October 31st, 2016

So this surgery was much tougher than the previous ones.  Our sweet girl was in a lot of pain and it was tough to see.  She will continue on a pureed diet and wearing the arms braces all day and night for 10 days.  We will see the doctor again on Friday, November 4th in Dallas.

Since Grace has always been our little butterfly it only made sense to dress her up as a butterfly for her 1st Halloween!  We were not sure how she would do with all of the crazy, but she loved it.  We went to the 1st house and showed her what to do and from then on she would walk right up and get candy out of the basket.  We just had to stop her from taking too many:)  She was such a trooper as she was still on a pureed diet from surgery and could not eat any of the candy, but she loved trick-or-treating!

Her big sisters dressed up as emoji's and had a great time as well!!

Here they are with the other 2 emoji's Harper and Henley!!

Here is a picture of Grace with her friend Kenzee!!  We are so thankful for Kenzee and her momma Paige.  I know they would agree with us that ADOPTION ROCKS!!  Look at our sweet little Angel and Butterfly!!

Grace continued to heal the week of Halloween and John took her back to Dallas (thank you Fidler's for having us again) for her appointment on Friday the 4th.  We were very relieved to know that the surgery was a success.  After 3 failed surgeries it was great news to hear that this one was a success.  Praising God for the great news!!  She will be able to remove the braces and go back to a regular diet on Monday the 7th!!

November 11th, 2016

Today is John's 40th birthday!  We celebrated with a family dinner.  Definitely not what we expected to be doing for a 40th birthday, but we had a great time!!  Thankful God gave me such an amazing man to spend my life with!!  All 4 of your girls love you to the moon.

November 12th, 2016
John and I had our first date night since May.  We had an amazing time and it was much needed for both of us.  Grace from the 1st time she met Rob (he is in our Life Group) has let him hold her and carry her around.  It  has been crazy to watch because she has not let very many people hold her as long as she lets Rob.  As you can see from the photo she is happy as can be.  This is also the first time she looked at a camera and smiled!  She would not let them take her shoes off or change her clothes, but it was a successful first time out!!  Thank you Hayes family for keeping our girls!!

November 13th, 2016
We have had Grace in our arms for 5 months today!!  John and I made the decision to move Grace to her room.  After 5 months of not sleeping more than a few hours a night, we were both about to go crazy.  We decided for our mental health we had to find a way to start sleeping.  We had a very rough first few nights, but then she started sleeping through the night.  We are beyond thankful that the transition went better than we ever imagined.  Although we know it will take a few months to catch up on sleep we are thankful to know we are going to start sleeping again.   We also know Grace needs more sleep than she is getting because of how she passes out several nights a week.

November 14th, 2016
How can Sydney be 11?  I cannot believe my firstborn is 11.  It is amazing to see the kind, beautiful, smart, compassionate girl she has become.  You would never know she was a 29 weaker born at 2 pounds and 7 ounces.  Thankful and blessed she calls me mom!!

November 18th, 2016
We celebrated Sydney with a few school friends in Bricktown.  We went iceskating and she had a sleepover!  Grace had a great time watching the girls ice-skate!!

Just after a week of sleeping we are seeing more and more of this BIG smile.  It is amazing what sleep can do for a little one.  

As we started to prepare for the Holidays I realized how depressed I was last year for all of the holidays.  It is hard to celebrate when you are missing one of your family members.  It is hard to be happy when you do not know how your baby is being treated or cared for.  This year we had a wonderful Thanksgiving.  We have so much to be thankful for and are beyond thankful to have our girl home with us for Thanksgiving!!  I mean could she be any cuter?  I have to refrain myself from not just gobbling her up!!

Our first Thanksgiving as a family of 5!!!!

As I think back over the past month I can see so much progress in our girl.  She is definitely becoming more secure.  She is beginning to see that we will always be here for her, that we can leave and will always come back.  From before we left for China I have prayed that she will know at all times she is loved and she is safe.  I think she definitely knows these things now.  

