We are the Snyder family and ... we are different

This is the story of our journey to our daughter in Ethiopia. God is preparing our family for her and preparing her heart to come home to her family. We chose the difficult road of trusting and obeying God. It is worth every step!

Monday, September 27, 2010

glimmer

Today was the first day that held a glimmer of hope in months. I was getting together some more of our paperwork and got several things accomplished. It all started with getting Dustin's third employment letter in the mail. The first one we got had his salary on it which does not match our financial statment because it doesn't show his commissions. The second had no amount of money on it which is why we had to get another. So the third came today with the correct information on it and hopefully will be approved by our agency. The unfortunate detail is that Dustin's headquarters are in Atlanta, GA so it was notarized there. Georgia happens to be one of those lovely states that you have to have it certified in the county before it can go to the Secretary of State and get authenticated. I just learned that tonight as I was trying to find the address to mail it to, bummer :( I also have to get my employment letter redone because mine does not have my income on it as well so I contacted the home party business I am self-employed through and they gave me a very quick and detailed letter that I emailed to AWAA and will hopefully pass. Now of course that headquarters is in Idaho so we will also need to send it to that Secretary of State to be authenticated. When you live in Iowa having to send things out of state is certainly not my fave. It just means more time that it will take to get done.

Have you seen the glimmer of hope yet? It's coming...I promise. I also picked up our post placement agreement and proof of life insurance today. Dustin and I will be getting our passport photos taken this week and then the only things we'll be waiting on are our homestudy and I-171H to get updated. That's it! We are so very close to being done with paperchasing. I am really really really hoping that we will FINALLY be able to send our dossier into AWAA in October. That will truely be a miracle. Did you see that? That was my glimmer of hope. I emailed our agency a ton of different documents to approve so I might actually get to go to Des Moines this week and get everything authenticated. That would be AWESOME! This is probably the most productivity I've seen in our paperchase for a couple of months and the first time I've let myself get a little excited about our adoption in a few weeks. Please pray that this glimmer will grow and that God will work His miracles to make the rest of the paperwork go quickly and smoothly. I am finally ready to hope again. I even let myself look at little girl things again. For the last few weeks I wouldn't let myself even think about it because I was so far lost on the hope of ever getting her. I am ready to give God His glory and let Him be the ruler and creator. God has our little girl wrapped in His arms and will give her to us just at the perfect time.

Ok so if at the end of the week you see another post that is the exact opposite of this one...don't be surprised. I seem to have a doomsday twin that likes to take hold of me and make me think that the world is crashing down around me. I'm trying to hold her off but she often times rears her ugly head. For now I will keep my glimmer :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

staying positive

I have heard that if you act with positivity that you will actually trick yourself into being positive. That is my goal with this post tonight. I feel like for the past couple of months all of my posts have been on the verge of sending people off to stab themselves in the neck just to rid themselves of the pain of reading my debbie downer posts. Do you see the positivity yet? jk. Anyway, I thought I would switch it up with something more upbeat.

This week we received 2 out of the 3 reference letters we need, we should get the other one next week sometime. Yay! Since Dustin got home from Atlanta we also got our AWAA agreements all signed and mailed off today. I also dropped off the post placement agreement for our social worker and she possess the speed of light (at least in adoption world) and actually had it signed, notarized and ready to pick up by 4:00 on the same day. Her poor father had a stroke a couple of weeks ago and is going to have surgery next week so we won't be able to meet to finish up our homestudy till at least the week after next, kind of a bummer. On the bright side that will give me more time to make sure the rest of our paperwork is done and correct. Please pray for her father and for their family, I know it has been very hard on them. Dustin's third employment letter is on it's way from Atlanta right now. We are praying that it will suffice so we can send it back to Georgia to visit the Secretary of State's office, be authenticated and mailed back to us. I am still struggling with my letter.

If any of you fellow adoptive bloggers have some knowledge on this I would be most appreciative. I am a home party consultant and we listed my income on our financial statement. Technically I am self-employed so would need a notarized letter from a CPA. I happen to have a friend who is a CPA and has already written a letter for me but it has to have the amount of money I made last year on it, which it does not. For her to enclose my income on the letter she would have to also attach a statment saying that her firm doesn't hold any legal responsiblity verifying the information disclosed, blah blah blah legal jargon blah blah blah. So my problem is what do I do about a letter? Do I just take that off the financial statement and write a letter of unemployment? My husband told me to contact the company, which I haven't done yet. So again any thoughts or anyone who has had to do this and has suggestions I would appreciate anything.

