TEAM BARNETT ADOPTION 2014 ~ Felix's Heroes Wall

The following people have graciously donated to our adoption fund and have made Felix one step closer to becoming "An Orphan No More"!
Felix's Heroes Wall:
Linda Wade ~ TX; Tammy Johnson ~ TX; Brian & Carol Miller ~ NC; Karl & Beth Brennan ~ TX; Sammye Smith ~ TX; Barbara Balthrop ~ TX; Jeri Newman ~ TX; Shirley Bowman ~ TX; Anonymous ~ TX; Kelly & Chay McClellan ~ TX; Heather Farester ~ VA; Terri Mauldin ~ TX; Sherry Hamby ~ TX; Laura Homan ~ TX; Cindy & Kelsey Cregar ~ MD; April Jurisch ~ TX; Danni & Rhaya Edison ~ TX; Brenda Baswell ~ AL; Anonymous ~ TX; Keshia Melton ~ New Zealand; Mistie Sutko ~ TX; Amy Epley ~ TX; Annie Trenda ~ WA; Jenny Raspberry-Martin ~ Canada; Amber Gilchrist-Anderson ~ NM; Bianca Montelaro-Oliver ~ LA; Sasha Fera-Schanes ~ CA; Gigi Glynn ~ NJ; Cordie Teddlie Everman ~ TN; Clydene Moore ~ TX; Peggy McAdams ~ TX; Kayla Groen; Kristen Abel ~ TX; Dandy Fleming ~ TX; Colleen Salinas ~ TX; Katy Pyle ~ LA; Sandra Lizcano ~ LA; Reby Lawler ~ TX; Charlette Flowers ~ TX; Mary Anne McCartney ~ TX; Carol Miller ~ NC; Colleen Krizak ~ TX; Rhonda Jackson ~ TX; Heather Woodall ~ TX; Heather Johnson ~ TX; Sherwin & Ann Lee ~ TX; Stacie Lee Mercer ~ TX; Anonymous;Wesley Barnett ~ MS; Anonymous ~ TX; Shirley Massey ~ TX; Jeremy & Mandy Danielson ~ TX
Reece's Rainbow: Andrea Roberts, Nancy Thornell, Debbie Hannon, Michelle Zoromski, & Lucille Brown
WORDS CANNOT EXPRESS OUR GRATITUDE!!! WE ARE FOREVER BLESSED AND HUMBLED!!!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

A Day That Began In Tragedy and Ended In Grace and Love

Shane Deon Lee

For the last few days, I have been contemplating whether or not I would write a blog post about the significance of today ~ May 15th.  I prayed about it and I thought about it.  And, in the end, I decided that writing and posting would not only prove to be therapeutic for me, it would also allow me to once again thank the scores of people who came together for my family and me on that day and in the days that followed.  This post will allow me to get through this day by remembering and cherishing the unconditional love and support they so readily gave.  So, with a deep breath and a prayer to God to stop the tears for now, I am writing about what May 15th has come to mean to me.  The first May 15th of significance was in 2001.


This is one of a handful of pics where
Shane is smiling this big ~ the boy hated
to smile for pictures!!
Stacie, Shane, & my parents with me
on my wedding day ~ 9/13/97

My older brother, Shane, was born on February 14, 1970 and died on May 15, 2001.  He was only 31 years old.  So, today marks the 13th anniversary of my brother’s death.  And, even 13 years later, it is still heartbreakingly hard to think about that day, specifically the beginning of that day when my life was shattered and I was brought to my knees with a grief I had never experienced before.  There are parts of that day I remember as if it were yesterday, there are parts of that day that takes me a while to remember, and there are parts that I do not remember at all.  The latter is probably a gift from God. 

For the purpose of this blog post, I am not going to dwell on the sheer tragedy of my brother‘s death and that awful morning.  Instead, I am going to focus on the grace and the love that God gave to my family and me on that day in 2001 and in the days that followed.  However, in order to write about the grace and love, I do need to delve a little bit into the initial events surrounding the morning of his death beginning with the ambulance ride to the hospital.

