Lives Changed: An Adoption Story

Ray and Laurana Snyder served on staff with Coyote Hill a few years ago. In honor of November’s National Adoption Month, they agreed to share the story of their adoption journey with us. Ray explains: 

2017: Mea and Jake after their adoption

Our lives changed in an instant!  That sounds like the end of the story, so perhaps I should start at the beginning.  Laurana and I had talked about fostering and adoption ever since we were married.  While working as Relief Home Parents at Coyote Hill, we were covering at the Atherton Home on that day in January 2015 when a new set of siblings came into care.  I was called by Laurana to go help the case worker, because the young boy was really struggling, and she could not get him to come in the house.  I went out, simply picked him up and carried him inside, hoping to help him calm down.  Many people might see that as a bad start, but little did I know it would be the start of changing our lives.  Jake and Mea were brother and sister; a set of siblings who had been inseparable. Mea had been more like a mother to Jake before coming to Coyote Hill.  As Laurana and I continued working at Coyote Hill, and after we left, we kept feeling a special pull towards these two siblings, wanting to make them a part of our family. 

After leaving Coyote Hill we still liked to help by volunteering and visiting our friends there.  That small voice kept pulling us to make Jake and Mea a part of our family.  We were stubborn for a while, but God is persistent.  When God has a plan, it’s difficult to ignore it.  That’s when our story took yet another surprise turn.   

December 2016: MacKayla in The Wright Home

Laurana and I were visiting Andrew and Merri Heberlein, long time Coyote Hill Home Parents at The Wright Home who were also high school and college friends of mine.  Merri started telling us about a young lady who had just moved into their home. What she said would stay with me long afterwards.  “Ray if I didn’t know better, I would say that our new placement is your child.”  I was confused and taken aback, until MacKayla stepped into the room. I could instantly understand what Merri was talking about.  She looked like she could be my child. It was one of those awesome coincidences that only God could orchestrate. 

Snyders with family friend, “Nana” Rose Mary

We started feeling the same pull towards MacKayla that we had with Jake and Mea, who were still living at The Atherton Home.  This took a lot of prayer and a lot of talking between God, Laurana, and I.  We continued our visits, getting to know MacKayla better while also visiting Jake and Mea.  Laurana volunteered to be a mentor to MacKayla and started doing one on one visits with her, to help provide a stable person in her life.  We learned that MacKayla was one of many siblings and she was trying to make a big decision in her life; the decision to be adopted into a family by herself. 

After talking, praying, and consulting, Laurana and I decided that we would be that family for her.  We worked with MacKayla and her case worker to make the transition to our home.  Some might think one adoption would be the end of the story, yet we couldn’t close the book on Jake and Mea.  We continued our visits to Coyote Hill, and we were still feeling God directing us to give the two of them a forever home. Thus, less than a month after MacKayla moved in with us, we started the process of moving Jake and Mea into our home.  We now felt like our family was complete. 

The paperwork always takes time, but after what seemed like forever, we adopted all three children! We thought we were done with adoption and fostering, but God had other plans.  After a period of time we opened our hearts and home up to fostering.  We are continuing to do foster care while raising our three adopted children. 

God has a plan. You just never know how it might turn out.  We started out as a newlywed couple, being foster parents at Coyote Hill. Here we are, a few years later, the parents of three wonderful kids while continuing to foster children who need it.  It truly feels like our lives changed in an instant! 

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