Our oldest son had his 11th birthday today, too too old. He's becoming such a young man :) The other day I asked him what he wanted for his birthday and he told me that he's been thinking about it for a couple weeks now and has really noticed all his blessings. He has already been given so much and doesn't really have anything he wants. My husband asked if he wanted to donate the money we would have spent on his birthday to something or someone else. My son researched a couple of sites and found a family adopting from Ghana that he wanted to give to as well as little goody 2 shoes. We bought him a t-shirt and a couple of necklaces, hopefully he will get them next week. He is very excited about them and about helping out other families adopting from Africa. We are so proud of him. Of course we still got him some stuff that he needed and liked and he got some other great presents from friends and family. He will also be going to the local arcade/game complex with a couple friends tomorrow to help celebrate. Overall I think he had a nice birthday that was low key but still good. We are so proud of him thinking about God and thinking about other people.

I have been thinking more about missions and praying about it. There has been no clear answer about it yet, so I continue to just wait and pray. God is working on something big, I just don't know what yet. Our family has signed up for crop walk this year. We are very excited about it and need to start getting sponsors. The money raised goes to feed people in our own community as well as around the world. I have been scared about asking people for money, it's just not a fun job, but I also know that there is no reason to be afraid when we are being the hands and feet of Jesus. You...me...we...can all make a difference!

Hope at least one thing in this post made you smile :)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

little signs

I asked God to send me some signs to let me know that we are headed the right direction. He sent me a couple little ones, or at least I'm hoping that's how they should be interrupted. We got our approval email yesterday that we have officially been accepted into the AWAA Ethiopia program (the day after I prayed, I mean really prayed). We have some papers to send back to them before we officially get started again. I haven't heard back about our homestudy so hopefully I will hear back from her soon so we can meet next week and she can get it re-written. We still need to get our passport pictures, proof of life insurance, employment letters re-done, 3 letters of reference and get all the agreements signed and notarized. I would like to say that most of that can get done next week. The only things we'll be waiting on are our homestudy, I-171H and agreements that need to come back from our agency. Please say a prayer that our dossier will be ready to send to AWAA in October. Pray really hard, pray confidently. I am finally ready to hope again.

My new friend Mel was doing a great fundraiser online for homemade glass pendants. I ordered two and got them just the other day. They are both awesome and I will be wearing one of them ALL the time. The other I got for a gift, not sure who yet but Christmas is coming up. If you want to check them out another blogger is doing a fundraiser with them on September 27th to help bring their little boy home from Ethiopia the website is http://www.etsy.com/shop/sarahstreasurebox I also got my t-shirt from www.intothestreetsofethiopia.blogspot.com/. I absolutely love it! You should def check it out and check out the $6 for 1 challenge they're doing, it's such a great cause.

God answers my prayers not with big billboards (although that would be great) but with tiny moments and "coincidences". Every sermon and bible study seems to be God telling me something that I need to work on in this process, something I've been struggling with. Someday soon I will be jumping up and down and so filled with God's joy that everyone will see.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

guarded

It has been a while since I last posted because I haven't felt like there is much to report. Well there still isn't. While others are well on their way to transferring over to the Ethiopia program, we still wait for our official approval. We haven't been able to meet with our homestudy agency yet and all the other paperwork that I can do right now is out of my hands. So for now I am unexcited about where we are in the process. Talking to a new friend of mine who is adopting from the Ukraine made me realize some of the reason for my lack of enthusiasm, eventhough it was not a subject we talked about but it was something that came to mind in the midst of our conversation. I have not let the wall around my heart come down to accept Ethiopia.

Dustin and I are still mending our wounds and guarded against the possibility of something else happening in our adoption. I realize that God has given us Ethiopia as part of his plan and that's why it took so long with some of our other paperwork. If we had gotten our paperwork done sooner than we would have made the cut off date for Rwanda. God is leading us this direction, but I refuse to let myself get my hopes up about it so I don't get hurt again. A fellow blogger who uses the same agency as we do and has now switched over to Ethiopia posted about how fast God is working now because she asked Him to. The bible tells us to ask confidently and God will answer our prayers. I tried to pray last night but knew it was futile because my prayers were not said confidently and with conviction. They started out with "I want" and they were followed up with a feeling of doubt. What if God does not answer my prayer? So far I haven't found any strong signs that Ethiopia is where we are supposed to be. Nothing has happened to make me say that this is the clear path we are supposed to be on. I know that Rwanda was just a clue to lead us to adoption and clearly that was not meant to be, but where is my sign that Ethiopia is definitely where we are supposed to be? Where are my unexplained miracles that guide us to Ethiopia?

