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, December 5, 2014

Update ~ Prize Giveaway and Name Reveal ~ Update

WOW, what a difference just two and a half days make!!  We are now on day three of our final adoption fundraiser.  Our Prize Giveaway and Name Reveal drive is moving along quite nicely.  We started with $2918.59 already in our Reece's Rainbow Family Sponsorship Page (FSP) adoption grant fund and now it has grown to $3427.84!!!!!!!  That is $509.25 generously donated to our adoption grant fund in order to bring Greta, Felix, & Romeo home!!!  

As a result of this amazing outpouring of love from our many donors, NINETEEN letters have been revealed in Greta's, Felix's, and Romeo's names!  I imagine that by now at least two names among their first and middle names can be guessed correctly...but, I'm not embellishing on which names those might be and I am NOT giving anymore hints.  I'll just continue to let the letters speak for themselves.  So, carry on with your guessing.  Only time will tell if your guesses will prove correct as more letters are revealed!

The second part of our fundraiser, our favorite, has been extremely rewarding to David and me.  So far, we have had the honor of conducting two separate prize drawings from among our list of donors.  It has been absolutely awesome to be able to give away TWO prizes so far!!!  We CANNOT WAIT to give away the remaining thirteen prizes to our future winners.  The first prize, a $25 AMC Movie Theatre gift card, was drawn on Monday night and won by Amy Epley of Texas.  The second prize, a Christmas Cake Pop Bouquet, was drawn on Tuesday and won by Jay and Angela Ghormley of Texas.  When our FSP reads $3668.59, we will draw for the next prize!!

I am excited at how much our four prize pots (there are pots for each level of prizes ~ regular, mid-level, reserve grand, & grand) has grown since this fundraiser was launched on Monday.  It is humbling & certainly beautiful to see the love that is reflected through each and every single name within these pots.  I am completely blessed to know that my Greta, Felix, and Romeo are loved by so many and that they have an ARMY working diligently alongside their mama and daddy to bring them home.  Words cannot even begin to  describe the emotions that I will have on the day that OUR journey is made complete and we are able to declare these precious children who are wonderfully and perfectly made Orphans No More!  Oh what a glorious day that will be!! 

It is also important to mention that we are also honored and grateful to those who have joined our journey through prayer and encouragement.  Each of you are just as important.  I sincerely mean that ~ from every fiber of my being.  We DO NOT take prayer lightly!  We know that it has been through the countless number and hours of prayers said on behalf of David, myself, and our family that we have been able to continue on this joureny with the end result always on our minds and completely seared into our hearts.  These words, lovingly and earnestly spoken to our God, have been what has sustained us through this whole crazy beautiful journey.  For we KNOW and we RELY on the Promise that He made to those of us who have been called according to His purpose.  He has promised us a hope and a future.  Our family's hope and future is found in adoption and Down syndrome.  And, our purpose is to remain obedient to Him in all that He asks of us and in all that we do so that He alone will be glorified ~ for it is not us, but Christ living in and through us.      

So, from the bottom of our hearts, thank you for willingly joining us on our mission, our ministry, to build our family through adoption and the beauty that is Down syndrome!  We are forever blessed and humbled!  We really do love each of you.

Exaltation of the Afflicted
 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
Because the Lord has anointed me
To bring good news to the afflicted;
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to captives
And freedom to prisoners;
2 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord
And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all who mourn,
3 To grant those who mourn in Zion,
Giving them a garland instead of ashes,
The oil of gladness instead of mourning,
The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.
So they will be called oaks of righteousness, 
The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified. ~ Isaiah 61:1-3, NASB

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Prize Giveaway & Name Reveal Adoption Fundraiser


As the final fundraiser for our adoption of Greta, Felix, and Romeo, David and I are launching a NAME REVEAL & PRIZE GIVEAWAY DRAWING.  Our goal is to raise $3500 during this fun & exciting fundraiser!!

Here is how it will work:

ALL DONATIONS MUST BE MADE TO OUR REECE'S RAINBOW FSP GRANT PAGE.  AS A BONUS, YOUR DONATION IS COMPLETELY 100% TAX DEDUCTIBLE!!  So, it's a win-win, right?!?  Click HERE for our Reece's Rainbow FSP Grant Page.  100% of our RR FSP Grant will be distributed to us once we receive travel dates ~ which should be, by the Grace of God, in JUST A FEW WEEKS (!!!!!) ~ and will be used toward travel and in-country fees for our adoption of Greta, Felix, and Romeo.

