Wednesday, July 31, 2013

A very long overdue blog!!!

 Our daughters have now been home almost six months and God has blessed our family in such a huge way with an awesome transition for our girls and strong attachment. A lot has happened since our first trip of meeting our babies in November. Brian and I got home and felt such grief from leaving our girls in Ethiopia. It was by far one of the hardest things we've had to go through. Our oldest Nora had such a hard time with us leaving and cried and cried and repeated she wanted to come home to America with us then. Talk about ripping your heart out! Well anyway, in January, Brian and I who were totally preventing pregnancy found out I was pregnant. This my friends was a shocker, I mean really a major shocker. I immediately went into panic mode because I wasn't suppose to conceive unless I was already taking big ole amounts of hormones to keep me from losing the baby. I immediately called my doctor and by evening the meds were being consumed. I had some scares of miscarriage in the month of January and my meds were doubled. We excitedly and nervously made the announcement that I was pregnant and decided to praise God for however long He chose to give us this sweet little life growing inside of me. February came and we got word that we had finally cleared embassy and we could go and get our little girls!!! This Momma and Daddy were on cloud nine! Below on the blog is our coming home video and some updates we had while in Ethiopia. All of our children are doing so well and we can't thank God enough for blessing our family so incredibly much this past year. It has been a very long and difficult pregnancy with many scares and a long time of bed rest as well. However, I'm now almost 35 weeks pregnant and our little boy Pax is kicking away as I type. The kids are all so excited to have a baby brother soon and that Mommy can get off of bed rest this Saturday!!! We can't even begin to say how grateful we are for the Body of Christ that God has placed on our lives. To think when we started the adoption process we were only going to adopt one child and domestically because my pride was too BIG to want to do any type of fundraising at all. Yep, we were all set, we were going to use our savings that we had saved to buy a bigger house to adopt all on our own. Although years ago we believed the Lord was calling us to adopt internationally I just knew that wasn't an option for our very middle class family and I certainly wasn't asking for any help. Well, as most know all it took was a picture of our girls on a blog, and we knew we were being called to be their parents. My pride of finances went out the window and we ended up with an adoption that cost about three times as much as a domestic adoption. What I've learned this year is to never ever limit what God can do based on what you think you can do!!! We are now living in a 1,700 square foot home with three bedrooms and six children with a seventh on the way. This so cracks me up!!! For real we were desperately seeking to find a bigger house when I was pregnant with our fourth that we lost, because we couldn't imagine having four kids in our small house and now we're about to add our seventh. Oh how good God is and how glad we are that we chose to quit looking at houses after we lost our little one and yet another baby after that one and pursue adoption. God's plan is always BEST!!! The Body of Christ and those that God chose to help make us a family gave, gave and gave!!! We are forever grateful!!! All of our needs have been met in such tremendous ways. While on bed rest we've needed help during the three days that Brian has to work at the office each week. Our children have had their adopted grandparents come three days a week for many, many weeks to care and love on them and me. I can't even begin to tell you what a HUGE blessing this is, especially since we didn't even ask.  They knew they were being called by God to take care of their grand kids they said. We've also been provided so many amazing meals, which is by no means an easy or cheap thing to provide for a family of eight and many have made meals for us multiple times. I've been met each week to be wheel chaired in to my doctors appointment by my sweet friend, while Brian has watched our kiddo's.  My toilets have been scrubbed by those that I never would have imagined coming to clean my home, and my underwear drawer is no longer a drawer that only I knew where to put my under clothing, (which is quite humbling especially when your old panties fit like thongs and your new ones still shock you that your butt has really grown that big)... We have been helped out in so many, many ways and our kids have done so well with all the changes and have been loved on by so many during these crazy months. Brian has been such an amazing Daddy and Husband. He has worked full time, cooked great meals, washed clothes like crazy, kept our house clean, kept up the garden and yard work, put kiddo's to bed each night, served me like crazy and so much more!!! What an incredibly blessed woman I am!!! Below is some pic updates and I'm sorry for being such a blog slacker. I've done well updating on FB, but know there are so many of you that keep up with our blog that I'm not FB friends with and see that so many have regularly checked our blog for updates. Please forgive me!!! Enjoy!!!
Our beautiful daughters!

Our handsome sons!

Wonderful meals given to our family!

The girls first Christmas presents!


Our family from Ethiopia right here in Nashville!!! 

ET family fun!

More family!!!

Yep, she loves her big brother!

Fun with family!

Snow grandchildren

My oh my what a good looking bunch!!!

So blessed!!!

They are all crazy!!!

Daddy's girls!!!

I love my Daddy!!! First thing Nora had translated to us at home was all kids deserve a Daddy!!!

Momma and her beauties!!!

Momma and her cuties!!!

Cousin love!!!
Some of the Wood grandchildren...

First time ever swimming!!!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Gotcha Day Video

This is the video we did of our Gotcha Day, coming home, meeting the boys etc.

