TEAM BARNETT ADOPTION 2014 ~ Felix's Heroes Wall

The following people have graciously donated to our adoption fund and have made Greta, Felix, & Romeo one step closer to becoming "An Orphan No More"!
Greta's, Felix's, & Romeo'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 Rivas Fleming ~ TX; Colleen Salinas ~ TX; Katy Pyle ~ LA; Sandra Lizcano ~ LA; Reby Lawler ~ TX; Charlette Flowers ~ TX; Mary Anne McCartney ~ TX; 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; Anonymous ~ TX; Debbie Goff ~ TX; Jamie Discher ~ TX; Carol Miller Wise ~ NC; Cherrisa Shelton ~ TX; Sheilah Chisum ~ NM; Debbie Marks ~ OH; The Stokes Family ~ TX; Wanda Oldag ~ TX; Lisa Smith ~ OH; Michelle Hughes ~ VA;
Reece's Rainbow: Andrea Roberts, Nancy Thornell, Debbie Hannon, Michelle Zoromski, & Lucille Brown

Friday, October 14, 2011

In-country Post # 5: The Boys' Gotcha Day Update

Their Gotcha Day is less than 48 hours away!!

Such happiness all around as our family will officially be joined by our rambunctious Teague and Trenton on Sunday!  Last night, we were given such good news from one of our facilitators here in Ukraine.  She called to tell us that ALL of the children's passports will be in today; sooner than we expected.

We were expecting a significant delay with Maclayne's passport because of regional bureaucracy.  David and I immediately started praying that God would intervene so that her passport would come in with the boys'.  Our facilitator told us that if we didn't get Maclayne's passport with the boys' on Monday, then she would start working on "Plan B".  The last thing she told us on Wednesday was to begin praying now and not to stop until Monday.

To be honest, we were a little nervous about Maclayne's passport being delayed.  But as I posted on my Facebook page, who am I to think that God would allow something as small as a passport get in the way of bringing all three of our children home?!?  Besides, He was the One who had called us to travel to a foreign country and adopt three special needs orphans.

It only took one prayer by David and me to be reminded that He is not only faithful, but He also delights in the prayers of His people (Proverbs 15:8b).  Ironically, I count the following verses from Jeremiah 29 among my favorites:  
12Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will
    listen to you.
13You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all 
   your heart.

Will I ever learn?!?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

In-country Post # 4: Maclayne's GOTCHA DAY!!!!

This post is going to be very short and sweet with a promise to give more details in tomorrow's post.  The adoptions of all three of our children are finalized and we are just waiting for their passports to come in.  With God's grace, they will be in no later than Monday.  Since we have to wait until then to travel to Kiev for the last leg of our trip, we could not wait for our precious daughter's childhood to begin.

Her childhood began at this moment
At 4 pm local time, the emotional journey we have been on for 11 months partially came to the end as a new one started.  The day we and countless others have been praying for was beautifully answered by God as we walked our precious daughter through the gates of her orphanage never to return. 

At 4 pm local time, our Maclayne Faith was carried into her childhood by her mama and daddy.  Tonight she will, for the first time, sleep securely and peacefully encircled in our love.  David and I will sleep securely and peacefully knowing that our daughter will awaken to the love that she has waited three years for. 

Our precious gift from God
[As soon as the children's passports come in, we will have Teague's and Trenton's Gotcha Day.  The apartment we are staying in is too small for two rambunctious boys and we do not know how many more days we will be in this region.  We will continue to visit them and pray that the passports come in sooner than expected.]

Thursday, October 6, 2011

In-country Post # 3: Illnesses Update

Oh, what a difference a day makes!  Oh, what hundreds of prayers can do!  I am so happy to report that we are all feeling so much better!  David's antibiotics have done their job and he is on the tail end of his sinus infection.  I am actually feeling better since I've gotten a few more hours of sleep under my belt.  The weather is feeling better; it is sunny and in the mid-70s during the day.  And the most important news, the news everyone honestly wants to read about concerns our precious Maclayne Faith....

Since we knew that Maclayne would probably still be very sick, we decided that during this visit David would, once again, take the boys outside to play and I would stay inside to rock Maclayne and give her as much love as I possibly could during our visit.  However, when we got to the orphanage for our afternoon visit, Maclayne was feeling so much better and you could literally see it in her tiny little face.  We noticed that she also looked better than she has since we got here last Thursday. 