If you make a donation of $25, you will have one (1) entry in the the drawing for the Grand Prize & the Reserve Grand Prize, two (2) entries for the Mid-Range Prizes, and three (3) entries for the the Regular Prizes!!  If you make a $50 donation, you will have two (2) entries in the drawing for the Grand Prize & the Reserve Grand Prize, five (5) entries for the Mid-Range Prizes, and six (6) entries for the the Regular Prizes!!  Each additional $25 in your donation will double the respective entries!!

Once you make a donation, message me on Facebook or reply to this blog post so that I can give you my email address in order to send me your donation receipt from Reece's Rainbow.  Prizes will be mailed or hand delivered (if you live near me) once they are drawn, so I will need your address as well. 

It is also important to note that David and I are choosing to honor EVERYONE who has contributed to our adoption fund ~ NOT just those who will donate through this last fundraiser.  Each and every donation is precious to us and we want to extend our gratitude and make sure it is reflected through an attempt to give back a little of what we have been blessed with in order to bring our Greta, Felix, & Romeo home and make them Orphans No More.  Therefore, those of you who have donated to our FSP since it has been up, bought t-shirts during our two t-shirt drives, and personally sent us a monetary gift for our adoption, please know that your names have DEFINITELY been entered for the prize drawings in the same manner that new and repeat donors are being added during this drive.  (If you have any questions, please feel free to message me on FB or leave a comment on this blog.)  

Our Reece's Rainbow FSP currently has $2918.59 in it.  Once it reads $3168.59, the first drawing will be made.  The second drawing will be made once it reads $3418.59.  This will continue until it reaches $6418.59, at which time, the drawing for the Grand & Reserve Grand Prizes will be made.  

Please feel free to message me on FB or reply to this blog post with questions.  Good luck, my wonderful friends!!  Thank you in advance for joining us on our journey to bring our precious Greta, Felix, and Romeo home!  We remain absolutely humbled and grateful for your outpouring of love and support.  We are truly blessed!

Side note:  to remain above reproach and show that we are good stewards of the donations made to our RR FSP grant, David and I will gladly provide specific information concerning our adoption costs and how our grant money was specifically used once we are home with our children.  Just ask!! 

Now, let the fun begin!  Ready...Set...Go!!!!

Praise for the Lord’s Mercies ~ a Psalm of David:

1 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.  2 Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits;  3 Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases;  4 Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion;  5 Who satisfies your years with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle.  6 The Lord performs righteous deeds and judgments for all who are oppressed. ~ Psalm 103:1-6, NASB

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Down Syndrome Awareness T-shirt Fundraiser

Front view
Back view
October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month so I decided that it would only be fitting for it to be the focus of our final adoption t-shirt fundraiser.  With the addition of Greta, Felix, & Romeo, we will have seven (7!!) children with Down syndrome!!  Our family revolves around Down syndrome and part of OUR JOB is bringing awareness to not only our children, but also to countless other individuals with Ds.  So why wouldn't this be a GREAT idea for a t-shirt?!?

After hours of thinking and playing around with various designs and wording, I finally hit the jackpot ~ the Golden Ticket ~ of bringing the message of Ds awareness to a simple t-shirt.  At least in my mind it was...!!  So, TA-DA (as Teague would say) here is the jpeg image of the design I came up with:

Front of the t-shirts
Back of the t-shirts


Pictures of the actual t-shirts are at the top of this blog post.  I hope you like them as much as we do!!  Adult sized t-shirts are $20;  Women's Fitted t-shirts are $22;  Youth t-shirts are $16;  Long sleeve t-shirts are $24; and Hooded sweatshirts are $37.

The fundraiser ends on 11/9 and we MUST sell a minimum of 50 t-shirts in order for the fundraiser to actually go through.  If we fail to sell the required minimum, the t-shirts will not be printed and the fundraiser will be scratched. (Credit cards ARE NOT charged until we reach the minimum of 50 sold so there will be no transactions completed until then.)

If the fundraiser is successful by having sold at least 50 t-shirts by 11/9, the t-shirts will be printed and shipped about 2 weeks after.  Let's pray that this is the case!!!  And, with any luck, we will sell more than 50!!

Greta, Felix, Romeo, Silas, Teague, Trenton, & Mackie REALLY REALLY REALLY want 50 (or more!) t-shirts sold so that they will be able to wear their shirts and bring awareness to Ds so that the world will:

Individuals with Down syndrome are

Will YOU help them to get a chance to wear their t-shirts?!?  Will YOU help us make Greta, Felix, & Romeo Orphans No More by purchasing a t-shirt?!?  100% of the proceeds from the sale of each t-shirt and hoodie goes directly to our adoption fund.  We GREATLY appreciate you helping us to bring our precious children home and making our family complete!