We are home and doing well

This is Brian.  Sorry we have not been able to update until now.  We have been quite busy.  :)  We got home on Valentine's Day.  Here is a link to a news story that News Channel 5 did on our return.  Enjoy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Some FB Posts from Mel & Keith (Mel's Brother) While in Ethiopia

Mel asked me to update their blog while they are in Addis Ababa....From Mel today on FB

"Embassy took all of one minute, yay!!! The girls are excited that I'm having a baby. They kept staring at me when we went to pick them up, like woah what happened to Mommy. They were then told they would have a baby brother or sister and they were all smiles and giggles. We will be going to the orphanage that they were at before the transition home. We took tons and tons of donations and it's so a...wesome to see how grateful these little ones are and how excited they get over being given something. Brian went out on the streets handing out baggies of food and toy cars to all the kids. He totally got swarmed and it was awesome and so sad at the same time. The girls are doing great we are enjoying every minute of getting to know them. They are being so loved on by all the other families here and love hair shop. One other dad allowed them to put all kind of mess in his hair and they weren't finished until his gotee had bows as well. They love their uncle Keith Wood they call him Poppy, oh my word it's so sweet... Thank you so much everyone for your prayers."

From "Poppy" Uncle Keith posted on FB today
"Had fun playing with the girls this afternoon. Played a little soccer, Nora Yegele is already really good! Taught them hopscotch (yeah don't be hatin'). Tonight they saw one of the live "Flintstones" movies. They laughed like crazy. Afterwards they did pretend play for over an hour and had the whole house in stitches with their laughter and just cute natures. Can't wait for everyone to meet them! Oh and they tried ice cream for the first time - that was hilarious!"

Posted earlier today on FB by Uncle Keith
"What a great day! Had an awesome time with the girls. After embassy we went to lunch at a local restaurant owned by a sister of a friend Brian works with. They were great treated us to a wonderful traditional dinner and also are having special tradtional dresses made to give the girls before they leave. Everyone has been great. It has been a blessing to meet other adoptive families here as well. All the children are so precious."

Posted early on Monday AM / USA Time by Uncle "Poppy" Keith
"We are in Ethiopia and just finished the final paperwork at the Embassy! Everything is official! We have all the paperwork and will spend a couple of days say goodbyes and then fly back Wednesday evening. The girls are doing great and are very happy children! Praise the Lord for His wonderful blessings!"

Sunday, February 10, 2013

God Makes ALL Things Possible!!!

Joshua 1:9

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Mel asked me to post a quick update for them. 

Here's what Mel wrote on FB today along with the amazing photo above:

Happy Gotcha Day!!! Can someone from CBC let George and Diane know we made it just fine and tell our boys we miss and love them and the girls can't wait to meet their brothers... I've already slept with our girls bathed them, and played hair shop.. This feels like a dream. They absolutely love their Uncle Keith Wood!!!!

They arrived in Addis Ababa Saturday Evening. They had to be rerouted due to the Northern Blizzard.  They come back on Valentines Day! How perfect!  God's love is so much greater than we can even begin to imagine.  My heart is exploding with joy having watched the many battles during this past year (fought & won by the Lord) in bringing their precious girls home!  Mel will need to write a book about it all someday!! The greatest joy for me has been to witness their standing firm on their faith in the Rock of Christ even while being battered and blown by the winds of circumstances throughout this adoption.  WOW.  God is SO personal and real in our lives as His children!  THANK YOU for praying, loving, giving and serving our God through helping them bring the girls home.  God has been so glorified through it all!  I believe it's only the beginning.  That the Lord is weaving an amazing story of these 3 beautiful little girls with shining smiles!  He has such plans for them. And now, praise Christ, they get to have parents who love Him with all of their hearts!  They will hear God'sTruths!  They will have a warm, safe and loving place to come HOME to. 

God has not left them as orphans. 

This is His story of redemption in real time.  It causes one to pause, our hearts to be still before Him knowing He is the God of all. 

He moved mountains to bring these girls home!

Please continue to pray....Brian & Mel, may the Lord bless you beyond imagination!
( Love, julie)

"All Things Possible"
Song by Mark Schultz
I will call on Your name
For there’s always a way
When You lead me
And when life knocks me down
I am not counted out
For You’re with me
And You’re with me
Even when it feels like the light is fading
And I’ve lost my way
Still I’m holding on to the One who’s making
All things possible
Even when it feels like my heart is breaking
Hold on, there is strength
Knowing I belong to the One who’s making
All things possible
I know mountains can move
I’ve seen what You can do
In my weakness
So my heart will believe
If I wait I will see
My God doing, what only He can do
My God is strong and mighty
My God is faithful
My hope is in the Lord
For He is able

Monday, December 31, 2012

And we wait AGAIN!!!

Say what Embassy, you need another document??? Yep, we now wait again... (insert jeopardy music) OK forget that (insert "Another One Bites the Dust") no, not that one... (insert "There's a Tear in My Beer") OK not that one either.... how about ("Blue Christmas")...

