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!

Friday, February 25, 2011

oh my boys

I was telling my friend about our boys and how much they LOVE my egg rolls.  She reminded me to write this down somewhere so that we wouldn't forget about it.  Dominic is the oldest and he has been so excited to sell egg rolls to all he has contact with.  He's done a pretty good job and probably sold at least 6 or 7 dozen.  He has also gathered up all of his money and wants to buy a dozen for himself, it's so cute.  Now I know that he wants to help contribute toward the adoption and toward this fundraiser, but I think he also just really wants some egg rolls of his own because he knows that I won't be making them for quite a while after this.  In fact, it's been at least 1 1/2 - 2 years since the last time I made them and that was just a regular batch of them.  Now Christian who is five also wants to save his money and buy egg rolls.  He could only find $6 so Dominic prorated them and told Christian how many he could buy with that (Dominic is our mathlete).  Somehow Christian has dug up some more money and was 50 cents short so Dominic had an extra 50 cents and gave it to him so he could buy his own dozen.  These boys are so darn sweet :)  I also have to brag on them not related to this.  When Dustin and I came home from bible study late, the boys were already in bed fast asleep without anyone else being home to tell them too.  They are such good boys.

Today I am finishing up re-decorating the office.  I painted one wall orange, put up some cork board squares and put together a new bookcase.  There is a little cubby in the office I originally was going to put some built in shelving, but then found a great deal on a tall 5 shelf bookcase that fits perfectly in the space for only $25.  It was also super easy to put together and looks great.  The shelves are arranged and now I just have to file ALL the paperwork and clean up.  Thinking there are a couple little finishing touches I need to do around the room, but the big stuff is done.  Whew!  Did I mention I re-decorated the office because I'm pretty sure I'm nesting?  I also repainted a vanity and put new knobs on it for our little girl's room and ironed new curtains and hung them.  We're not quite ready to move all the kids' rooms around but I'm getting antsy so needed some project to work on.  It was also nice because none of this is costing us any money since I had some money to spend at Menards anyway.  If I was being really productive I would go reorganize the shelving downstairs and make way for Dominic's closet, maybe later this weekend when I'm feeling restless.  For now I've got to get this office cleaned up and get to the rest of my checklist.  I will post pics of the office when I am completely done :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Eternal Family Program

Dear Friends and Family,

We are currently in the process of adopting a little girl from Ethiopia and we are excitedly working through the mounds of paperwork to bring our child home! As many of you know, the financial considerations are significant and will cost us around $10,000.
Our agency, America World Adoption, has a program called the "Eternal Family Program" which enables family and friends to contribute toward the cost of our adoption. Of course, we present this to you as an opportunity and not an obligation. If you feel led to partner with us financially, America World will accept contributions on our behalf and will provide a letter or email to you which will substantiate that the funds have been received by AW. Regarding tax deductibility, America World suggests that the amount claimed as a tax deduction, if any, should be discussed with a tax professional.

You can contribute either by check or credit card. Checks can be made payable to America World Adoption Association or just AWAA. Both the check and the included “Eternal Family Program” form should be sent directly to America World Adoption Association, Attn: Accounting Dept. 6723 Whittier Ave., Suite 202, McLean, VA 22101. Credit card contributions can be made online at https://www.awaa.org/forms/payment.aspx and the “Notes” section should be used to identify both the Eternal Family Program and our family.

Thank you for considering partnering with us financially. We understand that not all are led to give financially, but we do ask everyone to join us in prayer through this process. We cannot wait to bring our child home.

In Christ,
Dustin and Megan Snyder
Here is the form you can mail to AWAA if you would like to donate in this way:

AWAA • 6723 Whittier Avenue • Suite 202 • McLean • VA • 22101 • 800-429-3369 • Fax 703-356-8973 • Page 3 2/17/2011  
Name of Adopting Family you want to support:


Please record your name, address, phone number, and the amount of your contribution in the box below. Please include this form with your check. Checks should be made payable to America World Adoption Association (AWAA).

On behalf of the adoptive family, we thank you for your support!

Your name: __________________________________________________

Your email address: __________________________________________________

Your address: __________________________________________________

City, State, and Zip Code: __________________________________________________

Your phone number: __________________________________________________

Please indicate the amount of your contribution:

$20 $50 $100 $200

$500 $1,000 $__________ Other

Please check here if you would like your donation to remain anonymous.

Please check here if you do not wish to receive future information on how you can partner with us in the mission of serving the world’s orphans.

Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless, Psalm 82:3


Well we have officially entered the fundraising portion of this adoption.  It's a phase that I have mulled over through this entire process because I didn't know if this is what God wants us to do or not.  To be quite honest I have been praying that there would be someone who would like to fundraise for us and ask people to donate money so that I don't have to and this week He provided such a person.  That is not to say that WE won't still be asking and doing fundraisers on our own, but it did help give me a little confirmation that I need to eat some humble pie and let God work it out.  Our first fundraiser is inspired by a couple different people.  Our missional mama group just got finished with selling cookies for Valentine's Day to benefit project rescue and send money to help get women and children out of sex slavery.  This group of normal moms sold over 60 dozen cookies and raised more than $1000 in a matter of 2 weeks.  WOW!  I am continually amazed at how God blesses this group and the ministries it gives to.  Anyway, I thought that surely we could do something like that for our adoption.  I thought about doing cookies because who doesn't love cookies but thought since they just did that maybe we should try something different.  My oldest son loves my eggrolls and I don't make them very often.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that I haven't made them for at least a year or two.  Needless to say that he and everyone else that loves my eggrolls really anticipate when I make them.  So that is our first fundraiser.  Eggrolls for Ethiopia:  a minimum donation of $15/dozen.  Fresh, homemade, delicious eggrolls that benefit a good cause.  I just decided to do this Tuesday this week and already have 35 orders.  I would like a minimum of at least 50 dozen but 100 dozen would be even better.  I am also hoping that I can talk to some stores and see if they will donate some of the supplies we need to help out with the overhead costs.  Eggrolls take a considerable bit more time and money than sugar cookies do, but they are something a little different.  Our oldest son has really gotten behind this and has been asking people at school, tae kwon do, and at church.  It's so cool to see him getting excited about this and wanting to help bring his little sister home.  It makes me a little teary just thinking about it.  There are several other ladies who have offered to help, the biggest help I need is actually making them.  I am so appreciative of the ladies in our Thursday night bible study and the Missional Mama group for volunteering.

Today we just got an email from our agency telling us about a program that they have reinstated called the Eternal Family Program.  People can donate a tax deductible gift to you through our agency.  They even provide you with a sample letter and form to get started.  Again just a little confirmation that this is what we are supposed to be doing.  Now here is a question I am going to pose that I've really been struggling with in light of this new fundraising phase.  We have been giving generously through this entire process to other people who are adopting and some other ministries in general.  Now that we are having to ask for money ourselves should we still be giving like we have been?  I feel like God has really blessed us because of our blessing others, but at the same time I don't know if I feel right about asking for money when we are giving ours away.  I don't want to hoard the money, but I do feel like the only reason we are asking for it is because we really don't have it.  So any advice would be much appreciate cause I just don't get it.  I think I know the answer but haven't accepted it yet.

The end of February is starting to approach and we will have had our referral for one month as of the 27th.  I am very excited for the end of the month because I know that we will be getting our first monthly update about our little girl and new picture.  Our first care package will also be delivered the first week of March so I'm excited for her to get that and for us to get some more pictures of her.  I can't wait!  Just think of how much you anticipate getting those ultrasounds or getting those first pictures back from the photographer.  This anticipation is heightened even more because it is the only thing we have.  We don't have a growing belly or a baby to hold and look at, we only have 3 pictures of a little girl we have never held, never heard speak or never smelled the sweet scent of.  Yet we still love her.  If you do not believe in God, if you do not believe in a Father who loves you, if you do not believe you can have a relationship with someone you can't see or touch, than you don't believe in adoption and you don't believe that we could love this little girl already.  God's love for you is just as real as our love for our daughter.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

starting the travel phase

This week we got an email with some preliminary travel documents in it.  Of course, there are a few more papers that need to be signed and sent back to our agency.  There is also a lot of great information about travelling to Ethiopia and some of the things we should prepare for and expect.  Now that Dustin is home from being gone for almost 2 weeks we can look through it all and send back these papers.  It of course is extremely exciting to be close to this next step.  When I say exciting I also mean slightly stressful too.  There are just so many things to think about:  when are we going to switch the rooms around, how are we going to pay for travel, getting donations, packing donations, getting vaccinations, and the list goes on.  Granted we don't even have a court date yet but I know that this time will go quickly and I will feel like a chicken running around with its head cut off, aimless. 

Now for a couple of things that have already been taken care of.  We decided on a name for our little one.  During this processs we talked about if we were going to change her name or not and decided it would be determined by how old she is and what her name is.  Eventhough she is 4 1/2 years old we decided to go ahead and change her first name to something more American and then keep her Ethiopian name as her middle name.  I still like her Ethiopian name but I just know that people will continuously say her name wrong all her life and we already have that with one child whom I never thought the general public would consistently say his name wrong.  We had talked about it before and the name we picked out as our "girl name" when I was pregnant with the boys does not seem to fit her so we had to come up with something different.  Looking at her picture I thought she needs kind of cute sassy name, she looks cute and sassy :)  Dustin actually suggested a very cute name while we were waiting in the airport last week and after going over it again and again and saying all of our children's names together I decided that I really like it too.  Of course there are a couple ways to spell it but we tried to pick simple ways to spell our other children's names so I think we will continue with that trend.  Stay tuned because we are not sharing just yet...I know that is so mean!

