David and Stephanie met in 1991 at First Baptist Church Frisco through David’s sister, Cindy, who was Stephanie’s Sunday School teacher. Stephanie grew very close to Cindy & her family as she began babysitting Cindy’s son & daughter. David & Stephanie were only initially family friends who only saw each other at church when David came to visit his family since David was in college & Stephanie was in high school. Once Stephanie graduated high school & began college, their relationship forged into a friendship. However, all of that changed in November 1996 when David’s mother was in the end stages of terminal cancer. Stephanie rallied around David’s family & became a strong support & source of comfort to David. It was during this time that God made it abundantly clear that their relationship would become more than “just friends.” In the month that followed, they began praying and seeking God’s will & timing for their new dating relationship. A month later, in January 1997, David and Stephanie became engaged to be married. Over the next eight months, as Stephanie finished her senior year in college, they continued to seek the Lord in their relationship & prayed for ways to serve Him together. In September 1997, David and Stephanie were married.
Initially they did not want children, so David continued his career as an accountant & Stephanie began her career as a secondary English and Reading teacher. For the next four years they happily continued on their career paths continually praying that God would open doors for them to serve Him in a mighty way through their daily lives. In May 2001, Stephanie’s life was shattered when her brother, Shane, tragically passed away. During this time of unspeakable grief, David & Stephanie sought comfort in God & remained steadfast in their desire to serve Him. God, in return, began to change their hearts in relation to their views on having children. Within a few short months, Stephanie was pregnant with their first child. What started as an uneventful healthy pregnancy changed when Stephanie entered her 2nd trimester. On December 23rd, during a routine sonogram, the Barnett’s were informed that their precious baby no longer had a heartbeat. They were completely devastated & in mourning, but found comfort in knowing that their precious baby was with Jesus & that they would one day be reunited as a family. The Barnett’s also found solace as they continued to place their trust in God & believe that, in His Sovereignty, God still had a plan for them that included children.
In April 2002, God widely opened the first door that would place David & Stephanie on their life ministry when Stephanie received a call. A family member knew of a perfect newborn baby who needed a family because his birth mother was unable to care for him. Immediately, Stephanie told the family member that she and David wanted this baby! It was only after she hung up the phone did the word “adoption” form in her mind and sear into her heart. Her very next thought was, “Oh my goodness, I just committed to this baby and did not even consult David!” Oops! When David got home from work later that night, Stephanie informed him that he would be a daddy in a matter of days. Thankfully, David reacted with more enthusiasm over adopting their son than Stephanie did! Several days later, the Barnett’s became first time parents through the beautiful world of adoption. They named their precious gift from God Copeland Shane after David’s grandpa, Copeland, and Stephanie’s brother, Shane. It was at this moment David & Stephanie knew their family would be built through adoption & not biologically. They could not believe that God would bless them in this way & could not wait to see how He would grow their family!
In 2004, the Barnett’s moved to San Antonio & began to earnestly pray that God would once again open the doors to adopt another child. Stephanie was teaching high school English & Reading and, in 2005, met a teenager with Down syndrome who changed her life forever. Although he was not Stephanie’s student, this amazing boy asked her to help him with his homework each morning. As Stephanie tutored him, she could not help but fall in love with him & marvel at just how perfectly & beautifully God had created him. So, for the next three years, David, Stephanie, & Copeland prayed that God would bless them with a child with Ds whom they could adopt. In 2008, their many prayers were answered when God blessed them with a beautiful newborn baby with Down syndrome! God had now wonderfully added the words “Down syndrome” to the word “adoption” while building their family. They named their new son Silas Eli. In the New Testament, Silas was one of the first Christian missionaries who served beside the Apostle Paul. It was only fitting that they chose this name because this was the missionary journey that they had been praying for and that God had called them to. Eli was David’s grandpa’s middle name.
From the moment the Barnett’s brought Silas home, he absolutely rocked their world! They now knew that God would call them to adopt more children with Ds. In 2010, Stephanie was led to Reece’s Rainbow through an article in People Magazine and the Barnett’s lives were forever changed. Through a series of miraculous events, the Lord completely opened the doors for the Barnett’s to bring home THREE more children. A few days after Christmas 2010, they officially committed to bringing home Igor, Tihon, and Leeza. In October of 2011, David and Stephanie landed on US soil with Igor (whom they named Teague Josiah), Tihon (whom they named Trenton James), and Leeza (whom they named Maclayne Faith – Mackie for short). The Lord had now graciously added the word “orphan” to the words “adoption” and “Down syndrome” as He continued to grow their family.
Now, a little over two years later, the Lord has answered the Barnett’s prayers of adopting again by opening doors for them to bring home three more orphans with Down syndrome from Eastern Europe. The Barnett’s are absolutely head over heels in love with Felix, Greta, & Romeo and cannot wait to bring them home! Please join the Barnett’s on their journey through prayer and support as the Lord once again grows their family through “adoption,” “Down syndrome,” and “orphan.” The Barnett’s are forever blessed and humbled by all those who have joined and will join them on their beautiful journey to fulfill God’s calling for their lives and ministry. Thank you!
17 that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. 18 “I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.” ~ John 14:17-19
Follow the family’s adoption journey on their blog at obedient2hiscommand.blogspot.com