I was fortunate to grow up in the once little town of Frisco, TX where the townspeople of “Old Frisco” still shared that small town bond in 2001.  On that unfortunate day, I was the one who rode with a couple of “Old Frisco” EMT’s in the ambulance as they worked on my brother while racing as fast as they could in order to get him to the hospital in Plano.  I was comforted by those familiar faces and I knew that they loved Shane and were doing all they could to save their friend.  David, my dad, my mom, and my sister Stacie were graciously escorted to the hospital by several “Old Frisco” policemen who surrounded the car David was driving with their police cruisers.  The policemen, our friends, did this so that David could stay directly behind the ambulance and arrive at the hospital the exact same time as Shane and me.  For that, my family will be forever grateful. 

Once we were at the hospital, it was literally minutes before scores of our dear “Old Frisco” friends began showing up to support us.  They brought food to us, held us up physically & mentally, prayed with us, and sat with us as the doctors and hospital staff worked on my brother.  They stayed with us as Shane was placed on life support in order that his organs could be harvested for donation after he was declared brain dead.  These friends took turns surrounding us at Shane's bedside to pray over Shane and our family.

Once we were at the hospital, I told David that the one person I needed the most to be there was Jim Wicker, my pastor during my teenage years and the pastor who baptized me and married David and me.  Jim was teaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth on that day and it took David about 30 minutes to reach him.  However, once David spoke to Jim, he told David that he’d be there within two hours.  He canceled his remaining classes that day and left a message with Dana, his wife, about what had happened.  Dana, who was also a professor at Southwestern, was actually teaching a class when Jim left for the hospital.  Dana graciously chose to cancel the remainder of her classes once she received Jim’s message and head to the hospital so that she could be with our family.  It was Jim who was with our family in that tiny hospital conference room when the lead doctor told us that they had done all they could for Shane and that my brother had passed away.  It was Jim who first prayed with us as we received that devastating news and it was Jim who rejoiced with us in knowing that Shane was now at the feet of Jesus praising Him because of the relationship Shane had with Christ.  And, it was Jim who preached Shane’s funeral and shared the Gospel with all of those in attendance.  Jim and Dana, thank you both.  Y’all already know how much you both mean to me.

Pretty much the rest of the time we spent at the hospital remains a blur to this day, but I do remember several of Shane’s friends coming to the hospital to show their respects.  The one person who meant the most to us and Shane was also an “Old Frisco” person.  My brother was a cowboy who trained cutting horses and owned several acres of land that he was in the process of turning into a horse ranch.  In fact, at the time of his death, Shane was completing the fencing around his roping arena.  And, at the time, his “cowboy running buddy” was Ricky Wade.  Ricky had become Shane’s best friend and his confidant.  In the months before his death, when Shane became ill and began going through a ton of stuff, it was Ricky who was always there for Shane.  It was Ricky who my parents could call in the middle of the night when they were worried about Shane because they knew that Ricky would come running to help Shane.  So, when we saw Ricky walk into Shane’s ICU hospital room, a grateful peace came over me and I know that Shane felt it too.  Ricky Wade, after all these years, my family and I are still so grateful for what you did for Shane and the friendship that you blessed him with during the last few years of his life.  We love you, brother.

Two other people who are worth mentioning for what they did for our family on that day are Sharon Griffin and Lynda Humbarger.  Sharon and Lynda are the mothers of two of my close childhood friends, Jennifer Griffin Upshaw and Shanda Humbarger Hatcher, and are also dear friends to my mother.  And, they are also “Old Frisco.”  Sharon and Lynda were both at work on that day when they received the news and, immediately, they both left work and raced to my parent’s home.  Sharon and Lynda stayed at my parent’s home to clean everything up so that we would not have to.  How precious is it to have friends willing to get on their knees and scrub away things that are unmentionable?  Later on, Lynda joined us at the hospital while Sharon remained at my parent's house to finish cleaning & arrange meals to be delivered.  Sharon and Lynda, the magnitude of what y’all did for us has not been lost on our family.  We will remain forever grateful to the sacrifice y’all made for our family.  We love you both so much.  Jennifer also left the school where she was teaching and came to be with me at the hospital.  Shanda was waiting for us at my parent’s home when we returned.  Jennifer and Shanda, dear friends, thank you for being there during my hour of need.  I love you both.

