow, a wave of sorrow swept over me as I looked at my sweet, bewildered looking son peeking out from under all his snow gear. This place…this gray, smoky place. This is where he is from. This is where his life began and where we first met him. I felt waves of sadness for him as I am not sure he will ever be back. Despite my feelings of apprehension here and despite the fact that I see such sadness and emptiness here… I will forever have a fondness and a love for this place because it is part of my son, whom I love. There is not hope here for him…no future…no life …but it was the beginning of his life so it is dear to me.

So I held my little guy on my lap and gave him an extra big squeeze. Then I looked out the dirt covered, dingy windows as we drove, trying to capture as much as I could in my mind so that one day, I could share my memories with him.

Upon arriving in Moscow, we went exploring! Yippee! Thanks to the last trip with Kevin, Jim is much more comfortable navigating around the city. We ended up at Hard Rock CafĂ©. Can you imagine the look on Christian’s face? Not only was he out soaking up the sights and sounds of a big city , but then he saw the videos and heard the music at Hard Rock. J

Well, Snyder kids, your brother is resilient. He sat in a high chair and colored (OK, so he really tried to eat crayons) and shared fajitas with mom and dad. Kids- he is going to LOVE you guys! I think that is one thing he misses from the orphanage- other kids! When we saw his bedroom at the orphanage, we were a bit surprised by the set up. There were a few cribs in there, but then the rest were these little wooden beds. I thought of the 7 dwarfs when I saw the beds. J Anyway, he misses his buddies at the orphanage (that was his family). So he is going to be thrilled to get home and find a houseful of kids! He is going to LOVE you!!!!!!!!

Well, we I am heading back to the room. The doctor will be at our room at 7:45 am to examine Christian. Love to all and a big thank you for your love, prayers and support with EVERYTHING!

Children: Mommy and daddy love you and miss you like crazy! This is the LAST trip and then we will just be a family. I can’t wait! I pray for you all the time and can’t wait to give you a big hug!!!!!!

Monday, March 1, 2010


Karen’s Blog 3/1/10

Here we are! The day we have been waiting for! The day we are able to pick our son up at the orphanage and start his new life with us. Our son… our son…it still hits me at times and I get emotional and a bit dumbfounded. This journey, this wonderful, beautiful, difficult, faith-building journey, lead us to this precious child. I look at this beautiful little boy with big brown eyes and a mischievous, impish grin and think, “How lucky are we! What a gift!” I’d attempt a back flip, but I have no gymnastic ability whatsoever so I will just smile huge and thank The Lord.

I was trying to prepare myself that he might cry when he saw me at the orphanage. That wasn’t the reaction I wanted but one I needed to be prepared for. But no! His caregivers carried him out to me (he was wearing only a diaper and was wrapped in the big blue blanket we had given him on the first trip). So there is my little guy, swaddled in a blanket, stripped of all else, and handed to his momma. He went right into my arms without flinching. My momma heart was relieved that he didn’t start sobbing. J The moment he was in my arms, I just hugged and hugged and held on tight! This was it!!!!!!!! I held him on my lap and just sat there and kissed his little head. I put my cheek right next to his, closed my eyes, and thanked the Lord for this gift. Our son… (a few tears fell also but that’s just who I am J)

When I opened my eyes, I realized we had a small audience waiting for the moment in which I put on his new clothes- his new life. Very symbolic… The social worker, our coordinator, the translator and several caregivers all had gathered for Yarik’s special day. As I looked at them gathered around the room, they had beautiful smiles on their faces- they were so happy for our Yarik. So happy that he had a family. I’m sure it is always bitter sweet to see a child leave the orphanage but they know it represents hope for him. Then after he was dressed, the people at the orphanage said good bye to him and wished us well.

While we were preparing Yarik to leave the orphanage, another woman (a single mom) was meeting her son for the very first time. He is a precious little one year old (that looks just like her!) It was a privilege to see their first meeting as mother and son. She is affiliated with our agency back home and we knew she was traveling soon. Jim and I had hoped to travel with her as we knew she would be traveling alone. We are so glad that it worked out! After leaving the orphanage, we took her to lunch and have just served as a listening ear as she processes through all that is entailed. We answered questions for her to try to help prepare her and to clear up confusion/concern that can be all encompassing at this point.

Let me interject a side note: It is such a relief to be able to call our son by name and to use his name in our blog. For those who don’t know, his name is Christian David Snyder. J

Christian - means follower of Christ
David- means beloved

At the advice of others, we will call him Yarik Christian for awhile so that he realizes we are calling him by name. Then after awhile, we will drop “Yarik”.

Anyway, Yarik is doing fabulous!!!!!!!!! He just sat quietly in the van and looked out the windows. He looks like a total “Bob Gregory” guy, for those who remember the commercials from yesteryear. He has his tights (orphanage preference but the last time he will be wearing them J), undershirt, kackis (thank you mom), long sleeved shirt, snow pants (thank you Julie Egge), a heavy coat, hat, mittens, snow boots and a scarf. You can barely see the kid!!!!!!

I can’t believe how peaceful he is. It’s like he knows.. he understands… he feels safe. He is pretty solemn. Tatiana remarks that he is sad to leave the only family he knows, back at the orphanage. But he doesn’t cry. Not usre if that will last but I will enjoy it for now.

We went to the room because it was time for his nap. Nope! Busy, busy, busy!!!!! Too much to see and explore, mom. We gave him a little shortbread biscuit- whooeeeyy! He liked that. After he finished his biscuit, he just started carrying the box around. J

I accepted the fact that there was not way he was going to sleep, so we bundled him back up and took Linda (the adopting mom) to lunch. It was sooo fun to walk outside with Christian and watch his eyes take it all in. I am so happy to see my little boy getting some fresh air and some new sights! After we ordered, I walked Christian around inside the hotel because there was no way this busy 2 year old was going to sit quietly on my lap for long. Christian had already had lunch at the orphanage and a shortbread at the hotel so we just ordered him some bananas. Well, we quickly realized that he is going to have no trouble eating (we thought he might be so distraught with leaving the orphanage that he wouldn’t eat). He was downing the raisins (came with my tea) like they were m&m’s- he was grabbing them by the handful. (that may make for interesting diapers later). Then I introduced him to sliced bananas. At first, he wanted nothing to do with them. I insisted a bit and just got a taste in his mouth. He licked the sweetness off his lips, glanced up at me with a little grin and grabbed the fork. He then proceeded to use the fork to pierce and eat every last bite. When the banana was gone, he kept going…he scraped the fork around on the empty plate and licked the fork. Then he looked at me and patted the empty plate. Jim took pictures of the poor little guy pretending to continue to eat.

Guess I’m going to the grocery for bananas!!!!!!

We returned to the hotel room, Jim left for some errands at the orphanage, and it was my task to get Christian to sleep. It was now 2 hours past his routine nap and he didn’t look sleepy at all. But I knew he would soon fall apart if he didn’t rest. He just stood in the crib and cried (found out today that he sleeps in a toddler bed at the orphanage), so I laid down with him. I gave him his blue blanket and really forced him to lay next to me. Then I just rubbed his back, caressed his cheek, and sang “Jesus loves me.” Pretty soon, his thumb went to his mouth (I didn’t know he sucked his thumb) and he stopped squirming. By about the 4th chorus of “Jesus loves me”, Christian faded off to sleep.

HMMMMM… a full belly, a warm twin bed, momma rubbing his back and singing “Jesus loves me”….not a bad start. J

I’m so happy for my son.

I miss my big son and sweet daughters so much and can't wait to hug them. It is so hard being away from them, but we all know that this is it...we can now all be together. Thank you God.