Trenton playing on the slide
True to our visiting hour’s routine, David went to Teague's groupa to pick him up as I went to Trenton's and Maclayne's groupa.  As I entered their groupa room, I called out to “Tihon” and “Leeza” (we decided that we would wait until "Gotcha Day" to use the names we have given them).  Immediately, Trenton ran over to me giggling and pointing to the door as he made his grunting noise indicating, "Let’s go!"  I picked him up in my arms and started kissing his chubby little cheeks and neck while he continued pointing at the door and grunting louder and louder.  He is always on a mission to try to get as far away as he can from his caregivers.  I told him to wait because I needed to see about his sister and that "Papa" would be coming in a little while with his brother to go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. 

One of the nice caregivers, who actually has compassion, came over to me and told me through broken English and charades that "Leeza" was no longer sick and that it would be okay to take her outside with the boys.  She continued to tell me that Maclayne actually ate her lunch and was alert.  This was the news that we so desperately wanted to hear.  While the caregiver and I were talking to each other, Maclayne recognized my voice and started screaming, crying, and scooting like crazy in her playpen.  I figured out immediately that this was her way of telling me she wanted her mama to know she was in her playpen and wanted to be picked up! 

A smile truly is worth a thousand words
When I went to her, she gave me the most beautiful radiant smile and, while patting my face, she started cooing.  My heart jumped for joy because I knew the sweet little sounds coming from my daughter were meant just for me.  This sweet moment shared between mother and daughter was the culmination of God's powerful hand at work.  Once again, I was a witness to Maclayne's strong will to live and her ability to fight whatever is thrown at her.  To see how sick she was just two days ago and to see her at that moment, it was almost like I was seeing two different children.  All I could do was smile and whisper to her that God loves her more than her mama and daddy could ever dream of loving her, but that it will be through our love that she will know of His love. 

Teague giggling
David soon showed up with Teague who was giggling and singing because he was with his daddy.  I kissed him on the cheek and it just made him giggle even more.  Oh how the sounds of my beautiful children warm my heart!  And how blessed I am to know that the grunting, cooing, singing, and giggling are meant just for us:  their mama and daddy who cannot wait to bring them home to their brothers, Copeland and Silas.

Having a "conversation" with our daughter
The boys swinging

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

In-country Post # 2: Illnesses

The past few days have not been that great.  David is sick with a horrible sinus infection.  His head and face are hurting pretty bad.  He went on the internet yesterday and put "antibiotic" in Google Translate to find the Ukrainian word for it.  This language kills us because they do not use standard letters in their alphabet.  Their alphabet consists of symbols and a few backward English letters.  So, there is no way we can even attempt to get a message across!

Anyway, he wrote (actually drew) out the Ukrainian word for "antibiotic."  Then after last night's visit with the children, we walked to the store to buy a few groceries and to go to the drug store that is in the market area.  He showed the clerk his "artwork" and she gave him a box.  In her broken English, she told him to take one pill each day for the next three days.  The antibiotic that she gave him is equivalent to the Z-pack back home.  The pills are HUGE, though!

I woke up feeling a little bad this morning, but I honestly think it is because I am so exhausted.  Our days and nights are still messed up and we've been here almost a week.  Plus, when we do go to bed, I end up tossing and turning most of the night.  If I do end up drifting to sleep, I have really weird dreams that do not allow for a restful sleep.  I did get my flu shot before I left, so I should be protected on that end.

Our sweet precious baby girl is really sick, though.  When we went for yesterday's afternoon visit, Maclayne was burning up with fever.  The caregivers communicated in broken English and charades that she had a very bad cold.  Understandably, they wouldn't let me take her out of the groupa room.  So, David took the boys outside (it was really sunny yesterday, but pretty chilly) to play and I stayed with Maclayne.  It is so pitiful to see my daughter looking and feeling that way.  I wanted so badly to take her with me when visiting hours were over.  She needed more than an hour's worth of loving from her mother.

While I was with her, the nurse came in and gave her a shot; we assume it was an antibiotic shot.  She also gave Maclayne a dosage of oral medicine to bring her fever down.  The caregiver who took Maclayne from my arms to hold her down while the nurse visited was not the most gentle.  Suffice it to say, my baby was screaming not only because of the shot, but also from the manner in which she was being handled by the caregiver.  It took every ounce of my being not to say anything.  We cannot afford to rock the boat and jeopardize our adoptions. 