In the end, there were literally hundreds of people who met us at the hospital that day, who came to my parent’s house later that night once we returned from the hospital, and who visited us in the days & weeks that followed.  We would not have been able to make it on that day and the days following Shane’s death without our friends ~ especially those “Old Frisco” friends.  There are too many to mention, but I do feel the need to mention a handful in order to personally thank them for the love and grace they gave to our family.  Thank you to Tommy & Connie Ohm and Jenny Ohm Hardy for the wonderful meals (especially the hamburgers!) you brought us and the time you spent with us.  Tommy, thank you for the literal hours of laughter you gave us during the retelling of all the crazy & funny Shane stories and thank you for speaking so eloquently at Shane's funeral & gifting everyone there with laughter at the memory of my brother.  Gilbert Gonzalez, thank you for not only being there for us, but also for being Shane’s best friend and partner in crime since y’all’s high school days.  You know that Stacie and I consider you our brother.  The Carlos & Yolanda Liscano family, thank you for being there for us and making sure we had plenty of coffee.  Mary & Gordon Holbrook, thank you for being there for us and being such dear friends to Shane.  Gordon, thank you for all of the wonderful childhood go-cart & neighborhood memories that you & Shane have left us with.  Sarah Claunch, thank you for being there for me and being my rock when I was so broken.  Alton & Terry Garner, thank you for the countless hours y’all spent sitting with my dad on the front porch as he smoked cigarette after cigarette as a way to deal with his grief.  Janis McGee, thank you for coming to my parents as soon as you could.  You know how special Shannon was to Shane.  Because of Shannon, I know that Shane would have cherished Silas, Teague, Trenton, & Maclayne if he was with us today.  Steve & Glynda Covington, thank you both for coming to see us as soon as y’all returned from vacation & found out.  The hours you spent with my parents were greatly appreciated.  Glynda, thank you for helping us in the aftermath in our dealings with the Frisco Police Dept.  Gig Gross, thank you for the beautiful tribute to Shane that you made out of wood as a gift to our family.  Your artwork brought much needed comfort to our family ~ whether you like it or not, you are an angel in my eyes and one day I will convince you of your true worth in God.  Love you, friend, and God loves you more.

Thank you to several members of First Baptist Frisco for ministering to our family through love, grace, and countless meals.  FBC Frisco was my church growing up and where I was baptized.  I am so very thankful to have been surrounded by the love of my “Old Frisco” church where I grew in my relationship with the Lord during my teenage years.  Thank you to my old youth minister, Tommy Woodard, who came to the hospital on that day to minister to my family.  Tommy, I love that you still cared for me even though I was 26 years old; I guess I truly reminded you of a fragile heartbroken teenager on that day.  Thank you to several members of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano and our Sunday School class at the time.  All of you were rocks to David and me during the aftermath of Shane's death.  Thank you to Prestonwood’s Singles Ministry and Ron Holton, the Singles’ Minister at the time, for ministering to not only my sister Stacie, but to our whole family.  Thank you, Ron, for traveling over two hours with us after Shane’s funeral for his burial in East Texas.  Thank you for the beautiful graveside message you delivered.  Your words were a true comfort.  And, thank you for the countless hours you spent with Stacie, my parents, and me just to make sure we were okay.  I miss our talks about the Bible and the sheer joy of serving our Lord and the new ministry He was calling you & your wife to.

There are countless others who ministered to our family during the week of May 15, 2001 ~ too many to mention.  Please know that y’all are not forgotten.  My family and I remember each of you.  There are days when we remember y’all as individuals and there are days when we remember y’all as a collective group.  To go through a tragedy of such magnitude allows the positive and good things that come out of it to be seared into your heart and mind forever.  Everyone’s love, grace, and prayers for our family are the good and beautiful things that came out of my brother’s death.  For that, we are forever grateful.  We love each of you.