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO GET MORE INFO AND ORDER YOUR T-SHIRT!!  Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!!

Receiving the Spirit of Adoption as Sons

14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.  15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!”  16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God.  Romans 8:14-16 ~ NASB

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Forever Family for Kiril, Dell, Gene, & David

I had the sweet honor of meeting a fellow Reece's Rainbow family in 2011 when David and I committed to adopting Teague,Trenton, & Maclayne.  This family had both biological and adopted children.  They were like us in that they felt led by God to travel to Eastern Europe and adopt orphans with Down syndrome.  The mom's and my shared passion for these precious children made us fast friends!

And, their support of special needs orphans did not just stop at the adoption of their own children.  It has continued through their commitment to help other precious orphans find forever homes and through their support of families desiring to adopt special needs orphans.  Their selfless commitment has manifested itself in hours upon hours of prayers lifted to God for these orphans and families.  And, it has also come though the family's generous monetary donations to adoptive families in need.  My own personal family has benefited from this family's generosity.

Therefore, I am beyond honored to help this family in any way that I can.  Can YOU help?  Can YOU find it within YOURSELF to help get these precious boys home?  Friends, it's time we step up and repay this family for their generosity toward other adopting families & orphans desperately wanting a forever family.  I just donated, will YOU?

These boys have waited for a long time for a family of their own.  They've waited a long time for a mama & a papa to love them.  Just look at their precious pictures and tell me that they are not worthy and capable of so much more...


NOTE:  This family will be able to go public with their names and information once they have had court for Dell, Gene, & David.  They have had contact with these three boys and both the mom & dad report that they are already head over heals in love with Dell, Gene, & David.  And, most importantly, THE THREE BOYS ARE EXCITED TO HAVE A FOREVER FAMILY OF THEIR OWN!!!  It just doesn't get any sweeter than that, folks!  Praise God for His continued design of this beautiful family!!


The family is still journeying to bring Kiril home.  And, believe me, they are doing all they can to bring their precious boy home.  Once news of Kiril's journey home becomes available, the family will be able to make it public.  In the meantime, please pray for Kiril and the family's journey to adopt him and make him An Orphan No More.


Click HERE to find out more about this family and to make a tax deductible donation today!  Even a $5 or $10 donation will go a long way ~ I PROMISE!!  This family needs just under $5000 to be fully funded!  It may seem like a huge mountain to us, but with God it is only a small bump!!

10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;  11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.  12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.   13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,  14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.  15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!  ~ 2 Corinthians 9:10-15, NASB

Monday, October 13, 2014

Reece's Rainbow ~ five5five for families

In 2011, Reece's Rainbow graciously provided thousands of dollars for our adoption of Teague, Trenton, and Maclayne.  The adoption grant was made possible by PRECIOUS generous donors who saw the potential in our children.  This time around, RR will be providing thousands of dollars from NUMEROUS precious donors in order for us to bring Greta, Felix, and Romeo home.  Because of these lifesaving gifts, SIX orphans have a forever home and know the love of a family.  Teague, Trenton, and Mackie are flourishing in our love and we cannot wait to watch as Greta, Felix, and Romeo flourish!

Reece's Rainbow is a 501(c)3 Adoption Grant Ministry that provides money to families who are adopting orphans with Down syndrome and other special needs internationally.   (To read more about RR, please click on this link:  Why Reece's Rainbow?)  RR relies on the generous donations of people like YOU!  Their new campaign, five5five for families, kicked off a few months ago and directly benefits five different families each month who are in the process of adopting an orphan (or orphans) with special needs.

From the RR website:  "After 8 years, $7 million in grant funding disbursed, and more than 1500 orphans have found forever families, you KNOW how far your giving goes collectively through Reece’s Rainbow! Set up an auto-bill-pay donation from your bank, or through the PayPal link, to give just $5 a month for our adopting families!"

I just set up David's and my $10 recurring monthly donation to benefit these families and their CHOSEN children.  Although this is not a huge amount, it can be MULTIPLIED if more people will join us.  If you aren't able to do it each month, a one-time donation will also be greatly appreciated!!  Your amount does not have to be $10 ~ it can be more or it can be less.  Please give what you can.  I promise you, God will USE YOUR GIFT!!


