November 29, 2014

Our Family Legacy Story - Ruth L. Snyder

In 1998, we heard about nineteen-year-old Mary, a single parent who was unsure of her ability to provide for her baby. Five months later, after figuring there was no possibility of adopting that particular baby, we sat down to fill out an adoption application with a private agency.  That night we received a phone call asking if we were still interested in adopting Mary's baby.  Four frantic days later, we brought our eldest daughter home.

Four years later, twin boys were placed with us by Child & Family Services.  (The boys were born at 27 weeks gestation, weighing less than two pounds each.  The fact they survived is a miracle.) Our 18-month-old twins introduced us to a completely new world special needs. Only those who walk in these shoes know the special joys, challenges, and gifts these children provide.  The first thing we noticed about our boys was their silence no babbling, no chatter.  We were told they had “global developmental delays.  After six months of scooping with a spoon, our hand over his - every day, several times a day - we celebrated while Luke actually fed himself.  At twenty-seven months, we cheered while Levi took his first wobbly step.  A few months later, he was able to climb up on a chair by himself and stand. We clapped, momentarily forgetting that Levis balance still needed help.  He stood for mere seconds, grinning from ear to ear, before taking a terrible tumble to the floor.  He landed on his head with glasses protruding at an odd angle, and blood gushing. We cringed as the doctor interrogated us. We learned to sign, using Signing Exact English, so the twins had a means of communicating with us.  Progress was excruciatingly slow.  Our boys, at age four, finally voiced the words, “Mom” and “Dad” for the first time.  The pediatrician who first saw our twins said they would never walk, talk, or feed themselves.  We are thankful God had other plans for them!

Two years later, Jayson joined our family.  Although Jayson is a full sibling to Luke and Levi, he had fewer obvious challenges.  However, parenting skills that worked with our other children were not nearly as effective with Jayson. We learned to be very creative in dealing with challenging behaviors.

Several years later, we received another phone call informing us we had been matched with twins (a three-year-old boy and girl). However, the adoption fell through before we even met the children, due to circumstances beyond our control. 

Life settled into a comfortable routine.  It seemed our family was complete. I decided to take on a part-time position with our local school board.  A month later, we were informed our boys had a new baby sister and were asked to consider adopting her. Our file was still open from the “match” that fell through, making it possible for us to become foster parents in a matter of days.  We drove to the hospital to meet our new little daughter.  Although we had four children, we had never cared for a newborn before, let alone one who had heart problems.  The hospital staff patiently showed us what we needed to know to care for her. A year later she was taken off her heart medication because there was no trace of any heart problems.

The next summer my husband and four older children were anticipating a carefree afternoon ride on horses in the backwoods at camp when a tanker truck zoomed over a double yellow line and rammed into the van in which they were riding. The van rolled and came to a screeching halt in the ditch. (My husband describes seeing bodies flop around like clothes in a washing machine. One of the ambulance attendants asked our daughter how many people died in the accident.) We're thankful the van took a left turn, avoiding most of the impact, thankful a young fellow passenger scooted from the corner that was hit to the middle seat because the seat belt wouldn't hook, and thankful the worst injury was a broken leg (to the fellow passenger). I'll never forget my family stumbling through the doorway of the cabin, dusty, bloody, and tearful, but alive.

Seven months later I received a phone call informing me my husband was in emergency at the local hospital. He had taken a snowmobile he fixed, out for a test drive and the next thing he knew he was lying on the snow several meters away from the crumpled snowmobile. Somehow he was able to start the machine and drive it back to the shop where he worked. (That was the last time the snowmobile started.) His coworker rushed him to the hospital where he was put in a neck brace and immobilized. Although he wasn't wearing a helmet, he walked away with minor injuries and a few major bruises.

As you can see, we have many things for which to praise the Lord. Will you join us in praising Him for His goodness and His wonderful works in our family?

Ruth L. Snyder and her husband, Kendall, have five children ages six to seventeen. Besides looking after her family, Ruth enjoys teaching Music for Young Children and writing. She currently serves as the editor for In the Loop, a quarterly newsletter for foster, adoptive, and kinship families in northeastern Alberta, Canada. Connect with Ruth at


  1. Ruth, as they say, when you put it that way...

    Seeing each of these circumstances listed one after the other gives us an 'only in hindsight' understanding into how God works. So many possible losses, so much struggle when you might have wanted to give up, and yet I've met some of your thriving, vibrant family, and they (including you) are a force for God, and not to be discounted in any way.

    May the Lord continue to bless you and keep you!


  2. when I see these circumstances listed, as Bobbi said, I am amazed. both you you (Ruth and Bobbi) are such wonderful examples of faith, even in the rough times.

  3. Amazing stories. Praising God for His faithful and your complete trust in Him.

  4. I've always wanted to hear more of your story. Amazing. Praise God for His mercies and daily victories.

  5. Thanks for your encouraging words. It's a good thing we can't see the future sometimes :) Looking back is definitely an encouragement on those days when the going is tough. We are very grateful for God's leading, strength, and wisdom.

  6. I thank God for the many times he has watched over you and brought you through the rough times. Parenting "normal" children is a challenge, but God has given you extraordinary children and, it appears, extraordinary faith and patience.

    May God continue to bless you, Ruth, and your husband, Kendall, and each of your special young people.

  7. Thank you so much for sharing your story. What a wonderful testament of open and willing hearts to be used as Gods vessel of love and grace!


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