Finally, and certainly not least, I am thankful to my Savior Jesus Christ.  Had it not been for Him, there is no way that my family and I would have been able to endure that day and that week.  Our family experienced a tragedy so great, an unspeakable tragedy that no family should have to endure.  In John 10:10, Christ tells us that “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”  His words rang true on that day because Satan tried to destroy our family by stealing Shane’s mind in an effort to win a victory in Shane’s death.  However, the exact opposite occurred.  Satan did not have the victory that day ~ God did!  God had the victory in the fact that Shane was called home to Jesus.  God had the victory in the fact that His love prevailed through the actions of our dear friends.  And, most importantly, God had the victory in the simple fact that our faith in Him not only remained strong, it continued to grow during our unspeakable grief.  Still to this day, I praise Him for the victories that He gave our family when we needed Him most ~ He knew how much we needed Him and He was ready to shower us with His love and grace.  Father, thank you for loving us that much.    

Shane's Tombstone ~ Dimple, TX


1 Thessalonians 1:2-4:
"2 We give thanks to God always for all of you, making mention of you in our prayers; 3 constantly bearing in mind your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the presence of our God and Father, 4 knowing, brethren beloved by God, His choice of you"

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

WHY REECE'S RAINBOW???

Ever since David and I adopted Silas, any and everything that has to do with Down syndrome will prick our ears.  And, our eyes have been wide open to our “new normal” ever since.  Therefore, it was only natural that in February 2010 my curiosity was piqued when I read a “Heroes Among Us” article in People Magazine about a woman who has made it her mission to save orphans born with Down syndrome (Ds).  As I read the article, I found myself in tears because I could certainly identify with her heart.  I identified with the intense love she has for her son, Reece, who was born with Ds because that it is the same intense love I have for Silas.  I identified with her intense passion for the children born with Ds who are abandoned by their parents because of the stigma the world has placed on Ds.  When I showed David the article, he just stood there amazed.  We knew that we needed to find out more:  more about Andrea Roberts and more about Reece’s Rainbow.  Click HERE for the 2010 People Magazine article.

You see, David and I had just started talking about adopting another child with Down syndrome a few weeks earlier.  And, most importantly, we had begun praying that God would point us in the right direction as to where He would be leading us in regards to adopting again.  With a “magazine sign” in hand, I visited the Reece’s Rainbow (RR) website for the first time a few days later.  I was on the RR site for over three hours combing through every inch.  I loved reading how Andrea came about launching Reece’s Rainbow from an outreach program dedicated to serving new families of children born with Ds at a hospital in Atlanta, GA to its expansion in 2006 to include the promotion of the international adoption of orphans born with Down syndrome and other special needs.  Please click HERE for the 2012 People Magazine story update. 

I completely identified with the words she wrote about her son, Reece, being “the one constant…the beauty and innocence that a child with Down syndrome brings to the world is truly one of Divine nature.   God has led me through some very difficult times, but waiting on the other side of that “rainbow” for me was enlightenment, empowerment, compassion, mercy, and a tremendous “calling” to reach out to other children like Reece who were not as fortunate as he to have a loving, supportive family to grow up in.”  That one statement impacted me in so many ways and it allowed God to show us the ministry He had planned for our family.  Please click HERE to read more about the background of RR and why it exists.

Ultimately, we learned that Andrea was the Winner of the 2010 People Magazine's Reader's Choice Hero of the Year Award.  And, to make a long story short, David and I finally reached out to Andrea and Reece’s Rainbow in November of 2010 after several long months of prayer, discussion, pastoral advice, being grounded in the Word of God, and seeking ultimate discernment from God.  Finally, we knew we had a clear calling from God to partner with RR in order to adopt more children with Down syndrome.  It just so happened that before time began, God had already planned for three beautiful Ukrainian orphans to find their forever family at the end of Reece’s Rainbow.  And, after that initial contact with Andrea and RR, we KNEW BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that God had amazingly and beautifully placed RR at our feet in order to make Teague, Trenton, and Maclayne ORPHANS NO MORE.  For that, we will forever praise God and Andrea Roberts will remain a HERO to our family.