I know I say this all of the time, but ADOPTION rocks.  There are so many kids out there that needs homes.  1 million in China and 153 million in the world.  We have so many here in Oklahoma alone.  Please pray for these children over the holidays.  Pray they know Jesus, pray for homes for these children.  I cannot believe my girl had 2 Thanksgiving's and 2 Christmas's all alone.  It breaks our heart to imagine her without a family.  All children are meant to be in a family.  

As God has opened my eyes to the world of the orphan I know not 1 family who took the step to adopt would ever say anything, but how amazing their children are.  I know not everyone can adopt, but everyone can do something to care for these children.  In Isaiah 1:17 God says:  Learn to do right; seek justice, defend the oppressed, take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.  Although this journey has been hard the good and the amazing far outweigh the tough times.  God has always been there and the closeness we feel to him through this journey is something that we will never be able to repay.

I pray for each of you that you will have a wonderful CHRISTmas celebrating our amazing Lord and Savior.  May God bless you over this season and provide love and comfort to those hurting as I know the holidays can also be tough when loved ones are not present.  Merry Christmas!!!!


September 23rd, 2016

November 25th, 2016
Hello All!  I first want to say I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends.  I  cannot believe we have been home 5 months today.  It seems like much longer.  As we are in the holiday season we are reminded how important family is.  We are thankful to truly get to enjoy the holidays this season with ALL of our babies in our arms.  I did not realize how sad I was through the season last year knowing I was missing one of my babies.  I know I have not posted for a long time so I am going to go back to mid-September when I left on last time.

September 23rd, 2016

Grace needed to get out of the house so we decided to go to the mall for Chick-fil-A and to play.  She had her 1st meal since surgery and was so excited to eat chicken and fries.  She also had a great time running around and playing! 

After a very rough few weeks we got our first smile!  Grace loves glasses and a friend brought her some over that were just her size!!  Thank you Wolfe family!!  She loves her glasses!!

Towards the end of September Grace is continuing to heal.  She is having less blood everyday and her personality is coming back.  Could she be any cuter!!

We had a small setback the end of September.  Due to the high-powered antibiotics Grace was on for 14 days she had severe diaper rash (the worst I have ever seen).  We went back to the doctor and had a scare that the antibiotic had not worked and that the MRSA was still there due to continued bleeding of her face and the severe diaper rash that she had.  We saw the doctor 2 weeks in a row and got negative cultures.  We were very relieved to say the least.  If we had gotten a positive we would have been headed back to the hospital.  Praising Jesus that the cultures were negative.  

October 2nd, 2016
We celebrated Claire's 8th birthday!  How can she be 8.  I am so thankful to be her mom.  She has become the best BIG sister.  I am so thankful she loves Grace so much and Grace adores her.  She is my feisty, energetic, sweet, loving, smart girl!  Thankful we got to celebrate our sweet Claire on her birthday.  All of the girls painted Leia (our French Bulldog) and had a great time!!

Grace was just happy to be at the party.   She smiled, laughed, and ran around the entire time the girls painted!!

October 7th, 2016
Claire officially turned 8!  We celebrated by getting her ears pierced and going to dinner!!

October 2016

Grace and her friend Branson playing at the mall.  Branson is such a sweet boy and we are thankful to have him and his momma as friends.  I know they would agree that adoption Rocks!!  

Grace went for her 2 year check up today!  We had to push it back due to the recent surgery.  She weighed in at a whopping 19.8 pounds and was 32 1/2 inches tall.  She was <1% in weight and 10% in height.  The funny thing is that everyone thinks she is so small.  She is actually 1 1/2 taller than Sydney was at this age, but 2 pounds lighter.  It is hard to imagine that Sydney was about the same size as Grace at her age.  

October 8th, 2016
Grace watching an OU game!  We are definitely starting the brain washing at a young age.  Boomer Sooner!!

We are continuing to not get much sleep around the Barnett house.  She is still up 7-8 times a night and refusing to nap.  We know she needs sleep due to the amount of times she passes out like this in the evenings.  Praying God gives her the peace to be able to start sleeping soon!