I just kept praying for Maclayne and reminding myself that in only six more days, we will get to liberate her and the boys from the orphanage to start their new lives with their family.  I also must remember (constantly) that God has held her from the moment she was born and has blessed her with a strong will to live and a fighting spirit to endure whatever is thrown at her.  She will always be my hero.

This morning's visit was worse than yesterday's, but I honestly cannot say anything about it now.  I'm pretty emotional just writing the paragraphs above.  I will write an update tomorrow to give account of what happened today.  In the meantime, please pray for our beautiful tiny Maclayne Faith. Please ask God to heal her quickly and to endure the few reaming days in the orphanage.

Maclayne the afternoon before she got so sick

Thursday, September 29, 2011

In-country Post #1: ALL THREE ADOPTIONS GRANTED!!!!!

Wooohooo!!!!  God is so wonderful and mighty!!  He has been in control this whole time and has provided everything that we have needed to make our adoptions a reality.  His power and strength was shown and His spirit was felt by David and me in an Ukrainian court today.

The judge granted all three of our adoptions at 1:25 pm local time (5:25 am CST)!!!!!  It is official, we will be bringing our beautiful children home to start their new life with us:  THEIR FAMILY!!!  They are now brothers and sister and have two more brothers waiting at home for them.

I will give more details later on, but I could not wait to post this!!  I'm still an emotional wreck...the good kind of emotional wreck, though!!!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Stateside Post # 4: The BEST News Out of Ukraine!!!!


We will be leaving for Ukraine this coming Tuesday morning and will arrive in our children's region early Wednesday evening.  We will be in court on Thursday at 11 am (3 am CST)!!!!  If all goes as planned, we should be home with our three beautiful children by mid-October!!!

We were hoping that we would be home with our children by Trenton's 3rd birthday on September 27, but we have prayed for God's timing.  Now we will get to have a mini-celebration with him after court on the 29th and let him know he will have a HUGE birthday party when we get home.  We also plan to give Teague and Maclayne belated birthday parties in the weeks to come; we may even give them birthday parties every month for a while; we have missed birthday parties to make up!

Oh, God is sooo wonderful, powerful, mighty, loving, faithful, amazing....  David and I still cannot believe that He loved us enough to give us the most precious gift of four adopted sons and one adopted daughter.  Words cannot express how blessed and honored we are that four of the children He gave us have Down syndrome.

I will post more details when they come about.  Please continue to pray for us and both our children in Ukraine and our children here.  Thank you for giving us such heartfelt support over the past months.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Stateside Post # 3: Better News from Ukraine!!!

Praise God, the Perfector of our faith!!  We received an email yesterday concerning our very soon return trip to Ukraine.  As I stated in the last update, there were some issues with a few documents for our children that needed to be ironed out before the SDA would sign off on the adoptions.  Our WONDERFUL facilitators in Ukraine worked very hard and diligently to straighten everything out in the shortest amount of time as possible.

Last week, the corrected documents were submitted to the SDA for permission to adopt our beautifully precious Maclayne, Teague, and Trenton.  Our facilitators advocated for both our children and us.  The SDA signed off on the documents and approved us to adopt our babies!!!

Our dossier and other paperwork are being submitted the region courts where our children are.  We hope to get notice of our court date by week's end.  There is a very real chance that we will be returning to Ukraine the latter part of next week.  We are so anxious to hold each of our children in our arms and once again smother them with hugs and kisses.  With God's Provision, this time next month we will either be on our way back to San Antonio with OUR children or already home.

God is so wonderful and mighty.  We praise and thank Him several times daily for the gift of all five of our children:  Copeland Shane, Silas Eli, Teague Josiah, Maclayne Faith, and Trenton James.  David and I are so proud of our family and we love telling others about our adoption journey.

I'm still in shock that God has given me a daughter when I only wanted boys.  And, I admit, I am EXCITED about it!!! 

By the way, below are the "before" pictures of our children; the only ones that we had for several months.  Wow, soooo much has changed!!!!  

Teague Josiah - NO longer "Igor"
Maclayne Faith - NO longer "Leeza"
Trenton James - NO longer "Tihon"

Friday, September 16, 2011

Stateside Post # 2: Info from Ukraine

There were some technical issues that needed to be taken care of before our dossier and other required court documents could be submitted to the courts.  Another reason for the court delay was because the judges in our children’s region had been out on holiday.

