Life Here Lately (Summer 2016)

What a summer it has been. A very blessed and very busy summer.

We've had many hot and humid days this summer, so we haven't been outside as much as we usually are.

And with this being the first summer the boys are home, it's been a bit crazy. :)

I didn't get the camera out much, but here are a few pictures from the past couple months:

These three are such good buddies!


"Please stop eating for a minute so we can take a picture," says Marie and I.

I guess Carlie listened. :)  The homemade s'mores must have been too good.

It may have taken me about two hours to make graham crackers and marshmallows. But it was worth it! They turned out so yummy. I'm still perfecting my corn syrup free marshmallow recipe and gluten free graham crackers, but I'm getting there! 

Marie got some cute pictures of Carlie and Nate:

And Collin is adorable as always:

 "Yep, I can totally get that," says Collin.

Got it!

 Ending with a beautiful sunset from a couple weekends ago.  

Life is good.


Celebrating Carlie

It was a warm June day as I sat with my mom and older sister while we looked at the file of a little girl.

We read that she had severe unrepaired CHD and was almost eight. We were told she was terminal.

My mom opened the video attached to her file and I saw with new eyes just how desperate this girl was.

The video was from two years before that and showed a malnourished little girl with dark purple skin from lack of oxygen. She was tied to a crib.

To this day I cannot watch that video without crying. It is almost unbearable to imagine what my sweet sister went through.

We then found out that she was from the same orphanage as Rosie.

We prayed that God would revel to us if she was a part of our family.

It was one month after we lost Rosie, and we questioned whether our family was actually ready for this next step.

But God gave us a very clear yes. And suddenly we were in the midst of another international adoption.

We were racing to bring Carlie Ruth home.

We traveled to bring Carlie and Maisey (also from Zhongshan) on December 17th, 2014. And on the 22nd we met the girls.

I stood in the Guangzhou Civil Affairs office and tried to hide every emotion that was racking my body. It was minutes after we met the girls and found out that Carlie had been living the past four years on a hospital bed. Alone.

We had been told that Carlie was discharged for her adoption. We knew this was true, because her hospital bracelet was still on.

We were given an "oxygen pillow". We were given random medicines. We were told to not let her walk around very often.

I would of given anything to have been able to get there earlier. To have adopted Carlie before she had endured such a huge amount of suffering. To erase the time spent in the hospital and have brought her home four years earlier. My heart was so torn up for our sweet girl.

I cried softly in our hotel room that night. Carlie didn't even know how to sleep because all she did was sit in bed 24 hours a day.

She had been left in the hospital to die. And to be forgotten. On her own in a small hospital in Zhongshan City, China. But our God didn't forget. And this is a story of hope. A story of grace. And a story of love that overcomes.

It's pretty amazing how God works.

Carlie turned ten last week. I'm starting to cry as I write this because I realized how many miracles I have seen in the year and a half  Carlie has been a Snyder.

Her two miraculous heart surgeries have given her more energy that she ever had in China.

She has grown and become such a beautiful and spunky ten year old.

While I wish she hadn't spent eight years in an orphanage and a hospital, I wouldn't change it. Because she wouldn't be the person she is today.

And I certainly wouldn't be the same either.

I sat on the couch the other day as she did school with my mom. As she spelled words and read a short story, I realize that God had prepared her for this.

Because even though she spent her first eight years in an orphanage, God was keeping her spirit and preparing her for her family.

She was always meant to be a Snyder.

Happy Birthday Carlie! I beep you. <3


Two Years of Blogging

It's been two years since my blog started (well, it's actually been a little over two years, but I'm only a month off :).

What started as a way to share about Rosie,  this blog has become much much more.

For me, it has been a voice. A way to share what is on my heart. A way to put all my dreams out on paper and pray that some of them become a reality.

For you, I hope it's been encouraging. I hope I portrayed a pictured that loss is hard, but beauty abounds even in the darkest valleys.

For Christ, I hope my blog has pointed to Him. And I hope that I honored Him with everything I have written thus far.

I'm excited to see where this little blog of mine will be in a few years. I hope that more people can be reached and lives touched by Rosie's story. I hope that Rosie's legacy will continue to spread, because it has already touched so many lives.

It's amazing how a sweet little five year old girl could completely change my life. How she opened my eyes to see a world beyond my own selfishness.

How this blog was started for her and how her life is still such a part of mine.

This story? This story is a beautiful one, not because the road was easy and smooth. This story is turning out beautiful because during the dark valleys, we knew we were not alone. He was holding us up.

Two years ago,  I could only wonder if anything good would come out of Rosie leaving this earth.

Now here I am. Realizing that God has done so much more than I even could have ever imagined. He is so good.

Celebrating Rosie today, because isn't everyday a good day to celebrate Rosie? :)


Carlie's Heart Cath

It's been a few months since I wrote an update on Carlie's heart.

Back in December, we were so thankful that her second open heart surgery went better than expected and her heart was doing as well as it was. The plan was just to see how her heart continued to function post-surgery.

Lately, she has been having some increasing valve issues and a few other things going on. The doctors in Boston decided it was time for a cath. She's getting it done here at Children's Hospital tomorrow morning around eleven.