Grace trying out her new bike!!  Thank you Mimi and Mr. Jim for the bike.  We love this t-shirt that Lifeline sent us.  We will be forever grateful to Lifeline for helping us bring our girl home.  If anyone is interested in adoption or looking for an agency we would highly recommend them.  They were amazing throughout the entire process including paperwork before, in-country, and after coming home!!

Here is a picture of Grace and her friend Meghan.  Meghan's family brought her home the summer before Grace came home.  She is 4 years old.  I will be forever grateful for her and her momma.  She has been a great support since before we left for China.  Being able to talk to someone who has been through all of the emotions good and not so good is priceless!  Thank you Kelsey and Meghan for going on this journey with us.  I know one day they are going to be great friends!!

After everything we have been through with 3 failed surgeries we decided to get a 2nd opinion in Dallas.  Although we know it will be tough going back and forth we know we needed to go.  The benefit of going to the doctor in Dallas is seeing friends.  Thankful for the time we got to spend with our Dallas friends!!

Dallas Arboretum!  I have never seen so many BIG pumpkins.  I was so excited to get this picture.  It is the first really good one I have of all 3 of my girls!!  I am one blessed momma!!

We saw the doctor in Dallas and were disappointed to hear that he would have done things very different due to Grace's wide cleft lip and palate.  We made a decision to have all remaining surgeries in Dallas.  Dr. Ha stated that he would not touch her lip again for 1 year due to all of the trauma it had been through.  He stated that if you put sutures in an inflamed area they will not hold and it would be a year for all of the inflammation to be gone.  He did however want to go ahead and complete her soft palate (in the back of her mouth) to help with language over the next year.  I asked him when and he said next week.  We were in a bit of shock as we did not want to do any more surgery until after Christmas, but decided we would move forward because he felt it was urgent.  We were concerned with the MRSA, so he called and got us into an infectious disease doctor the same day we saw him so that was great.  We came up with a plan and were ready to move forward with surgery in 5 days:).  

Upon arriving at this office God showed off big.  God would always send me butterflies on hard days during all of the paperwork.  I have always referred to Grace as my little butterfly.  With 3 girls our favorite colors are pink, purple, and turquoise.  When I got to Dr. Ha's office the door was covered in pink, purple, and turquoise butterflies.  Then when we got into the room there was a huge picture of butterflies above the exam table.  I knew this was God reassuring us this is were we needed to be!  

On a side not all in the same 2 weeks as the appointment and surgery we had a hot water heater go out and my car broke down.  We firmly believe it was all spiritual warfare.  Satan did not want us making it back to Dallas for surgery.  It worked out and we made it there despite everything.  We know God is in ultimate control and we had to trust him and his timing.  Thankful we serve a BIG GOD who can do all things.  We were grasping onto this with everything we had during this difficult time.

Before surgery we decided to hit one more pumpkin patch in OKC.  Pumpkinville at Myriad Gardens is beautiful this time of year!! 

Sisters are the BEST!!

October 26th, 2016

We are in Dallas at Medical City Children's for surgery number 4.  If you had told me we were going to have 4 surgeries in 3 months I would have said no way we could handle that, but we are and we will.  We hate that she keeps having to go through surgery, but know we have to and will make the best out of it.  Look at this sweet baby with no food or drink all morning.  Still smiling and full of joy!!

This surgery has been much tougher than the previous ones.  We were told the palate would be tougher, but we did not know how tough.  Our sweet girl was in so much pain after surgery.  We are usually in recovery for about 20 minutes and then off to our room.  We were there for 2 hours.  The nurse had to go into his next surgery to get permission to give a very high powered medication to calm her down after screaming for an hour.  They had to give it twice.  It is very heartbreaking to not be able to calm or comfort your baby.  Once in the room she spent most of the day sleeping and crying.  Lots of morphine.  The nurses did a great job keeping her as comfortable as possible.  Thankful it is over, but know it is going to be a rough few weeks.  The doctor wants her on pureed food for 10 days and in the arm braces at all time for 10 days.  Poor baby.  Here is a picture of our sweet girl the day after surgery.  