     The embassy is wanting another document that according to our agency they've never requested before. There are no worries or concerns about obtaining this document. However, it will just take some time. We are not sure exactly how long this will take. We were told it could be a few weeks. Just so you know a few MORE weeks feels like FOREVER.
     We were also told by one of the owners of our agency that in all of her 20+ years we have had one of the most difficult adoption journey's she's ever witnessed. She by no means said that as a discouragement. She actually said it as an encouragement. Say what? How is that an encouragement??? Well, you see when you live for Jesus you should expect opposition, and especially when you're being obedient to what He's calling you to. Really, makes you excited about following God huh? Well, it should!!!
     As crazy as this sounds trials truly weren't meant to destroy you, but make you stronger. I'm always reminded of a sweet family at our church when I'm feeling woe is me and having my "where are you God moments". Here's a news clip so you can know some of their story:

You see we aren't promised as believers to have "Our Best Life Now"... Are you kidding me??? No, way! This life is temporary. Our best life is to come. I don't have all the whys behind what God allows, but I do trust Him. The beginning of our adoption was some of the most painful times for Brian and I. Very few know of all the HOO HA that happened, but not a thing happened that didn't pass through my Savior's sovereign hands first. He bottled every tear we shed and allowed every bit of it - to torture us, NO - For HIS glory. I like to think of all the trials in my life as my Job moments.  I like to think that God says there is a daughter and son of Mine in the land of  Tennessee and they are good. Not that we ourselves are good, but that He sees us through the blood of Christ and He call us righteous. Well, and then of course as you know the book of Job Satan says let me at em' and we like to think God says OK, but you will NEVER overtake them. I mean truly flea from the person that teaches the "come to Jesus and your life will be full of health, wealth, prosperity and you will no longer go through such heart ache and tragedy". The bible is full of believers that suffered, yes, that's right they suffered. Again, makes you excited about being a Christ follower huh? Well, you see this world is NOT my home nor is it the home of those that have put their faith and trust in the finished work of Christ on the cross. One day God will wipe every tear from my eye and my sorrow shall be no more. -Rev 21:4
     Here's what I know about the trials in my life, they have made me love God more. Mainly because they bring out the worst in me and make me so grateful for His amazing grace. His grace is a gift that I don't deserve, but He still gives it to me and He's not taking it back. When I held my almost 12 week old baby in my hands I was reminded of the scripture in Romans 8:28 that said, And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Well, let me say I think I hated that verse at the moment. Gasp- yes I typed that... However, God still loved me and was so patient with me. He loved me through my anger and never let me go. You see He never does let you go once you are His. There were several scriptures that He kept bringing to my mind. Another one was Psalms 34:18 The LORD is near the brokenhearted; He saves those crushed in spirit. Lord Jehovah is near to the broken hearted and he saves the meek in spirit. You see I still don't know all the whys behind everything, He allows in a believers life, but I do know that I was created to bring Him glory and that's what I want to do. Losing six children at one time for the Willis family is a trial that most of us will never endure, but here's what I know - that sweet family has brought our Father much glory. They get that this is not their home, I get that this is not my home and although when trials come, my flesh creeps in, and causes me to be weak and stumble - He that is in me is stronger. It never failed that the times He's called me to speak/teach were always on the worst day. Like seriously, I'm the speaker at a women's retreat and just finished 1 of 3 sessions and find out my sweet bulldog Jack had died. The night I was to share God's story in my life at the Hope Center here in Nashville we were told we would not be able to adopt our girls. The next time I speak at the Hope Center we had a time crunch of papers and yet again our adoption was pending, my middle son was diagnosed with PFAPA, we got medical bills in the mail for thousands, still owed thousands on the adoption, my youngest son was being watched to see if he too had PFAPA, which we now know he does as well. There were many more things I could type that was going on at those times too, but you get the drift. Hee hee makes you excited about serving God doesn't it??? Well, the truth is I don't always like what God allows in my life. I'm not sure you heard that so let me say it again in a way that you'll really get it, " I think the things God has allowed in my life... umm... well SUCK"!!! However, I wouldn't change a thing because I trust HIM. I really do!!! Please remind me of this before I'm called to speak/teach again... lol. Yes, Lord I trust you and yes, Lord I need you, and yes Lord I'm grateful for Your Word and grateful for Your love towards me even when I curse You to Your face. You, Lord are my refuge, my deliverer and my life is not my own, it's Yours!!! 
     So now that you know some more of "MY CRAZY" let me share with you one of my absolute favorite songs that brings me so much healing. This one is so much better than the depressing one's above...
I will trust you Lord and your timing and thank you for your Grace when I rebel so much against what you've allowed in my life. Lord I'm grateful that you have blessed me with nine children, three that are with you and six here to raise to know your truths!!!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Hello Embassy!!!