What are you waiting for?!?  Click on this link to find out more information and donate:  five5five for families

So, on behalf of Reece's Rainbow:  "Thank you for your donation to the children of Reece’s Rainbow. Your gift is truly the gift of LIFE, HOPE, and a FAMILY for an orphaned child with Down syndrome [and/or other special needs].  Your support for this organization throughout the year is greatly appreciated.  Should you have any questions, or need to provide us with any additional details about your donation, please do not hesitate to write [or email].  Be sure to browse our website, and discover all the amazing ways you can be a Voice of Hope for our waiting orphans!"


GOD GIVES MOST ~ 2 Corinthians 9:6-15

6 Now this I say, he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.  7 Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.  8 And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that always having all sufficiency in everything, you may have an abundance for every good deed;  9 as it is written,

“He scattered abroad, he gave to the poor,
His righteousness endures forever.”

10 Now He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness;  11 you will be enriched in everything for all liberality, which through us is producing thanksgiving to God.  12 For the ministry of this service is not only fully supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing through many thanksgivings to God.  13 Because of the proof given by this ministry, they will glorify God for your obedience to your confession of the gospel of Christ and for the liberality of your contribution to them and to all,  14 while they also, by prayer on your behalf, yearn for you because of the surpassing grace of God in you.  15 Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Adoption Update

First let me apologize that I have not posted on my blog since May.  All I can say is that I have been super busy on the adoption paper chasing trail and with taking care of Maclayne's medical needs.  With that being said, I hope it is enough for you to forgive me.

NOW, let's get to the exciting news at hand...

THE END IS NEAR in regards to our adoption!!!  Through many months of literal blood, sweat, and tears, I have COMPLETED ALL of our adoption dossier documents!!!  Let me shout it again, even louder:


When I faxed our last document to be checked & approved by our stateside facilitator, I fell on my knees in a heap of full-bodied sobs.  Don't get me wrong, it was a huge relief full of joy, but it was, at the same time, a very gut wrenching emotional relief.

Months of frustration, questioning, and longing for my three beautiful children was sent along with that fax to Nancy.  It was a release, a beautiful release that renewed my hope and commitment to precious Greta, Felix, and Romeo.  In the still small voice I heard God confirming, once again, that He has called David and me to adopt these three special needs orphans from Eastern Europe.

I am now sorting and double checking all of our paperwork that is making up our adoption dossier so that I can get it shipped to our in-country facilitators in Eastern Europe.  This "paper baby" should be shipped within the next couple of days.  (I will add it to our adoption timeline on the left of this post once I send it.)  Once it reaches our facilitators in EE, they will begin translating all of those documents ~ that is not a light undertaking and we are extremely grateful to them!

We are still awaiting approval from Homeland Security/Customs & Immigration (USCIS).  Once we have our approval (the Golden Ticket known as the I-171H), we will forward it to our facilitators in EE and they will submit our full adoption dossier to the Department for Adoptions (DAP).  From there, the DAP will extend an invitation for us to visit their country for the purpose of adopting and our first travel date will be issued.

So, once again, please allow me to shout:   ALL OF OUR ADOPTION DOSSIER DOCUMENTS HAVE BEEN COMPLETED!!!!! and THE END IS NEAR!!!!!

Would you please join us in praying that we receive our USCIS approval ASAP??!!??  The immigration officer I've been dealing with is not the kindest person on earth.  However, I am extending the officer the grace I have been receiving from the Lord and I am treating the officer with the utmost kindness and respect.  I desire to keep my witness in Christ strong because it is through Him that this adoption is even taking place.

Secondly, would you join us in praying that God provides the remaining funds needed to bring Greta, Felix, and Romeo home?  We are about $4,000 short of being fully funded.  I am in the process of starting two fundraisers ~ another t-shirt sale (it is a very COOL design!) and a game that can be played by everyone.  Details will be released next week.

In the meantime, if you feel led, you can make a tax deductible donation to our Reece's Rainbow adoption grant fund.  100% of your donation will go directly toward our adoption.  (A 3% PayPal fee will be taken out of donations made by credit card.)  Believe me when I say that even $10 donations MAKE A HUGE DIFFERENCE!  Click on this link to be directed to our RR grant fund:  Team Barnett Adoption 2014.

Thank you for following our beautiful journey to bring our precious children home!  Your support is truly humbling and we are beyond excited that you have chosen to join us on our family's journey. THANK YOU!!

24 For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?  25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.  26 In the same way the Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words;  27 and He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.  28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. ~ Romans 8:24-30, NASB

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


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." 


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.












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.”