We just received word from our facilitators in Ukraine that our dossier and other court documents should be submitted to the courts sometime next week.  If everything is submitted next week as planned, we will more than likely get notice of a court date by the end of the week.  This is pure speculation on my part, but our court date could be sometime the first week of October.  There is also a chance that the court date could be during the last week of September.

We definitely want our court date to be the soonest possible, but we are praying for God's will and timing.  Please pray that His timing IS for our court date to be the last week in September.  And, with God's grace, we should be home with our precious Sunshine, Musical Daddy's Boy, and Escape Artist by this time next month!!! 

Thank you for all of the wonderful prayers lifted up on our family's account.  We are so blessed to have so many wonderful friends play such a significant role in our adoption journey.  We love all of y'all!

This was taken during our last visit before we returned to the States

Beautiful Maclayne during the last visit

The boys during the last visit

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stateside Post # 1: Waiting...waiting...waiting...

Since we have been home, I have sat at my computer countless times trying to wrap my head around what exactly needs to be said in this blog update, only to walk away feeling overwhelmed at the task before me.  The reason that it has taken me so long to write an update was because words that usually flowed so freely from my mind, were not there…at least not any good ones.  Ask David and he will tell you, "my wife is a true English and Writing teacher who loves to write, but at the same time takes the written word very seriously.  She is also, sometimes to a default, a perfectionist.  She will not allow anyone to read her writings unless all i's have been dotted and all t's have been crossed [I often add the words "both literally and figuratively" to that last statement – thank you very much!!!]." 

Before I continue, I must make it perfectly clear that David is in no way at fault for me not updating our blog.  He has dropped a million subtle hints about updating the blog since we landed back on American soil.  Of course, these hints did not matter because I have been in search of the perfect piece since September 4th and remained adamant about not posting anything until words would flow from my thoughts.  I wonder why I have yet to complete the novel series (yes, you just read SERIES) I have been working on for a few years now.   All of that changed this morning…

This morning was the first day of a women’s Bible study over Jonah that my church is having.  I really wanted to join the Bible study, but I knew it wouldn’t be very practical since David and I are in the middle of adopting Teague, Maclayne, and Trenton; and when I say “middle” I mean middle!  We have come home from our first visit to Ukraine and are awaiting news about our second trip.  Although we have a tentative date of 9/22 to return to Ukraine, we really have no idea when we will be returning.  (God really blessed us with a great round trip itinerary from Ukraine to SA and SA to Ukraine that will only cost a little over $100 to have the dates changed!) 

God really laughed when I played the “adoption card” as an excuse to not join the Bible study.  He, and not so subtly I must add, told me that He has things to tell me about our family through the study over Jonah.  This goes without saying, but I could not say “no” to God since He is the one that has so perfectly built David’s and my family.  From the moment He gave us Copeland through an adoption that only He could have orchestrated, we knew that He desired us to grow our family and our ministry/service to Him through adoption.  Three years ago, he added “Down syndrome” to the word adoption as He brought our precious Silas to us.  Then, last November He added the words “Orphan” to adoption and Down syndrome.  By mid-December, He added an “s” to the word orphan.  So, it was abundantly clear that our obedience to Him must include service/outreach concerning DOWN SYNDROME, ORPHANS, and ADOPTION.  Our ministry will not stop once we bring Teague, Maclayne, and Trenton home. 

God made that abundantly clear to David and me as we have continued to pray about the special needs ministry we want to start that will reach out to individuals with DS, their families, and their church families through the love of Christ.  We desire to minister to both the churched and un-churched.  The un-churched, of course, will be taught of the love of Jesus Christ and the necessity of having a personal relationship with Him and a support system that will grow them in Christ.  The churched will be ministered to in a variety of ways.  It could be through education, respite care, specific resources, inclusion in differing church classes/activities, training of church workers who will be involved with special needs members and their families, etc.

So, as you can see, God has A LOT in store for David and me.  It became abundantly clear to me that He has chosen this Bible study over Jonah as another way to speak to me.  How did this great realization finally hit me over the head?  Let me count the ways:  1.  I called the church yesterday a few minutes before 5 pm to “sign up” in hopes that it would either be too late to sign up or the church office would have already closed.  2.  I would need childcare during the Bible study times and it would be too late to reserve a spot for Silas.  3.  I would miss SO MUCH of the study while David and I were back in Ukraine.  4.  For once in my life, I could not think of any back-up excuses and justifications as to why I couldn’t join the study!   