As we continue to move forward God is stretching us and teaching us more than he ever could during smooth times.  We are reminded daily of our sinful selfs and are thankful God is continuing to grow us each and every day.  We are beyond thankful he chose us for this journey even though it has been harder than we could have ever imagined this sweet amazing child is worth it a million times.  She continues to amaze us everyday and spread JOY everywhere she goes.  She has a spirit that is truly amazing when you think about everything she has been through.  We LOVE you Grace Mei!!

September 18th, 2016

Hello Everyone!  It is hard to believe we have been home almost 3 months.  I think it feels like much longer, but we are thankful to be together as a family of 5.  A lot has happened over the past month since I posted and I am not going to be honest it has been tough.  Grace had her first surgery on July 25th.  This surgery was step 1 to stretch out the skin on her lip for the final repair in a few months.  On day 3 after surgery the left side tore apart and on day 6 the right side tore apart.  To say we were devastated it an understatement.  Our doctor assured us that this would not set us back and we discussed what we were going to do next time to assure it would not happen again.  We felt good that we had a plan and focused on Grace healing from the first surgery.  

She LOVES the water!  Here is a sweet picture from her at the pool.  She loves splashing around and sticking her face in the water.  It is hard to believe that this is the same child who screamed like crazy on her first 2 baths because she was terrified of the water!

August 14th, 2016
Grace also had her first popsicle.  At first she was not sure about it because it was so cold, but once she got a good taste she LOVED it!!

August 17th, 2016
How can summer be over and school starting.  Today Sydney and Claire go back to school.  Sydney in 5th grade and Claire in 2nd grade.  Grace is going to miss her BIG amazing sisters like crazy.  How can my babies be getting so big.  

August 18th, 2016
Happy Birthday Grace!!  We cannot believe our sweet girl is 2!  We are so thankful that she is celebrating her birthday here with her family.  She is a tiny peanut, but she is so strong and brave.  This sweet little girl has been through so much, but her JOY touches everyone she meets.  We are so thankful God chose us to be her family.  Happy Birthday Grace Mei!!  We love you to the moon and back!!

Grace wore Claire's birthday dress that she wore for her 1st birthday!!  It is Grace's special dress for her 2nd birthday!!

We also decided to do a few pictures of her before her next surgery.  We LOVE her BIG smile and wanted to capture it before it was forever changed!!  She does not like getting her hands dirty so we were not sure what she was going to do.  With a little help from Mommy she realized she liked getting her hands dirty!!

Grace got her first bike for her birthday!!  Thank you Mimi and Mr. Jim.  I am sure she will be riding all over the house in no time!!

She also loves her Rody.  Thank you Reed family!!  

Grace had her first trip to the Zoo with Jude and Heather.  We had a great time.  She loved looking at all of the animals, playing on the playground, and of course riding on the carousal.  

Grace also had her first play date with her friend Kenzee.  We love you Paige and Kenzee.  We look forward to many more of these play dates!!  I think we can both agree adoption rocks!!

As I was getting ready one morning I walked in the closet and found Grace doing her stretches.  I thought it was too cute.  She has seen her big sisters do their stretches and she was going to do the same.  She is copying us a lot now and it is just too cute!!

September 8th, 2016
This is a day we have been dreading for a while now.  Surgery day.  I feel like not knowing what to expect is better than knowing.  After going through the last surgery we were not looking forward to this one.  We had to be at the hospital by 6:15 so it made for a very early morning.  Even this early in the morning Grace was a happy girl!!

We are sure going to miss this BIG smile, but know her cleft must be corrected.  Surgery lasted 2 1/2 hours.  The doctor reported that everything went great.  He even put in extra stitches to assure we stayed together this time.  When John and I saw her for the first time we could not believe what he had done.  It looked amazing.  We spent the night in the hospital and were home on friday afternoon.  Again this girl is crazy.  She was up and wanting to play the same day of surgery.  The hardest part is keeping her down.  Here is a picture a few days after surgery!!  Everything is still really swollen, but looking good.  