Our girls now have passports and birth certificates!!! We have been submitted to embassy! Now we wait for the e-mail with our travel dates to bring our daughters home. We so hope it's before Christmas. YAHOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Online Auction!!!

Click below to check at our online auction! 100% of everything donated goes directly to our adoption fund to bring our girls home.

The below post has the video of us meeting our girls for the first time, please check it out...

Thank you for visiting...

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our video of meeting our girls for the first time!!!

Thank you Father for adopting us as your children and allowing us to adopt our daughters. Thank you to everyone who gave and supported us to help us become a family of 8!!! Our hearts are overflowing with great joy, thank you so very much!!!

Monday, November 12, 2012


Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Phil 4:4

Here’s the note from Mel’s facebook just now  

Guess who passed court today!!!! It's 5:25 pm here in Ethiopia and Brian and Melissa Snow are now the legal parents of Nora Yegile, Diana Zinash and Kristina Tsegereda!!! We love them so much and it's so going to kill us to leave them. It's looking like we may have them before Christmas. We love Ethiopia and the people. Our girls have been so very well taken care of and loved by the Sisters here. They are looking so forward to coming to America and meeting their brothers! We have tons of pics and video and can't wait to share them... Thank you so much for praying for our family!!!

Last year when Mel began the adoption journey, she was going to have her little girl's middle name be Rejoyce.  I think the Lord in His amazing perfect love was going to bring lots of joy and "rejoycing" -- not just once but three times!  We are praising God today for His great love and mercy in bringing these girls into a Christ-loving family.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God!  (Posted by Julie......)

Saturday, November 10, 2012


Mel and Brian just called Diane who is caring for Parker, Paul and Pierce and wanted me to pass that they made it to Ethiopia and have met their daughters!!!  The girls actually ran to them hugging and kissing and calling them mommy and daddy. Mel and Brian are weeping with joy and thanksgiving to our Lord and Savior for his goodness and favor in choosing them as parents of these beautiful girls. The girls are learning to speak English and are excited to see their brothers. Mel and Brian showed them their bed room and where they will be living and they expressed overwhelming gratitude as they hugged and played with Mel and Brian's hair. Mel and Brian are bursting with praise to a merciful, great and sovereign Father.   Please send prayers of rejoicing and joy to God our Father for His incredible love and mercy!!  Please keep on praying for the requests from the last post.  God is answering prayers in so many amazing ways!  Stay tuned....More updates soon on this incredible journey!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

A First Visit - Prayer Needed!

I have witnessed second-hand the mountains of paperwork, hoops to jump through, many challenges, blessings, miracles and incredible deep love only God can give....and now after 210 days Brian and Mel will travel 7692.3 miles to meet their 3 beautiful daughters for the very first time! So very amazing!  Mel asked for me to forward any updates on her blog for her since they may not have access.  Also, they would cherish your prayers for this first trip.  It has been one of the toughest weeks I know for Mel as she was very sick last week and then Paul was in the ER and Pierce also was sick this week.  It was an incredible miracle along with the help of some amazing friends in Christ this week that they were even able to travel today.  This photo was taken on the way to the Nashville airport about 5:30am (yes, I too am in awe of how beautiful Mel looks at this time following a week of severe illness...haha - she's gonna kill me and never let me on her blog again!)  They will stay overnight in DC and leave around 10am to fly 13 hours to Addis Ababa.  (I cannot wait to hear of that part of the journey as Brian and Mel have never been out of the country!)  They arrive on Saturday morning about 10am Addis' time (which is 9 hours ahead of Nashville/CST).  And they will get to meet the girls right after they arrive!  They are staying in a guest home next to the transition home the girls have been in for the past 5 months. 

Here are some very important prayers - please pray daily for the next 7 days for these.  We know the Lord has this trip all ordained even from the very beginning.  Thank you so much for praying!!

**Please pray for safe, easy travel both directions on the airplane and while in Ethiopia.
**Please pray for Mel especially for total healing, extra strength and protection for both Brian and Mel that they will not get sick while there.  Pray for even rest and an amazing wonderful trip.
**Please pray for them to have God's words and wisdom in meeting the girls for the first time and for an incredible blessing in meeting the girls - that the girls would have peace and joy and an understanding of it all.
**Praise God of how much He has shown He cares and loves them all. 
**Pray for the boys that they would have a fun, easy week and pray for George & Diane that they would have wisdom in caring for the boys and it would be a blessing.  Pray for them all for God's peace in knowing He is caring for them firsthand. 
**Pray for healing for Paul & Pierce.

I know Brian and Mel are so excited to share more when they return!  God is so good!! --
Prov. 3:5-6

In God's Love,

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Say what our flights are covered???