Maclayne's RR picture
Teague's RR picture
Trenton's RR picture
         
Now, it brings me to the very reason we are choosing to partner with Reece’s Rainbow once again to bring Felix and another child (sorry, details will follow on this bombshell in a few days…) home from Eastern Europe.  Again, we know BEYOND A SHADOW OF A DOUBT that God is using RR to fulfill His calling in our lives and ministry to make two more precious children with Down syndrome ORPHANS NO MORE by growing our family.  The RR stateside and in-country adoption facilitation team is amazing and we could not ask for a better group of people to team up with.  We are blessed beyond measure and cannot wait until we land on US soil with the two newest Barnett’s!!  Two more ORPHANS NO MORE and two more children who have found their families at the end of Reece’s Rainbow!

For more information about Reece’s Rainbow, please click HERE for the link to the RR website.  Even if you are not called to adopt and/or are not in a position to adopt, you will still benefit from finding out about this wonderful special needs adoption ministry.  There are many colors of support for RR:  praying for RR, sharing about RR, financially supporting RR through a one-time or recurring gift, and advocating for the many orphans on their website "because every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome...".  Also, please feel free to contact the team at RR if you have questions or would like to know more.  You can also contact me about RR ~ I’d be more than happy to share more about our adoption experience with RR.

Walk By The Spirit ~ Galatians 5:13-14
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 


Saturday, March 22, 2014

Orphans Forever ~ Putin's Evil Hand At Work

Anyone who knows me and/or is a follower of mine on social media will often see my favorite tag line of "An Orphan No More" on a large portion of my posts and comments.  In fact, just this year, David and I have "adopted" the phrase as our theme for the adoption of our precious son, Felix, who is currently living in a mental institution in Eastern Europe ~ only because he was born with Down syndrome.  We have once again humbly and with pride (I assure you, no paradox applies here!) answered the call from God to make one more precious special needs child "An Orphan No More" by giving him a forever family and a chance at life.  With this calling comes great emotional ups and downs and, at times, dreaded heartbreak.

Prior to the last two weeks, I had been extremely vocal on Facebook about what is going on in Ukraine ~ from Euromaiden to Putin's impending illegal takeover of Crimea. My heart yearned and stood united with all of those Ukrainians who wanted to further distance themselves from Russia.  I had spent many hours on bended knee in prayer interceding on behalf of three (soon to be four) of my children's homeland.  However, after Russia officially invaded Crimea, I had to step back from social media for the most part.  I had to allow myself to mourn and, through my mourning and broken heart, I went into a dark depression where I had to temporarily isolate myself from the world.  This is what I do, this is what I have always done when something of this magnitude hits me this hard, knocks the breath out of me, brings me to my knees ~ literally and figuratively.  I need these times of dark depression and mourning.  I need time by myself, cut away from the world, where I am temporarily stuck in an all-encompassing grief.  Because, ironically, this is a time of great healing and resolve for myself.  It allows me to make sense of the grief and figure out ways to positively use it.  It allows me solid time with My Father ~ time where everyone/everything else is shut out (for the most part) ~ so that He and I can spend time alone.  It is during these times that I receive clarity and strength.  It is during these times that the Lord shows me what I need to be doing in my life and how I can further bring Him glory by continuing on my journey, to hold steadfast, and not waver from His call on my life. 

This brings me to this ~ my latest blog post. Ever since we adopted Teague, Trenton, and Maclayne from Ukraine in 2011, I have spent countless hours in prayer for the thousands of orphans still in Eastern Europe waiting on, praying for their forever family.  Even more so, I have focused on the countless special needs orphans who are mostly discarded by their countries to live a life of abuse, neglect, and malnourishment. The latter has required more of me:  more time, more prayer, more tears, more heartbreak, more everything.  God has given me a calling, a calling that requires me to be vocal about rising up for the world's special needs orphans in hope that at least one more will become An Orphan No More.  After Putin enacted his cold-hearted adoption ban in Russia, I have been in fear of Putin's evil hand reaching Ukraine.  You see, I know what Putin does to his special needs orphans.  I have seen firsthand:  I have seen the pictures firsthand, I have heard firsthand accounts from families who have adopted from Russia, and I have heard firsthand accounts from the families whom Putin's adoption ban have devastated.  In fact, let me introduce you to one Russian orphan who was born with Down syndrome.  A sweet little boy whom Putin decided was not worthy of a family, a sweet little boy's life whom Putin decided to play an evil god with:

This is beautiful, precious Kyle who was available for adoption prior to Putin's ban.  He was at what appeared to be a good babyhouse being taken care of better than most.  Look at those huge beautiful brown eyes!  His profile from Reece's Rainbow had him listed as a "stunning little boy is of mixed Russian and Middle Eastern descent" who had a "happy and excited" temperament.  A missionary who had met Kyle wrote this about him:  "Slowly but surely Kyle develops new skills: eats without help, learns to walk. Systematic massage, physiotherapy and lessons on development of speech bringing good results. Kyle is a child with special needs, who needs a loving mother, her caring hands. A mother who will help him to adapt to the outside world." 

AND THEN


Russia banned adoptions and Kyle was ultimately transferred to a mental institution in early 2013.  This is the dramatic change that occurred.  This is what PUTIN DOES TO HIS SPECIAL NEEDS ORPHANS.  The story doesn't end there, sadly enough.  In September 2013, we learned that Kyle passed away.  He died an orphan with no hope, no family.  He died severely neglected and abused.  However, the story did not end there, either.  Thankfully, and by God's beautiful Grace, Kyle is in the arms of Jesus.  He ultimately became An Orphan No More in the truest and purest sense.  For that, and only that, I am thankful.  And, I praise God that Kyle is no longer hungry, no longer neglected, no longer abused.  To see Kyle's profile from the Reece's Rainbow website, please click HERE.  


I write all of the above to give you a backdrop on the main message of this blog post:  Orphans Forever ~ Putin's Evil Hand At Work.  A few hours ago, we received word from our stateside facilitator working with us on our adoption of Felix that the adoption authorities in Ukraine are no longer giving out referrals for the orphans in Crimea.  This comes as no surprise and it is what I have been fearing for the last several weeks.  In fact, I imagined that we would receive this very news before the weekend was up after reading the email alert from the US Embassy I received early yesterday morning.  However, it does not lessen the heartbreak that I am feeling.  It actually makes it worse, because now it has officially come to pass. 

Now, I earnestly implore you to start praying for the families and orphans who are being affected by this.  As I wrote on my latest FB post, "There are no words for how hard my heart is breaking and I cannot stop crying...Putin's cold hand at work...Please pray for the families affected by this ~ some were already set to travel in the coming days & weeks. I cannot imagine their pain and loss."  I leave you with information on the orphans from Reece's Rainbow who are being affected by Putin.  (Unfortunately, these are only SOME of the orphans being affected.)  These are the precious children who will remain Orphans Forever if nothing is done.  I pray that these beautiful faces are seared into your heart and that you will unite with me in continued prayer.  Better yet, will you be moved to action?!?  

Please click on the link in the caption of the child's photograph to view their Reece's Rainbow profile.
    

Peggy
http://reecesrainbow.org/73490/peggy
           

Maci
http://reecesrainbow.org/69208/maci


   

    
Jaxon
http://reecesrainbow.org/73494/jaxon
 

Giselle
http://reecesrainbow.org/12884/giselle901



Camille
http://reecesrainbow.org/789/camille904


Violetta
http://reecesrainbow.org/865/violetta902





Yelena
http://reecesrainbow.org/12873/yelena5904
                 
Ethel
http://reecesrainbow.org/63218/ethel    


Burke
http://reecesrainbow.org/53300/burke




             
                 








SPECIAL NEEDS ORPHANS ARE MY HEART AND SOUL, MY PASSION ~ THEY ARE MY MINISTRY.  WILL YOU FIND IT IN YOUR HEART TO LET THE LEAST OF THESE INTO YOUR HEART BY SIMPLY PRAYING FOR THEM??!!??