Something else that we have been working on is having some clothes for her.  I bought a couple of things for care packages and some basics like socks and underwear.  There were a couple other cute little things I bought too, but the real blessing is that a friend of mine who lives just a couple blocks away has two girls.  These girls always look adorable and have a ton of clothes.  She was cleaning out their closets and asked if I wanted this big box of stuff.  There are jackets, coats, shoes, dresses, skirts, shirts, everything in this box.  WOW!  It was such a delight to hang up all the little clothes in Christian's closet (will be hers once they switch rooms).  I ran out of kid size hangers (because I gave a ton away last year when I didn't think we would need them anymore) so ran out today to get some more and a storage container for the things that will not hang.  The big box was driving me nuts in Christian's room so I had to get the stuff put away somewhere :)  This last week I have also tried my hand at making tutus.  They are so cute and seem to be everywhere so google helped me make some tutus.  They will be added to the closet o'girl stuff.  Once again it will be incredibly hilarious if she does not like anything like that at all and is a complete tomboy.

Hopefully soon we will have a couple fundraisers up to help us with these travel costs.  There have been a couple of different ones I've been in contact with so we will see what happens.  If you haven't noticed I did add a paypal button to our blog.  Paypal does take 2% of whatever you donate so you can always mail us a check.  Anyway, be on the lookout for some fundraisers to start up in March or so.  We would love for you to be a part of this adoption journey with us.  Thank you for your continued prayers and support.  We are so excited to be inches closer to meeting our daughter (slightly nervous about that too).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Care packages :)

Well now that we have gotten our referral I feel like I'm updating this blog all the time, that's probably a good thing because I wasn't doing a very good job of it the last couple of months.  So through our agency you can connect with other adopting families who are going to Ethiopia for court dates and embassy dates.  It's wonderful because not only does that mean you get to share in all of their excitement of being that much closer to bringing home their children and their experience there, but you also can find families to take care packages to your children.  There is a group leaving the last day of February and one of the families has been kind enough to take a photo consent form so they can email us back pictures of our little girl.  That is one of the best gifts EVER!  There is also a group travelling the middle of March and the third week of March.  I have found a family in each group to take care packages and photos to our daughter.  They are such a blessing to do this for us.  Of course I have been very eager to buy little girl things for W*** and headed to the mall and Target to search for some bargains.  I did find several things to send her in the packages as well as when she comes home.  Now it's a little harder to shop for a child when you have no idea what size she wears, but I figure they give us her height and weight so I should be able to guess off of that.  The real trick is finding shoes.  I bought a pair and hope that they fit her but only time will tell if they are the right size or not, it was a complete guess.  Each package has a pair of pants, one t-shirt, one long sleeve shirt, 2 pairs of socks, 2 pairs of underwear and a toy.  One package includes a pair of shoes, a toothbrush and toothpaste and a photo book of our family and our house.  The other package has a hard cover book and doll.  It's amazing how much you can fit into a gallon size ziploc bag.

As excited as I was to buy girl things I quickly realized that I have no idea what to do with a girl!  People who know me know that I am a girly girl who loves all things pink, sparkly and frilly.  Dresses for church are no problem.  The problem is dressing her for everyday play.  Unfortunately running around in taffeta and chiffon all day are not practical but I have no idea what else to buy.  Boys are so easy.  They don't change much from the time they are babies till they become old men.  Jeans, t-shirts, polos, sweatshirts and athletic gear are pretty much what you get with boys...easy.  Girls have so many variables, I thought that would be the fun part.  Looks like in the next few months of waiting I will have to explore that a little more and figure out what to do with her :)  Now toys are the opposite.  Boys have a huge range of toys while girls seem to have all the same stuff, there are variations but for the most part it's all the same.  Dolls, dress up or animals and it's all pink.  I love pink as much as the next person but I feel sorry for any girls who don't like it because there is little to chose from.

Real quick I need to say thank you to my friend Jen who is giving me a bunch of her girls' clothes.  Thank you to the Munn family for taking our photo release and the Druckenmiller and Anderson families for taking a care package as well.  We so greatly appreciate being able to connect to our little girl even if we can't be with her.

Ok enough rambling.  Here are some pics of the care packages that we will be sending off next week.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

help a family by buying 1200 thread count egytian cotton sheets

Some bloggy friends of ours are having a sheet fundraiser to raise money for their travel.  They are still 20 sets away from their goal.  Please help them out by going to their blog and purchasing a set.  Did I mention that is the best deal on premium sheets ever?  1200 count Egyptian cotton sheet sets that include a flat sheet, fitted sheet and pillowcases in full size, queen or king size for only $40.  Yes that's right, only $40!  Now if you have bought sheets anytime recently you know that you can't get 600 thread count sheets for $40 unless you find a mega sale.  Please buy a set to help them and to score a great deal on awesome sheets.  Spread the word, they need to sell 20 more sets by February 7th.

click here to buy sheets from the Allee family