***ADOPTION UPDATE*** Brian and I honestly have been flipping out a bit with expenses, but God has truly provided. A friend of a friend, who we've never even met heard about our adoption and wanted to donate the entire cost of mine and Brian's first flights over to Ethiopia, which would have cost us around $4,000. Not only did he want to donate the flights for us, but wanted us to travel first class- we didn't do the first class, but can you believe this??? While talking with others about adoption and the cost of it etc. we were told by many adoptive families that when the Lord is calling you to adopt, He will provide the money and we certainly first hand know this to be true. Most middle class families like us adopting multiple children at one time don't have 55,000+ in savings to adopt, however still know that God has called them to adopt and have to trust Him each step of the way. I'm not going to pretend-that's hard, but God truly does each ...
and every time a large amount of money that we no longer have in our account is due gives us exactly and I mean exactly what is needed. This process has taught Brian and I so much. We were first adopting domestic with the mind set of "we got this", we almost have exactly what is needed saved, we're not fundraising; to we don't even have half of what is needed, fundraising is now required and we're totally dependent on God to provide, and... He has. He keeps humbling this prideful couple and we're so grateful. We still have moola to raise for our second trip when we will be bringing our girls home, but will rest in in Him and His provision and continue to praise Him for His blessings. Thank you all so much for your prayers and support. -Philippians 4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
Right after posting this above on FB, I had to add an additional comment:
-Ha I"m dying.. Just got an e-mail that He wants us to call back and get the upgrades, so looks like we'll be flying first class for our very first time... Ok, I don't think I have any more tears left...
Then after posting the above I got sent these pics:


Memaw, Pappaw. Aunt Karen and Uncle Preston!!!

Oh yes, I've been crying a flood of tears all moring and then I get sent this one:

One of our Girl's adopted big Sissy's Gio!!!

We get to meet our girls!!!

   The long, long oh so long awaited call to tell us we have a court date in Ethiopia came on Wednesday, October 24th, at 5:58pm!!! This was the best call of our lives! We will finally be able to meet, touch, and hear our precious girls for the first time. I can only sum up that this call was the equivalent of hearing that you're pregnant. It's like the last months have been our trying to get pregnant stage and then BAM the positive results.
 We are so excited, nervous and all of the above. Our court date in Ethiopia is November 12th, and on that day if all goes well and all papers are in proper order Nora Yegile Snow, Diana Zinash Snow and Kristina Tsegereda Snow will be declared legally ours according to Ethiopian law. We will then be able to post pictures of our girls and you can see who you've been praying for. Be prepared that they are they most beautiful girls ever!!! No, seriously they are.
  We also found out the other week history of our girls, and we'll since it's their history we won't be posting it on the blog. However, we can tell you that the Lord gave us such great peace after reading about how our girls became orphans and praise the Lord that He brought them to us. As adoptive parents adopting from another country you always hope that it wasn't just because their birth family just couldn't provide for them and we now know the "why" and truly feel so overwhelming blessed to be able to be their parents and give them a Momma and a Daddy for the first time in their precious lives.
   Please pray for our girls! They will be going through so many, many different changes and will have a time of mourning. Everything that they've ever known will change: the language they hear all the time, the food, their care givers, friends, and well... just absolutely everything. Although we know that we're going to love, provide and take care of them, they have no reason to trust us. We are complete strangers to them. We look different, smell different, talk different and will be introducing them to a whole new way of life. Pray for this transition for them, our boys and us. We pray that a bonding and trust will happen quickly, but realize it may take quite awhile and know that God will give us exactly what we need each day.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Parents With Special Needs, Adopting Special Needs Children