September 11th, 2016
Today started out a great day.  Everything was looking great and we were happy to be 3 days post-op.  Sunday afternoon John and I were both in the living room with Grace.  I was about 1 foot from her and John about 2 feet from her.  She was playing with her toys in front of me and Leia (dog) came around the corner and knocked her down.  She fell backwards onto the rug and went I went to pick her up I saw that the left side of her face had torn apart again.  There was so much blood and we were panicking.  We called the doctor and he did not answer so we started to make arrangements for the girls and were going to head to Baptist ER.  The doctor texted he was in a meeting to send a picture.  We did and he promptly responded to meet him at his office he was on his way.  We got the girls to the neighbors and met him at his office.  Once arriving at his office he said we needed to go back to surgery.  He called the hospital to start paperwork and got all of the needed on call surgical staff to the hospital.  We went in to the ER. The incident happened at our house at 7:30 and she was in the OR at 9:40.  Once the doctor opened it up to clean it out he noticed the start of an infection, which explains why it tore apart.  The infection had probably been there for a while.  Even with the fall it should not have torn apart.  He did an antibiotic wash and was able to reattach everything.  Grace ended up having another 2 hour surgery, but we were thankful he got everything back together.  We also found it a bit of a blessing that Leia had knocked her down, because it would not have healed with an infection.  We started a high powered antibiotic and started praying that the antibiotic would kill the infection in time for the surgery to be able to heal.  

This was one of the hardest nights of our lives.  I cried more and harder than I have in a long time.  Why does our sweet girl have to keep going through so much.  When is she going to catch a break.  Please God let it stay together this time.  Please God rid her body of this infection.  

Tuesday morning I noticed a little bit of something coming through the scab.  I thought it looked like puss so I called the NP into our room.  She agreed and we cultured it.  Still praying and hopeful it was going to stay together.  We were in the hospital until Tuesday afternoon and got home around 5:00.  We kept Grace in our bed with us to make sure she stays on her back and does mess with anything. She is also wearing arm braces to keep her arms straight at night so she cannot mess with it.  We kept these on since the first surgery because she got so upset wearing them the first surgery we wanted her to be use to them.  

Wednesday everything continued to look good.  Swelling was going down, which we thought was a good sign the infection was clearing.  Grace got some surprise balloons and loved them.  Thank you Toole family!!

Thursday the culture came back and we found out that Grace has a type of MRSA that is resistant to the antibiotic she was one.  We were devastated because she had been on an antibiotic for 4 days that was not fighting the infection.  We went and picked up the new antibiotic and started that at 1:00 Thursday.  By Thursday night I could see where the incision was starting to come apart and again we were hopeful it would stay and maybe need a few revisions, but still trusting it would remain together.  

Friday morning the right side had come apart in the night.  The infections ate through the sutures.  We are all in a state of shock that this is happening again.  Why does our sweet girl have to keep going through this.  We now will have to wait several months for everything to heal.  We all need a break from surgery and everything that goes along with it.  We are all completely exhausted because we are still not sleeping well at night and Grace continues to refuse naps.  We are upset, sad, heartbroken, and a bit angry.  I have been a wreck for a week now.  This is so hard.  We know this is the enemy fighting back because we rescued one of God's precious children.  We know Grace is beyond amazing and going to do BIG things one day.  We know it is going to be OK because we have the King of Kings, Creator of the Universe on our side, but this it still so hard.  We will keep fighting because we know our God will ultimately prevail in this fight.  He will see us through this and will do glorious things through it.  

Please pray for us for strength, healing, and rest for all of us.  For our hearts to be healed.  They are broken for her right now.   Thank you in advance for all of your prayers and support.  God has given us an army and right now we need you to FIGHT for us with prayers!  

Here is a quote from a sweet friend of mine (thank you Amber).  

The devil whispered in my ear, "You're not strong enough to withstand the storm."  Today I whispered in the devils's ear, "I am the storm."

August 13th, 2016

Hello Everyone!  I cannot believe that school is starting next week.  This summer has flown by!!  I am going to miss Sydney and Claire so much when school starts.  Surgery went as planned and the doctor was very pleased how the surgery went.  He said there was not any tension on the skin and everything went together great.  Here is a picture after surgery.  You can tell everything went together nicely!!