Needless to say, the church office was not closed, there was still room in the class, Silas was added to the childcare list, I will be able to access the Bible study online while we are in Ukraine, and God FREEZED my brain for 24 hours so I could not possibly come up with any excuses/justifications!

So, Jonah and learning to navigate a life interrupted here I come!  You know, I have always enjoyed fishing and David grew up deep sea fishing, so maybe I’ll be able to pass on a few nuggets to him while I’m in the belly of the whale with Jonah!       

On another note, there is no news out of Ukraine as of today.  There are a few documents that are being completed in order for us to have a court date.  As soon as we get the court date, I will definitely post it on here.  We are praying that it will be VERY SOON because it was really hard having to leave our babies in Ukraine and return to the States empty handed.  We are trusting in God’s timing and praying, praying, praying…

Monday, August 29, 2011

Traveling Post # 12: Our Beautiful Sunshine and My Hero

Reece's Rainbow picture

What not to say about Maclayne Faith?  This precious little girl was seared into my heart the first time I saw her picture on the Reece’s Rainbow website.  When we first decided to adopt Teague and Trenton, I made it my mission to not only pray for our two boys, but to also pray for the tiny little girl with both Down syndrome and Fetal Alcohol syndrome at their orphanage.  It never crossed my mind to inquire about adopting her because David and I was content with raising boys only.  In fact, I have always made it a point to tell others that there would be NO WAY that I would want to and no way I could ever be the mother of a girl.  It’s funny how God works.  Little did I know that all those times I was down on my knees praying and asking God to prepare the heart of the mommy who would come rescue and adopt this little angel, it was my heart He was preparing.

David and I were about a month into committing to our boys when I had had enough of the “nagging thoughts” to inquire about the cost of adopting her.  In my mind, I was inquiring because I had taken on the mission of finding her mommy and I needed this “important” information on her so that I could advocate for her.  Plus, I knew that the newly inquired information would eliminate David and me from bringing her home altogether because there would be no way we could afford to adopt another child, let alone a girl!

June 2011
About two and a half weeks before Christmas, I sent Andrea an email asking about Leeza and the cost of adopting her with “other children”.  For some reason, I started the email off by telling Andrea that David and I weren’t committing to adopt her, I was just wondering how much it more it would cost to adopt her along with Teague and Trenton.  As soon as I hit the send button, I realized what I was really asking.  I choose to take the out of sight out of mind approach and forget that I had sent the email.  And when Andrea responded, I would promptly thank her for the information and tell her that I was trying my hardest to find a family for the little girl.   

Again, it’s funny how God works.  During the few days it took before Andrea responded to the email, almost every thought I had was about this sweet little girl.  Every time I saw a mother and her daughter it would make me smile and leave me with thoughts of just how lucky they both were.  Each time I saw the colors pink and purple, I would think how sweet it would be to decorate a little girl’s room in those colors.  Each time I saw an outfit for a little girl, I would look for socks and bows to match the outfit. 

August 22, 2011
Finally, Andrea’s response came to my in box and I found myself opening the email just as fast as I could.  The magical words that my heart was secretly yearning for were now wide open for my mind to read.  This precious little girl had enough money in her grant fund and that it would not cost a dime more to add her to our adoption of Teague and Trenton.  I started bawling and called David at work.  I was actually in my car driving to pick Silas up from his school and David told me to calm down, pull over, and then call him back.  When I called him back I could barely tell him the news.  He was quiet for several seconds when he finally asked me if this is really what I wanted to do.  I told him that God had opened all the doors leading us to bring her home with our boys.  

During the next eight months, it was Maclayne who we prayed for the most because she was the most fragile.  There were hundreds of times that these prayers and thoughts would leave me in tears because I knew what my precious daughter had to endure in her short little life.  My heart was broken over and over again.  A few times, my worry left me physically sick.  David was much stronger than I was when it came to our baby girl.  He told me over and over that we needed to trust that God was taking care of her.  I would always counter with a simple “I do trust in God.”  David would tell me all over again, “no, we need to trust that God is taking care of her.”  To hear these words were pretty ironic because God has always equipped me with a strong faith in Him and in His will.