Consider yourself sucked in.  I hope I have grabbed your attention with the headline.  No, it is not an actual headline, but perhaps it should be.  As Melissa and I continue to wait for the call from Ethiopia to visit and meet our three new daughters for the first time, I have been considering and wrestling with adoption in how it relates to the Gospel. 
In adoption lingo, saying that a potential adoptive child has “special needs” can have a wide variety of different meanings and insinuations.  It can range from an African American infant in a certain part of the U.S. being “hard to place”, to a child with fetal alcohol syndrome on the other side of the world.  It could be a little boy with down-syndrome, or a three sibling set from Ethiopia who might be split up if a family doesn’t emerge to adopt all three.  The truth is that all adopted children have their own gamut of “special needs.”  The simple fact that they are without a family is a huge “special need”.
A couple of weeks ago a friend (whose family has also adopted) mentioned to me that adoption is “not as much about the children, as it is about the Gospel.”  This caught me off guard and caused me to think about what adoption is and what it isn’t.  When an adoption takes place, the children do not initiate the process.  Very rarely, if ever, does the adopted child have any say in who chooses them.  Similarly, when spiritual adoption takes place, the recipient has very little to do with the transaction.  They are not even able take the spiritual initiative.  How could we?  The Word is very clear about our own “special needs” before we were claimed.  We had a certificate of debt against us (Col 2:14), we were dead in our sins (Eph 2:1), we were children of wrath (Col 2:3), separated and cut off from God (Col 1:21), and completely blinded from the things of God (Romans 1:21-23).  In that state we had no means of initiating a relationship with God.  Moreover, we were hostile towards God (James 4:1-4), slaves to our sin (John 8:34), and lovers of darkness (John 3:19-20).  Genesis 8:21 says we were evil from our youth, which I believe means from our very first breath.
However, there is good news.  God saw our “special needs” and He initiated our adoption.  He saw us unable on our own to leave the confines of where we were.  He saw us as humanly unlovable, and yet He loved us completely.  He rescued us and gave us new life.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.  Ephesians 2:4-10
He brought us into His household (Eph 2:19), and now we have a share in the inheritance of that household (Col 1:12-14).  Understanding the immensity of our spiritual adoption is the only way we can have a proper motivation for adopting others.  We love because we were loved.  We forgive because we are forgiven.  We adopt and support adoption because we were adopted. 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us inthe Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight making known to us the mystery of his will, according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth. Ephesians 1:3-10
I will admit, when we first began down the road of adoption my thinking was skewed.  It is very easy these days to romanticize adoption; to think about future family photos, Christmases, and adorable, very grateful adopted children who are so thankful for what their super-parents did for them.  I am guilty of that kind of thinking.  However, I now realize those sentimentalized ideas, while not inherently wrong, will not sustain us in the near future.  Sure, we are going to have great and fun times ahead with our six children, but it is also beginning to sink in that things are getting ready to get very tough.  What can we count on to get us through?  It can only be the Gospel.
I found the following on an adoption blog.  It is an excerpt from a book by Dr. Russell Moore entitled “Adopted for Life”.  I have not read it, but I certainly plan to soon.
“Imagine for a moment that you’re adopting a child. As you meet with the social worker in the last stage of the process, you’re told that this 12-year-old has been in and out of psychotherapy since he was three. He persists in burning things, and attempting repeatedly to skin animals alive. He “acts out sexually,” the social worker says, although she doesn’t really fill you in on what that means. She continues with a little family history. This boy’s father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all had histories of violence, ranging from spousal abuse to serial murder. Each of them ended their own lives. Think for a minute. Would you want this child? If you did adopt him, wouldn’t you watch nervously as he played with your other children? Would you watch him nervously as he looks at the knife on the kitchen table? Would you leave the room as he watched a movie on TV with your daughter, with the lights out?”
Then Dr. Moore writes:
“Well he’s you. And he’s me. That’s what the Gospel is telling us.”

The distance between where we were, and where God is, was much greater than an ocean or a disease.  It was sin.  The distance between us and God that sin caused cannot be traveled by plane or by boat.  And the debt that sin costs cannot be paid with $20,000-$80,000.
 Let me finish with a cost comparison……adoption is costly.  Earthly adoption can be very, very expensive.  But compared to the cost of my own spiritual adoption, $20,000-$80,000 is…nothing.  My adoption cost the Father His very Son; His firstborn.  If you have children, try to imagine for a moment paying for an earthly adoption with your oldest child.  It is inconceivable to me to do that.  Yet that is what God did for me.  The following is from the same blog I mentioned earlier…..I can’t write it any better.
It’s important to realize, then, that we adopt not because we are rescuers.  No, we adopt because we are the rescued.  And in this way, the Gospel uniquely portrays, compels, and ultimately sustains adoption.”
Friends and family, when things get hard for The Snow Bunch, please remind me over and over about the Gospel.  It alone is what will hold our family together through the tough times ahead.

Brian Snow

Sunday, August 26, 2012

A portion of an article I wrote for the Spiritual Herald

     I was asked about a month or so ago to write an article for the Spiritual Herald (Nashville Christian Newspaper) about our adoption journey. Below is just a portion of the article. I'm no writer, but I did want to be obedient to God and share our story, or rather "His story".