The Judgment ~ Matthew 25:31-46

31 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; 33 and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you gave Mesomething to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; 36 naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? 38 And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? 39 When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ 40 The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
41 “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; 43 I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ 44 Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not [e]take care of You?’ 45 Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ 46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

Friday, February 28, 2014

A Calling Reaffirmed through T-shirts and Hoodies


As I write this latest blog post, my heart is just bursting with joy.  I am so unbelievably overwhelmed by the beautiful outpouring of love that was just recently shown to my family ~ specifically to Felix!!  It further validates us, a family that has been built through adoption!  It tells us that, YES, many of you trust us and support us in answering the call The Lord has set before us.  You have given us a sure-footed reminder that, with Christ, all things are possible!  Most importantly, you have reaffirmed that when God promises you something, HE WILL FOLLOW THROUGH!

Last night our t-shirt fundraiser through Bonfire Funds ended, after three weeks, at exactly 11:59 CST (believe me, I was diligently watching until the end!).  When it was all said and done, we ended up selling 69 t-shirts & hoodies and raising $1040!!!  Did you catch that?!?

69 t-shirts & hoodies and raising $1040!!!

Even after I have written it in bigger, bolder, and red font, I am still amazed!  I am not so much amazed at the number or the amount of money as I am at the amount of love that went into every single dollar ~ no ~ that went into every single penny.  Our God moved mountains so that the world could see that His children, His precious orphans, deserve the love of a forever family.  They are worthy and they are capable of so much more! 

David and I will never get over the fact of how blessed we are that He would choose us to Go!  And, we will never get over the fact of how blessed we are that so many of our wonderful friends and family are choosing to GO! with us by trusting us enough to lend their support.  Our adoption support is not just through money.  Our adoption support is through prayer, love, the acceptance of our children, encouragement, comforting words, the sharing & re-telling of our story, the lending of a helping hand (figuratively & physically), the lending of a shoulder to cry on when things get rough or overwhelming.  I could go on and on about how support has manifested itself to us.  You see, every ounce of this support has been what it took to build our family and what it took to make our beautiful precious Copeland, Silas, Teague, Trenton, Maclayne, and soon-to-be Felix An Orphan No More!! 

As promised, and in being good stewards to the money that our donors have entrusted us with, this is the breakdown of how the $1040 will be spent for Felix’s US Homeland Security adoption fees:

$720 ~ USCIS Application form fees
$ 85 ~ David’s biometric fees
$ 85 ~ my biometric fees
$150 ~ towards Felix’s $215 in-country medical exam fee

Finally, David and I would like to thank the following people who have donated to Felix’s adoption fund through our t-shirt & hoodie fundraiser:

Linda Wade ~ TX                             Anonymous ~ TX
Ginger Lambert ~ TX                      Barbara Balthrop ~ TX      
Jeri Newman ~ TX                          Shirley Bowman ~ TX 
Heather Farester ~ VA                    Laura Homan ~ TX
Sherri Hamby ~ TX                        Beth Brennan ~ TX  
Cindy Cregar ~ MD                         Kelsey Cregar ~ MD
Anonymous ~ TX                           April Jurisch ~ TX 
Brenda Baswell ~ AL                      Clydene Moore ~ TX      
Peggy McAdams ~ TX                   Kayla Groen
Danni & Rhaya Edison ~ TX          Kristen Abel ~ TX
Mistie Sutko ~ TX                          Dandy Fleming ~ TX        
Colleen Salinas ~ TX                      Sandra Lizcano ~ LA
Katy Pyle ~ LA                             Ann Lee ~ TX
Stacie Lee Mercer ~ TX                 Charlette Flowers ~ TX  
Carol Miller ~ NC                          Anonymous ~ TX 
Mary Anne McCartney ~ TX        Colleen Krizak ~ TX          
Rhonda Jackson ~ TX                   Heather Woodall ~ TX   
Heather Johnson ~ TX                  Reby Lawler ~ TX              
Anonymous ~ TX                       Cordelia (Cordie) Everman ~ TN
Shirley Massey ~ TX                   Keshia Melton ~ New Zealand
Wesley Barnett ~ MS


The fees above are being paid for because each of you willingly chose to love Felix and each of you wanted to give him the chance that every child deserves:  the chance to be loved and supported by a forever family and countless friends.  For that, our wonderful friends, we are forever humbled and blessed!  Thank you!