Would you pray for the doctors to see everything they need to see? And for Carlie to have a calm and relatively easy day tomorrow?

Thank you, friends!

This girl just amazes me. After having spent four years in a crib and four years flat on her back on a hospital bed, her progress has been nothing short of miraculous.

She has the sweetest personality and loves to be with Nate (they were crib-mates in the orphanage). They have such a special bond.

She's pretty obsessed with her monkey named, "my monkey" (hence the monkey face). And she told my mom that she wanted her hair cut "like Rosie's". Oh my heart.

Hoping that tomorrow will be a good day! 

Love you Carlie!


An Open Letter to Doctors Everywhere

I've been writing this post for a long time now. And I kept stopping and wondering if I really should say everything I want to say.

But I'm learning, ever so slowly, that I have a voice. And that some words just need to be said. And so here I am, saying what I've thought about saying many times as I listened to doctors says things that just weren't true.

So doctors? From a girl who hopes to be a doctor in the future, this is for you...

You see, when I was born, doctors told my parents I might never be able to do anything considered "normal".

Well seventeen years later I've graduated from high school, taken two trips to China, and won level nine gymnastics Eastern Nationals. And so much more.

I've heard it said again again how in the world could I be so happy with being sick so often. Ummm? Life is a gift. A beautiful messy gift. And there's gonna be days when sickness is just going to win.

But most days? Gratitude is going to give me my joy. Because I have two legs that work. And I have a voice to speak. And I have more blessings than I can count. That when my strength is in Jesus I can get up and live life to the absolute fullest. And, let me say it again, life is a gift. And I'm going to enjoy it.

Doctors, I want you to know that my so called "medical conditions" don't define me. I don't find my value in a perfectly healthy body. I find my value in Jesus. 

I'm not sad about the fact that my pancreas doesn't work right. That my body doesn't fight any infections. That my lungs constantly clog with mucus. And I'm not sad about all the so called "imperfections" of my body.  Because all of that is just one very small part of me.

I firmly believe that God made my body perfect. He created me and I can say without a doubt that I am "fearfully and wonderfully made." (Psalm 139: 14) It doesn't matter what this world tells me.

And believe it or not, I've seen a lot of good come out of my different medical issues. Is it annoying to take three pills ever time I eat, pills in the morning and night, and a fifteen minute nebulizer treatment twice a day to clean out my lungs? Yea, sometimes it is tiring... But in all honesty? I am so blessed to have access to all the medical treatments I need... because so many kids don't.

Doctors, please remember that I don't want you to fix me, I want you to help me be the best I can be. 

I'm just an imperfect human who is loved by a perfect God. A girl whose trying to make the most of however long she has on this earth.

Your patients are humans, not computer screens. Always remember that. So stop looking at your computer screen and start looking at me. 

Sometimes you are going to have to step back and really really listen to me.

Because sometimes the patient knows best and you're going to have to put aside the fact that you went to medical school and got a degree. Because you need to shut down the phones and pagers and look me in the eyes and hear me out, all the way. 

Because respect. Respect me and respect the fact that I know myself better than anyone else.

You know what I've learned over the years?

I've learned that sometimes the textbook is very very wrong.

You see, there is no textbook for some kids.

Their anatomy is so complex and their diagnoses so unique, you just have to jump out of your little textbook world and into the the world of the unknown.

The world where treatments don't always make sense. The world where you're a little nervous about treating something a certain way, but you do it anyway because you know that your patient deserves the best you can give.

Only one doctor agrees that I should be on daily, full dose antibiotics. Most doctors think that's crazy. But it works. It keeps me relatively healthy and ready to live life.

So step out of books and step into a world where it works, even if it doesn't make sense.

Because really? If you call yourself a medical doctor then you must must put your patients first.

So when I call you because I need the results of a test or the game plan for the next few months, just answer your phone.  I can't even tell you how many times I've tried to reach a doctor, and how it takes so many people to just leave a message.

I think the absolute best thing you could do, doctors, is go on a mission trip.

Because your heart will be broken, your perspective made new, and your life completely changed. So take off the white coats and head into an orphanage. Turn your life upside down in the best way possible. Because you will never ever be the same.

If you step out of your culture and into a culture where supplies aren't always there, medicine is hard to come by, and a sanitary hospital is non-existent, then you're going to realized just how unbelievable blessed you are.

And if you take the time to go out of your way to help someone, then aren't you experiencing just a little bit of what Jesus felt? When He walked the streets and healed those with all sorts of so called cursed illnesses. If you can walk the streets of a rural village in central China and help those who need treatment, you can be the hands and feet of Jesus. And you are literally living out the Gospel.

Isn't this what we're all called to do?

And remember this... remember that Jesus is the one who does the healing. That through Him, you can be His hands and feet. And through the Holy Spirit you can be the doctor you were called to be.

Because each day... each day you have the chance to minister to more people that you can count. And you have the chance to be hope in someones life.

Hope. Hope really does change everything.

- Allie, just a teenager who knows that life isn't about being ordinary, life is about serving an extraordinary God. And that hope...hope is a beautiful thing.