By Debra Minor Wilson
Times West Virginian
A house is not a home without love.
For Jenny and Roy Snyder, love means children. And now they have a home full of love and full of children.
Officially just a few days ago, they became parents for the fourth time when they adopted little Jarin, who turns 19 months old today.
She completes the Snyders’ circle of love, because she joins her three siblings: brother Aden, 8, and sisters Emily, 6, and Madalyn, 3. They adopted Maddy when she was 2 1/2 weeks old and Jarin when she was 2 days old. Aden and Emily had been with the family since they were 4 and 2, respectively.
The Snyders, unable to have children on their own, adopted the four through foster to adopt through the DHHR.
“It’s the easiest route,” Jenny Snyder said. “And it’s the only way we could do it financially. We were looking for one child, under age 4, and that would have cost $35,000 through a private agency.
“And if you want an infant, forget it. There was a 2 1/2-year waiting list.”
They really didn’t want to foster a child. They’d done that before only to have to return the child they were falling in love with back to her mom.
They had built a new home with extra bedrooms that were now painfully empty.
“Almost exactly a month later we got a phone call. Aden and Emily were available. The mother was pregnant with a third, Maddy. Would we consider taking all three?”
They said what any eager parent would say: Sure.
“We thought we were done,” she said with a laugh. “But whoops! Lo and behold, the mother had another baby.”
The mother had been sent to prison, with the justice system taking three years to go to trial, she said.
“She got pregnant a fourth time. We were asked to take the baby. We prayed really hard. We almost said no. Then, about a month before the due date, we said we couldn’t split them up.
“I knew that if I had a sibling out there somewhere, it would drive me crazy. So we said yes.”
The family was complete.
“And we’re thankful we did. She’s a card, a light bulb that goes off every morning and all day long.”
She and her husband are both 50 and married 11 years ago late in life.
The children have been a blessing, she said.
“And we’ve lost more hair, so I guess that’s less gray,” she said, laughing.
“They’ve given us unconditional love in return. They’ve made us younger than we are. Such an unfathomable, immeasurable amount of joy. We are learning every day about children and ourselves.”
This past Christmas the look of Jarin’s face when she saw the gifts and tree “was great,” Jenny said.
“We’re learning to see things through their eyes.”
“We’re seeing the wonder of things,” Roy said.
And they’re doing things they probably never dreamed they would do. Like taking kids to soccer and baseball games. Dance lessons. Trips to the park. They had to get a bigger car. An eight-piece place setting.
“Yeah. Aden asked me, ‘Dad, when are we going hunting?’ He’ll be old enough by fall. We’ll see what we can do.
“It’s really been an enlightening experience.”
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions,” Jenny said. “When we first started, we had visitations with the biological mother. We were trying to undo the things she would tell them and have them do. It was a big mess for about a year after we got them.”
Memories of losing that first foster child still haunted them. Would they lose these also?
“We were scared for a while,” she said. “They put in a six-month loop for adoption.”
But their dreams came true Nov. 28, 2011, when Aden, Emily and Maddy became theirs for good and forever.
“Twenty-five people from our church were there,” Jenny said. “They gave us all their love and support.”
Roy’s father passed just before the end of the year. His service was on Jan. 3 — the date Jarin joined the family.
“We went to the courthouse for the adoption at 9:30 that morning and then to his funeral at 10:30 at the church. That was a big roller coaster day,” Jenny said.
Instead of making a half box of spaghetti, now it takes two to feed the family. A couple dozen pancakes.
“Oh, yes, there has been a lot of adjustment,” she said. “Before, when we were going somewhere, we just needed 15 minutes and we were out the door.”
Now, with four young children? Try 90 minutes.
“The only way we can get somewhere on time is if we start now,” she said.
“But we can’t imagine our lives without them. We cannot think of not having them,” she said.
And as for all parents of little ones, every day is a learning experience.
“But we’ll figure out what we need to do next to make everybody happy and get the family running well.”
If you’re thinking of adoption, don’t be afraid of the child’s behavior, she said.
“A younger child, you can mold them to what you want them to be. An older child has issues and things brought from his previous life.”
When Aden first came to their home, he lied and stole things from his sister and the Snyders, Roy said.
“But that’s natural behavior. Maddy, who has been living with us since she was born, did the same thing. You move on and teach them right from wrong.
“If you’re looking at adoption, search your heart and don’t be afraid of fostering. All they need is love. Give them the right amount and they’ll give back 10 fold.”
Email Debra Minor Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org.