We found out our girl has a very high pain tolerance.  Within hours of surgery she was ready to eat.  She ate her entire lunch through a large syringe and was ready to head to the playroom after lunch.  We went several times that first afternoon.  Here is a picture from the playroom.

We had to spend the night in the hospital which was tough.  Grace was very restless all night and we did not get much sleep.  We were very happy to get to go home Tuesday mid-morning.  Although all of the staff were great at Baptist the hospital is just not a fun place.

I had to take a break from writing the last post because we had such a rough week after surgery.  We found out our sweet girl has a very high pain tolerance and did things that most kids would not do because of pain.  We put Grace down for a nap on Wednesday and we think she put her fingers in her mouth.  After waking up from her 30 minute nap we almost had a panic attack because she had pulled apart the entire left side of her mouth and never even cried.  I immediately called the doctor and he calmed us down and said we need to do everything we can to keep the right side attached.  We saw the doctor on Thursday and he sent us back to Baptist to get arm braces to put on her at night to keep her arms straight.  Grace puts her index and middle fingers in her mouth at night to calm/soothe herself when she sleeps.  It was just awful to put them on her after everything she has been through.  She would just scream and scream when we put them on her and she also started waking up multiple times a night again.  It was very tough to sit and listen to her scream.  Also when she screamed you could see the skin pulling apart and there was nothing we could do to stop her crying except remove the braces and we could not do that.  Saturday night was a very rough night and by Sunday she had pulled apart the right side as well and we are back to where we were before surgery.  The crazy thing is she had 3 layers of stitches on both sides with 12-14 stitches on each side.  Here are 2 pictures of her with the right side still attached.

Here she is with some of Sydney's school supplies.  She loved getting into their bags of stuff and pulling everything out!

We are keeping the braces on her so that hopefully she will be use to them by the next surgery.  We obviously have a lot of anxiety because of what happened with this one.  It is hard to keep a 2 year old from throwing a fit and we are going to have to find a way to keep her from doing that for 2 weeks!  The 2nd surgery was suppose to be 6-8 weeks after the first one.  We meet with Dr. Glade on the 18th to come up with a plan for the next surgery.  We spent most of the first week at home due to the exhaustion and no sleep.  

The second week after surgery was still a lot of healing, but we were able to get out at the end of the week a few times.  Grace had her first visit to Chuck-E-Cheese and had a great time.  She loved riding all of the rides!!

We also got out at the end of the week to celebrate my birthday!!  It was so wonderful to celebrate this year with all 3 of my babies.  We had a wonderful lunch with Lynnette, Harper and Henley and a wonderful family dinner at the lake.  I feel beyond blessed with an amazing family and wonderful friends!!  Here are a few pictures from the day!!

Grace had queso for the first time and she was so excited!!  She kept pointing at it for more.  John could barely give it to her fast enough!!

After dinner we went on a walk at the lake!  It was a beautiful night!!

Here is a picture of Grace playing with her daddy!  She is so happy!!

Starting week 3 after surgery we finally felt like we were getting back into a little bit of normal.  We started the week of with a trip to Main Event.  We have to do some fun stuff since it is our last full week off until school starts.  Sydney and Claire had a great time and Grace had fun hanging out mostly waiting on her big sisters.  She better get used to it because she is going to be doing that a lot over the next few years!!

That weekend we visited Mardel to get some gifts.  Grace had a great time playing around in the kids area.  She looked too cute in her dress!!

Grace also visited the playground at the mall!  She loved running around and playing on the toys.  She is getting more and more confident with everyday that she is with us!!  

We are all in awe that we have been home for 7 weeks.  We are so thankful that God showed off big and got us to China in June.  We could not have done it with school being in session.  John and I are so thankful that Grace got to spend so much time with her 2 big sisters.  They have been absolutely amazing with her and she is blessed to call them her big sisters.  They love her as much as she loves them.  Please keep us in your prayers.  That we can come up with a plan to make sure this next surgery is a success.  We do not want to see her go through another surgery without a positive outcome.  We know God has this and so again we are doing our best to trust him 100% with everything we have ahead of us!!  Thank you to everyone for the visits, calls, texts and most importantly prayers!!