Holding her for the 1st time
On the day when I finally got to hold my precious, beautiful daughter, I fully understood how God was taking care of our Maclayne.  Our mighty wonderful Savior had equipped this tiny nine pound three year old little girl with a will so strong that it could bring even the most seasoned adults to shame.  And, in a way, it did bring me to shame as I thought, “my little girl knew that she needed to fight.”  God had equipped her with a faith that she has yet to understand in order to live through the days of neglect and abuse that she did not deserve.  Maclayne taught me the true meaning of the childlike faith Jesus preached about.  For I am thankful that "[her] angels in heaven continually [saw] the face of [the] Father who is in heaven" (Matthew 18:10b).
August 27, 2011

So, when I think of our little Maclayne Faith two thoughts immediately come to the forefront of my mind:  she is our Beautiful Sunshine and she is my hero.  And her “Gotcha Day” will be the first day of my Beautiful Sunshine’s childhood.  The childhood that had been withheld from her for over three years.

Laughing with my Sunshine

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Traveling Post # 11: Our Musical Daddy's Boy

Reece's Rainbow picture

What can be said about our precious Teague?  First of all, he is the polar opposite of Trenton.  In all of the pictures we had seen of him, from the two Reece’s Rainbow pictures to the Miller and Hagler pictures, he looked very quiet and low-key.  When we finally got to meet our sweet little boy on August 22, his pictures did not lie.

Immediate Daddy's Boy
In walked a very quiet and shy little boy holding the hand of his caregiver; he did not stray very far from the security of her hand and leg.  Then, once again, a magical moment that only God could orchestrate happened.  The orphanage Director told him in Ukrainian, “Igor, this is your Mama and Papa.”  Immediately, he looked up, with his eyes shining, and went straight to his Papa.  David scooped him in his arms and kissed his cheek.  The whole time David was holding Teague, our little boy was making a happy humming sound and patting David’s back.  When David sat down with Teague in his lap, it was like Teague had finally found his place after a four year search.

When David finally handed him to me, Teague giggled.  I started kissing him all over his face and neck and his giggling turned into pure laughter.  I started singing “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” and used his hands as the spider.  As soon as I did this, his sweet little laughter turned back into humming as he swayed a little to my off-key singing.  It was at that moment we realized just how much our Teague loves music.

When it was time to be taken back to his groupa, David and I both hugged and kissed him.  It was, however, David’s touch that made Teague the happiest.  It was then that I realized just how much of a Daddy’s Boy our precious Teague was going to be.

Listening to a favorite song
Over the last few days, Teague has stayed true to picture and personality form.  He is still quiet and low-key, but is starting to come out of his shell more and more.  One thing that has helped more than anything is David playing music on his iPhone and allowing Teague to hold it.  When certain songs come on that he likes, Teague places the iPhone under his chin and will sway to the music.  We have also realized just how clever our little man is because it did not take him long to figure out that if he touched the iPhone screen, he could see different pictures. 

We have gotten the greatest joy out of seeing Teague’s desire to be our son simply because he is feeling more and more secure with us as his Mama and Papa.  All it takes to brighten him up is to ask, “Where’s Papa?”  We are blessed to know that he will always be our perfect Musical Daddy’s Boy.

Happily swinging

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Traveling Post # 10: Our Mischievous Escape Artist

Reece's Rainbow picture

Wow, what to say about Trenton James.  From the moment we saw his picture on the Reece’s Rainbow website, we knew he was a mess.  Then the updated pictures of him came from the Haglers and the Millers who were adopting children from the same orphanage.  True to picture character, our thoughts of him being a mess were still being confirmed.  Anyone viewing the pictures could see that ever so small glint in his eyes that gave him away.

The day that we had been waiting an eternity for came and, once again, our suspicions were confirmed.  On Monday, August 22, 2011 we met our little Escape Artist who we had been praying for sinc
e November 2010.  Immediately, we were able to see the ever so slight gleam in our son’s eyes that had only been noticed in pictures.  He walked in like he owned the place and we were just another mother and father who were visiting his orphanage.

Giving his mama a "high five"
The caregiver who brought him to us told him to give me a “high five” and he walked over to me and held his hand up to slap my hand.  After we had exchanged the high five, the biggest grin appeared on his face and the sweetest little giggle escaped from his mouth.  He then kissed his hand and threw me the kiss as walked over to the orphanage Director’s desk to grab something off of it.  David and I let him do his own thing, knowing that he would eventually warm up to us and know that we were his parents.