An adoptive mother at church told me that she has a good feeling about Ethiopia. She had also told me numerous times before while we were in the Rwanda program about her family having to switch countries and how it turned out to be the best. Maybe God is using her to tell me Ethiopia is the place our little girl will come from. Maybe God is using her to encourage my heart so I can be joyful in hope, patient in affliction and faithful in prayer. Maybe I need to let go of this questioning and just let God do what He does best. Maybe God is telling me that I'm not ready yet and I need to continue to wait. Maybe...

Thursday, September 9, 2010

God does not fit in a box

Dustin heard a sermon on the radio yesterday about how the devil is constantly attacking us. It spurred a conversation between us about how so many Christians never talk about the devil or evil spirits, only the warm fuzzy Christian stuff. I personally think it's because many Christians believe in God, but don't necessarily believe in the devil. Anyway, Dustin brought up a very good point about how God has a big plan for each one of us and the devil likes to trip us up with the details. God's plan for us is to adopt. The details of what country, when it will happen, who it will be and so on are all vehicles that the devil uses to try and break our spirit away from God and question His authority or our faith in Him. I have been trying to overanalyze all these little things that happen with the adoption and figure out the reason and the meaning behind all of them. I am essentially trying to figure out the God of the universe who breathed life into me and put Him into a box. Our God does not fit into a box. When Dustin told me the devil is in the details a great weight was lifted from me. I believe God is who He says He is and I believe I am who God says I am, He told us to adopt. Period.

On another note; We formally sent an email to our family coordinator at AWAA saying we withdrawl from the Rwanda program. We also had to send another applicaton to be accepted into the Ethiopian program, wierd but whatever. In the meantime she sent us the Ethiopia dossier guidelines and hopefully much of the paperwork will transfer over. We (and be we I mean mostly me) will start getting together the new paperwork so that when she tells us we have been accepted into the new program that most of it is already done. My heart is feeling much more at ease about this whole process now. I am not so antsy to get it all done as fast as possible because I know there are ALWAYS delays.

Thank you to my husband for helping to calm my heart and thank you to him for working so hard for our family and continuing to put away money for this adoption. XOXO

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I-171H approval received :/

Before school we took a little trip up to Des Moines to get our fingerprints done. If you have followed our blog you'll know that I was sort of frustrated when we had gotten our appointment because it was over 4 weeks away after we had already waited 3 weeks just to get the piece of paper with our appointment on it. Anyway, I have been following many other people's adoption blogs and it seems that USCIS was taking their sweet time sending out the approvals. Most people seemed to be waiting around 2 or 3 months for it. Well we just got ours in the mail yesterday, how crazy is that!?! It was approved 1 week after our fingerprint appointment, wow! Now if this had happened a week ago I would be jumping up and down and so ecstatic that we received it so quickly, but because it came 4 days after the cut off date for Rwanda's adoption processes closing I don't know what kind of reaction to have. I know that there is a reason God didn't want us to make the deadline and that He has an awesome plan in store for us. The problem is I need a manual to lay it all out for me. Can God just send me a "for dummies" book that has the plan spelled out with who, what, where, when and how? I feel like I need a billboard sign from God right now cause I'm so confused.

Well in light of getting our I-171H we thought that we really need to make a decision as to what we're going to do. Are we going to wait for Rwanda, are we switching countries, are we switching agencies, so many questions. We've decided to stick with our agency and switch over to the Ethiopia program. I know there are quite a few other families that will be doing the same thing, but we think it should be around the same wait time as we originally thought Rwanda was going to be. The cost is a little more than Rwanda but it turns out pretty much every other country is. There are several things in our dossier that will need to be changed and we will have to get our I-171H changed to Ethiopia. Hopefully it won't be too much and I'm hoping that USCIS will be just as quick to process the change as they were our original application. God apparently has a bit of a sense of humor also because he sent our approval on the Saturday of a 3 day weekend. I can't get a hold of anyone or do anything with it until Tuesday, God knows I'm a high strung type A personality control freak! So far now I try to calm my heart and relax, which really means me running a lot to help burn off some of this excess craziness going on inside of me.

This is still a bit of an adjustment to switch countries. We had learned so much about Rwanda and become so connected to that country, I feel like we're cheating on it, lol. So now it's time to learn more about Ethiopia and raise awareness about the issues over there. I have been trying to find Ethiopian adoption blogs, stories and videos but my heart still has not caught up to my brain. Perhaps after I talk to our family coordinator and our social worker I will feel more connected and ready to focus on the adoption again. Is it Tuesday yet?