Yasmin Snyder entered the foster care system at the tender age of 5 when she was removed from her home as a result of physical abuse. Although she would be reunited with her birth mother briefly, she was again put in foster care for a second time soon after. And that was only the start.
Yasmin was in line to be adopted three times. For a young child, the cycle of hope and despair she endured each time a potential adoption came up was a difficult reminder of the limitations of the system.
She is honest about how important feeling love and security is to one’s own self value. “When there's an adoption, there's an aspect that you are wanted and you are someone and you deserve love,” she said. “I had three failed adoptions. I had a chance three times to fail and give up but I didn’t because I decided that I wanted a forever family, a healthy forever family at that.” Yasmin could have let the disappointment get the best of her, but she didn’t.
Thanks to the Miami Heart Gallery, a website funded The Children’s Trust and Citrus Family Network, Yasmin’s story of perseverance and hope reached someone who could relate. Michelle Snyder was once a child who also felt without a place to call home and remembers the feelings of isolation and uncertainty it creates. “When I was young, I was moved around a lot. I wasn't with my biological family, and I experienced a lot of difficult things myself as far as just abandonment.”
Though she was happily married and with two children, there was still a hole in her heart. So when Michelle heard Yasmin’s story, she immediately felt a connection. “I knew that if I could get out of it that I wanted to help other kids who were in that situation.”
Yasmin felt the connection as well, and though the possibility of more heartbreak weighed on her, she knew what she wanted. “What I wanted in life was a loving family. And I got a loving family.” She immediately fell in love with the Snyders, and they fell in love with her. “Family is such an important thing to me, they're the ones who are going to help you through in life,” she said. “Me and my siblings absolutely love each other, sometimes too much.”
The connection with Michelle is just as strong. “When I speak to my mom, I feel like I can just tell her anything without getting judged. I can tell her my story. And I know she's not going to fake her feelings towards it because she understands where I'm coming from.”
As a member of the Snyder family, Yasmin has excelled in high school and socially. She has a 3.86 GPA, including taking dual enrollment college classes. She is on a renowned varsity cheer team that won the state championship and finished third in the nation, has made new friends, while still finding time to volunteer at church. What the Snyders have given to Yasmin by welcoming her into their family is a blessing. And what she has returned is equally moving. “We are so thankful to get to be a part of her story. Really, the most amazing thing is the transformation from when we first met her, with her confidence, self-esteem, her school grades, and joy for life. It's a night and day difference!” Michelle said. “Yasmine is so inspiring. She's taught me so much and she reminds me to keep pushing forward and never give up.”
“I'm so thankful for The Children's Trust and all the people that helped us along the way to make this possible. We have our ups and downs like any family, but it's just fun to do life together.”
As for Yasmin, she found what she is looking for. “I have arrived at my destination, absolutely. There's no more looking for me. And there's no more wondering and there's no more worrying about where I'm going to end up next. No, because I have my loving family here to support me and to love me and I love them.”
Yasmin Snyder is featured in The Children’s Trust 20 Years of Nurturing Greatness campaign. Learn more about her at www.TheChildrensTrust.org/20thAnniversary.