         Now that all of you know a little more about God’s story in our lives, let me tell you how exciting it is that He called us to adopt.  When we began the process we knew we wanted a little girl.  Having three boys, this momma was excited to think about a daughter.  We initially sought a domestic adoption of an infant girl.  As we prayed and continued the process, God laid on our hearts to possibly adopt an older child or maybe even two – still domestic because the cost for international adoption was more than we thought we could afford.  We prayed and asked the Lord to direct our steps and decided to be open to special needs.  
Ok, so here’s what God does.  Psalms 37:4 says: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”  Well, yes He does.  However, if you’re His and those desires don’t match up with what He wants for you, then guess what?  Those desires change.  And that is exactly what He did with my husband and me.  He continually changed the desires of two of His children to match those He ordained for us before time began.  He patiently loved us and directed us to what He wanted in our lives and took “our” desires and gave us new ones. The new desires of our hearts became “Lord, make our desires match what you want for us.”  So enough trying to decide what we wanted – we just said: “God, give us the child/children you want for us.”
A wonderful friend suggested that I become Facebook friends with the wife of one of her former school mates because she knew her to be a strong believer and advocate for orphans.  My friend thought she would be a great source of information on the adoption process. So, I did the awkward thing of requesting a complete stranger to be my “friend” on Facebook.  I noticed that this new Facebook friend did indeed advocate for orphans and had a website dedicated to helping people who were in the adoption process as well as sharing postings of waiting children in Ethiopia.
       I was packing for a trip to speak at a women’s retreat on the Outer Banks of North Carolina and stopped to look at this new found friend’s website.  At this time she didn’t know what great friends we were, but I did. That may sound sort of ‘stalker like’ huh?  Ok, moving back to ‘stalker talk’, I loved following her blogs and felt as if I’d known her for years.  I can’t stand packing, so of course I took a breather and looked at her latest post and there they were, the three most beautiful little girls I had ever set my eyes on.  I immediately called for my husband to come and look at these sisters in an orphanage in Ethiopia.  He looked, I looked some more and we decided to pray that God would quickly give the girls a family. The girls were listed as special needs but not in the way you and I might think.  Since there are three of them and our placing agency was trying to keep them together, their situation was a special need indeed.   But then, isn’t every orphan?
The next morning I was off to speak at the retreat.  I spoke to several ladies about these three beautiful sisters and asked them to please join me in prayer that God would quickly send parents to those three precious children.  The orphanage would only keep them together for a short time before splitting them up making them more “adoptable”.  I talked to my husband and we prayed together over the phone. They were constantly on my heart. Brian and I agreed that when I got home the following Monday we would call to learn more about them.
As soon as the sun came up on Monday morning I called about the girls. The sheer information about the process and amount of money that would be needed within a week to ‘secure’ the girls was way out of our league.  Brian and I took time to pray and truly knew, as crazy as it sounds, we were being led to let others know about our desire to adopt these three girls from Ethiopia.  Did you just notice that I wrote our desire?  Yes, that would be how good our God is.  He did that – He gave not just me, not just Brian, but both of us the same exact desire, and would later prove to us that it was a desire that was definitely His will for us. Sometimes those desires are so big that it seems impossible.  But isn’t that where He wants us?  At a place of knowing that without Him it is impossible but with Him anything is possible?  I felt like Gideon – say what, God?  You want me to lead 300 men to battle against several hundred thousand?  
Well, He wasn’t calling us to battle against soldiers but He was definitely calling us to a battle – a battle to defend and care for three beautiful sisters, a battle to raise a significant amount of money in one week, and a battle against Satan who hates it when Christians go about God’s business particularly a call to embrace the fatherless and helpless with sacrificial love.  
As it was with Gideon when God reduced his army to three hundred men so He could make it clear He would win the battle, God began to lift us over the obstacles separating the Snow’s from the little sisters in Ethiopia.  Yes, our obstacles were different – a huge amount ($23,000) of funding for an average middle class family to raise in one week’s time, the countless administrative roadblocks, the startling news that catches you off guard, the ‘no’s’ that we thought would be ‘yes’s’, and the spiritual battle being waged for the very souls of our sisters.  He was calling us into battle – one that He alone could win.  These battles that raged against us in our pursuit to be obedient to Christ were all for His glory.  The battles came and He conquered so that there could be no mistake – He was the Commander and the victories were His.  What a blessing to Brian and me to be entrusted and given three beautiful daughters by God.  If I were to list all the many, and I do mean many, fires that threatened to destroy the pursuit of our girls, it would fill this entire Spiritual Herald.   However, so would all the ways that God has drawn us closer to Him through this process.  In Psalms 119:71 the Psalmist says: “It is good for me that I was afflicted, that I might learn your statutes.”  When going through a trial, or I prefer to say ‘testing’, our flesh will cry out.  But know that God can handle all our “it’s not fairs,” while our spirit is being renewed and polished to better reflect Christ, the One who suffered the most.
This is what I want to really penetrate your hearts – adoption isn’t easy, adoption isn’t cheap, and it can be one of the most difficult processes known to humankind.  The journey can be long, tiresome, stressful, and heart aching.  You’ll grey early, you may lose or gain weight (Ok, let’s be real, you’ll probably gain), your kids may wonder if their real parents have been abducted, your faith will be tested, your house won’t get cleaned for days (Ok weeks), your eyes will shed more tears than you ever thought possible, you’ll face doubts, Satan’s army will be on your heels, and many sleepless nights should be expected.  However, things that are easy don’t always cause us to be humbled by a merciful God.  No, adoption isn’t cheap, but when God calls you to something you must trust that He will provide.  Remember that $23,000 that I said we had to have in one week’s time or we wouldn’t have the girls ‘secured’?  Well, God not only gave us the $23,000 but added $2,000 more the day before it was needed.
We still have funds to raise to complete the adoption, but oh how we trust Him to provide.  The process can be difficult, but He’ll guide you each step of the way and give you brothers and sisters to help carry the burdens and rejoice with you in the victories.  The adoption process can be long, but He’ll teach you to love more like He loves and therefore patience will be a fruit that will be more evident in your walk.  You may go grey, but Clairol is cheap.  You may gain some weight, but then you’ll realize and be grateful for His provisions.  If you already have children while trying to adopt, they’ll see parents who are real. You will be given opportunities to share with them God’s relentless grace and be given many opportunities to pray – I mean prayers that bring you to a much deeper communion with a Holy God.  And yes, perhaps their real parents did get abducted and replaced by ones that love God more than they did before.  Not because He showered them with wealth but because he showed them their need for His lavish grace and mercy.  
Ok, and about the house, who are we kidding?  Was it really spotless each day before the adoption process?  It will eventually get cleaned, and in the meantime you may realize all the things that are scattered about prove that you are blessed.  The tears that are shed are worth every box of Kleenex you went through.  Those tears will strengthen you and help you realize how you’ve grown in your trust and dependence on a Sovereign God and give you more compassion for others.  
Now, about the doubt, that’s weak flesh creeping in.  However, you’ll be in God’s Word more than you were before.  His Word is His very breath meant for us to inhale. The more we inhale it and hear Him speak through it, the more we desire to give Him glory, and that is truly why we were created, “for His glory!”  Yes, believe that when you are called by God to walk in obedience the enemy doesn’t like it.  He’s out to keep the orphans just that, orphans.  Oh, and he especially doesn’t want children raised in a Christ-following home.  God sent Christ so we orphans could be adopted into His kingdom.  Didn’t Christ suffer the greatest to accomplish the will of His Father?  Being about the Father’s business and caring for orphans enables us to become the hands and feet of Christ.  And yes, you should expect that Satan will try all of his schemes to keep you from obeying God’s call to adopt.  Be ready for this battle and be ready to allow God to win it.  Trust that when you are weak, He is strong!
If you’re still with me this far, well then: “bless your heart.”  Know that I have prayed for you.  I prayed that the Lord would encourage you not to just see the needs orphans have but that you would seek ways to meet those needs and to care for these helpless souls.  You may be called to be a forever family, to sponsorship, to support an adoptive family, to donate to an agency, to foster care, or take a mission trip.  There are countless ways to support orphans.  I am praying that He would give you the courage of Gideon to be obedient in whatever way He is directing.  Make no mistake, He is calling His people.  If you are His, then He is calling you to care for orphans.
To share what God has been doing in the lives of the Snow Bunch overwhelms this grateful heart.  We are now on the ‘patiently waiting leg’ of our adoption journey, learning to trust in His timing and not ours.  Each week we get updates on our beautiful girls and with every picture our love grows.  We hope to have our daughter’s home for Christmas but if not yet again we’ll trust in His plan not ours.  We would love for you to keep up with what God is doing in the life of our family.  Here is our blog address:  
Truly, from a very grateful heart, thank you to all who have prayed and supported us during our adoption journey.  