Isaiah’s Commission

Then I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” Then I said, “Here am I. Send me!” 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Weeping Wednesday ~ Velia: The Orphan Girl Who Cries As I Weep

I have decided that, each Wednesday, I will spotlight an orphan from the Reece's Rainbow website that is in desperate need of a family to come rescue him or her.  These regular segments will be referred to as my "Weeping Wednesday" blog posts.  It is my prayer, my hope that someone reading these posts will be moved to action and start praying about adopting one or more of these precious orphans "Because every family deserves the blessing of a child with Down syndrome..." (Reece's Rainbow).

WEEPING WEDNESDAY POST #1
VELIA:  THE ORPHAN GIRL WHO CRIES AS I WEEP

         


I have chosen to spotlight Velia as my first Weeping Wednesday orphan.  This precious child was born in August 2000.  She has both Down syndrome and Cerebral Palsy.  The decision to choose Velia as the first spotlighted child was only natural because I fell in love with Velia over a year ago as I was on the Reece's Rainbow website one night praying for this beautiful organization and ministry and for all of the orphans (as a collective group) on the site.  As I was praying, my finger accidentally scrolled across my laptop's mouse pad and Velia's page popped up.  Was this just an "accident" that her page came up?  No.  Was it something more?  Yes!  

The first thing I noticed was that she did not have a Prayer Warrior through Reece's Rainbow's Prayer Warrior Program and it broke my heart.  She did not have someone committed to pray for her on a daily basis.  How could this be?  Velia, a precious child of God, deserved to have someone in her corner falling to his/her knees to intercede on her behalf.  So, I realized that the "accidental" swipe of my hand as I was praying for RR was not a mere accident. It was a Divine Appointment to make Velia a part of my life.  Therefore, to become her Prayer Warrior, I clicked the link to get signed up.  (Click HERE to find out how you can become a Prayer Warrior for a waiting orphan!)  Lo and behold, the very next day I got the confirmation email that I was assigned as Velia's new Prayer Warrior!  And, believe me, it has been an honor and a joy to pray for her regularly. 

The second thing I noticed were the two pictures of Velia.  These pictures broke my heart as well. She has such a look of desperation and sadness in her eyes.  Her eyes are almost empty because she spends the majority of her day confined to her crib crying.  This is what someone who has met her said:  "She was in an almost empty room, just with another child next to her. She was rocking and gnawing at the bars of the cot and such a sad sight to behold.  My heart just collapsed for her!"  MY heart collapsed for her!  It immediately reminded me of what Maclayne had to endure the first 3 1/2 years of her life before David and I could bring her home.  Perhaps this is another reason why I am so drawn to Velia.  That was the first time I wept for Velia, my new Prayer Warrior Child.

The third thing I noticed was that there was a another website linked to her RR page.  I clicked on it and was redirected to "Happy Child" a foundation dedicated to finding families for the sick and special needs orphans in Zaporozhye, the area of her country in which she lives.  There I saw more pictures, read more information, and saw a video of her.  These things also collapsed my heart!  It was the second time I wept for Velia. (Click HERE to be redirected to this page.)

And I will continue to weep until Velia has the one gift every child deserves...the gift we so often take for granted...the precious gift of a FAMILY to call her own.

Click HERE to view her page on the Reece's Rainbow website.  Better yet, click HERE to vote for her to be one of the featured children in the RR 21 Days of Hope Campaign!  If she receives enough votes to become one of the 21 featured children, it could allow her to receive more money for her grant fund!!

Friends, readers of my blog, I implore you to join me in sharing Velia's story.  Join me in telling others about her.  Join me in being her voice!  Join me in praying for her on a daily basis.  Join me in helping to find her a forever family.  Join me in weeping for Velia, the crying orphan.  Do not let her cries go unnoticed any longer!  Help me silence those tears by bringing her a forever family who will dry those tears through their love!  That will change her cries into the most beautiful sound that comes from a child:  LAUGHTER!

From The Beatitudes
"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh." ~ Luke 6:21