Then the magical moment that only God could orchestrate occurred.  His caregiver told him that we were his Mama and Papa.  Our sweet little Trenton turned around and came to me with his arms up.  I picked him up and started kissing him all over his face and neck.  The whole time he ha
d his arms around my neck and giggled.  I then handed him to David and his little chubby arms went around David’s neck.

He is up to something
Our Mischievous Escape Artist’s gleam shifted ever so slightly at that moment.  He continues to make his caregivers run around in circles with his stubborn antics, but the new gleam in his eyes is now one of security directed at us, HIS MAMA AND PAPA.

Trying to escape

Friday, August 26, 2011

Traveling Post # 9: Our Children part 2

Here are a few pictures of Maclayne from today.  I'll post more tomorrow of all three of our beautiful children.  I'm very tired and in need of more than a couple hours of sleep.  So, I'm now going to bed praying that I'll be able to sleep deeply.

As promised, I'll start posting about the children on an individual basis after our morning visit with them tomorrow.  It's amazing how each of them are really growing in our love each day.  It is a beautiful thing to witness them blossom.  God is so good!

Our precious Maclayne Faith
I never knew just how wonderful it would be to have a daughter
What a blessing it is to be able to kiss such sweet lips

Traveling post # 8: Our CHILDREN!!!!

Uggghhhh, it has been frustrating because we have been without internet since last Saturday...almost a whole week!  It is interesting how much we rely on technology each day, actually each hour.  I am truly a child of the digital age.  The timing of our literal disconnect from the world could not have come at a worse time. The most important part of our trip, meeting our children for the first time, and we have the bad misfortune of not being able to post pictures and brag about our beautiful Teague, Maclayne, and Trenton.

I will post information and more pictures of the children individually, but for is what everyone has been waiting for!  Please let me introduce you to Teague Josiah Barnett, Maclayne Faith Barnett, and Trenton James Barnett:

Overwhelmed with 9 months of emotion
Our precious daughter, Maclayne Faith

Holding our precious youngest son, Trenton James
Trenton's mischievous grin...he is always up to something!

Holding our precious Teague Josiah

A true daddy's boy!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Traveling Post # 7: Our apartment (the inside)

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

After we went tin to our actual apartment, we were quite surprised.  The inside of our apartment is really nice.  (This made me feel even worse for my selfish thoughts).  Niko did tell us, though, not to answer our door for anyone.  He said that if it was him or any of our facilitators, they would call us.  He told us that this is for our safety. 

Our apartment has one bedroom, one bathroom, a small kitchen, and a small living room.  There is a built in desk in the living room and a good sized TV and is furnished.  I really like the small balcony off of the bedroom.  There is plenty of room to have a little patio set.  I’ve noticed that most people do sit on their balconies in the evenings.  There is always a breeze blowing and it is very relaxing.

This would be a great apartment for a single person or a couple with no children.  Not that God needed to answer my selfish prayer, I was glad that the inside of the apartment turned out to be nice.  Maybe He felt that our apartment did not need to be a distraction and that I needed to stay focused on the reason we are really here.  All I can do is thank Him and ask forgiveness for being so selfish.  I know that He has called us here to adopt our children and that He will sustain us.

Traveling Post # 6: Our apartment (the building)

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

When David and I reached our apartment around 8:30 pm, we were worried.  The outside of the building is really run down and there is graffiti sprayed everywhere.  There were also several rough looking men with no shirts on sitting by the door to the apartment building drinking and smoking.  They were talking rather loud until we walked by.  They all stopped talking and watched us as Niko opened the building door so we could go inside.

Once we were inside, our worry grew.  The inside of the building is very old and rundown.  There is a very musty smell.  The water pipes and electricity wires are out in the open.  The lights that work are light bulbs swinging from their sockets attached to bare wires.  They do not provide much lighting at all.  The building reminded me of the pictures I have seen of old Russian buildings pre-WWII.   The walls are painted in old hospital green.

For a split second, I questioned myself as to why we were here.  Immediately, though, I got that out of my head.  I focused on our children and the conditions that they have always lived in and what their future living conditions will be if we did not come for them.  They would be sent to a mental institution that is probably a hundred times worse.  I know for a fact that if my sweet Maclayne was transferred, she would not last six months.  I am ashamed that I even had that split second thought.  Who am I to complain about something as little as this when this is a necessary step to bringing our precious children home?  