His servant seen righteous by the blood of Christ,

Melissa Snow

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ethiopian food... a first for the Snow bunch!!!

I can't even describe to you how cool it was to go to our first Ethiopian restaurant. Yet again, I cried. It was so neat to see so many cool things from Ethiopia and experience such amazing culture here in Nashville. The first dish was torn up pieces of injera "which is a bread that they typically eat with every meal that is used like a spoon" with diced jalapeƱo’s and tomatoes soaked with some type of dressing. Well, this dish did not set the mood off well for the kiddo's. Pierce screamed, snot poured and tears fell. Of course he's our impatient eater and since I was totally  trying to keep him calm I gave him a big ole' bite. Oh the horror! Still having flash backs of that scene. Paul being the spicy food lover in the family of course didn't believe it was that hot and shoveled in a mouth full and again, the horror! This time the lady that brought the food out came to the table and asked if it tasted ok. We all shook our heads with red faces as she went to get us more water. I really believe we all burned off quite a bit of taste buds that night. Needless to say we won't ever order that again. By the time the food came we were so very excited. We got a platter full of the sponge like bread to sop up food with because we were told, "no utensils, injera for your spoon." The boys absolutely loved the idea of this. And then it happened... the moment Paul realized there was only one chicken leg on the whole platter!!! Oh have mercy, my dear carnivore son.  Here's what he said in the loudest most obnoxious voice you can imagine, "ONLY ONE CHICKEN LEG, ONE! WHO GETS THE CHICKEN LEG? ARE WE SUPPOSED TO SPLIT ONE CHICKEN LEG? MOMMMA THERE'S FIVE OF US AND ONLY ONE CHICKEN LEG. ONE CHICKEN LEG! I WANT TO GO TO MC DONALDS! HOW ARE WE GOING TO SPLIT ONE CHICKEN LEG?!? With eyes the strength of Superman I gave him the "if you ever want to eat again stare!" Brian and I then began telling the boys about how meat is not as common and considered more of a luxury there etc.  Anyway, the food was very different and the boys seemed to be very grateful after our little talk where we may or may not have threatened to make them eat nothing but beans for the rest of their days in our home.