Teague, Trenton, and Maclayne:  please forgive your mother for doubting.  I love each of you more than words can express and I promise that I would do anything and endure anything for my sweet children.  We will all be together soon.

Traveling Post # 5: getting settled in Kiev

[Note:  I wrote this after we finally got to our apartment in Kiev, the night before our SDA appointment, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

I am finally able to sit down and have time to completely update our blog.  It has been crazy around here getting settled for the few days we will be in Kiev and getting everything together for our adoption process.  When we were met at the airport by our driver, Niko, it was go! go! go!

I really like Niko.  As we were driving into Kiev from the airport, he made sure we were okay.  He told us what the next few days would be like for us.  We were given a cell to use while we are in-country.  The phone had all of our facilitators’ numbers in it.  We will also use the phone to call and stay in touch with the other Reece’s Rainbow families who are also in Ukraine.  He also told us some of the history of Kiev.  He also told us the landmarks that we drove by. 

Our first stop was to pick up our keys for our apartment.  Our apartment was already arranged by Yulia.  We stayed in the car as Niko went to pick up the keys and get the address.  David and I had a fun time watching all of the drivers trying to get the best parking spaces.  It was pretty much a duel to the end with the driver actually willing to crash into the other car being the winner.  The number of car horns going off, it was a symphony.  It really reminded me of Buenos Aires, Argentina. 

The next stop was to a grocery store to pick up some necessary items.  Forget the Super Wal-Marts and the Super HEB stores, the grocery stores here are like the local stores of small towns back in the 80s.  For those of you who are old Frisco, the store we went into looked exactly like Henry’s, but about half the size.  It was more the size of Douglas’s.  This made me smile as I remembered the times that Shane, Stacie, and I would walk down to Douglas’s to get candy or a coke.  Then we would get a snow cone from Mary, before she was dubbed the “Snow Cone Lady.” 

You may laugh about this, but since we are on a VERY tight budget we brought granola bars, peanut butter crackers, instant oatmeal, Ramen noodles, and a ton of peanut butter.  This is what we plan to live on for the next few weeks.  Our menu for the coming days reminds us of college.  Besides, all this fiber will be good for us.

We only bought water (the water here is unsafe to drink), a quart of milk for our oatmeal, and bread.  Niko kept showing us things to buy saying that we would be hungry later.  We told him that we brought food and that these items would be enough.  We are still in budget: the food cost 30₴ which is about $3.75.

Word of warning:  the store bought milk in Ukraine IS NOT like American store bought milk, it tastes more like buttermilk.  They must not homogenize their milk like we do.  David doesn’t think it’s that bad, but I do.  It doesn’t taste too bad in oatmeal, though.

Now, on to our apartment!!!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Traveling Post # 4: Still en route

[Note:  I wrote this after we got to our apartment in Kiev, but didn’t get a chance to post it until now.]

The flight from Munich to Kiev did not start out very good.  First of all, the flight was overbooked and it was very crowded.  Secondly, the whole plane smelled of horrible body odor; I was literally sick to my stomach for most of the flight.  Thirdly, a man who was sitting across the aisle from us didn’t think we should have our seats.  There was an older man, perhaps the other man’s father, sitting in the last seat on our row.  The son must have thought his father should have the whole row.  I had my boarding pass in my right hand and the son grabbed it to see if we really had these seats.  He said something loud and obviously offensive in Ukrainian because the people around us suddenly looked up.  The son kept speaking Ukrainian as he waved his hand at us to move on and several times he said, “it’s okay it’s okay.”  The father was going to get up and let us in the aisle, but the son spoke very loudly to him and the father then sat down in my seat!  The son then said again, it’s okay it’s okay.”  David said, “Excuse me, Sir, it is not okay.  We want our seats.  We paid to be on this flight and in our seats.”  By this time everyone was looking at us.  The son and David went back and forth for about two minutes.  The father finally got out of my seat and let us in the aisle.  The son then grumbled in Ukrainian.

As we began taxiing on the runway, the pilot announced that everyone was on board and that we would be able to take off earlier than expected.  This meant getting to Kiev quicker.  With that announcement, the flight became much better!  And, to make matters even better, I slept soundly the entire flight.  My time clock was still messed up and I was suffering from jetlag, but was thankful for the almost 2 ½ hours of sound sleep.

Then, the best thing of the last two days happened:  WE LANDED SAFELY IN KIEV!!!!  We are now only three days away from our babies!!!