Our Transplant Journey Continues

February 6, 2014 changed our lives in the most traumatic but beautiful way possible.  That day opened our eyes to the beautiful world of organ donation. 

There has not been one day since 2.6.14 that we have not been so grateful for the gift of life.

I have loved this quote! We have tried to embrace making each day the special occasion. It is such a GIFT to wake up every morning­­. That is always something to celebrate and a reason to find little ways to make each day a special moment/occasion. 

We never imagined that I would be a transplant recipient and we truly never imagined that Reid would be a living donor!

Yes, a LIVING DONOR! 

I am so proud to announce that Reid will be donating his kidney to a former co-worker, dear friend, and fellow Alabama football fan, Jon! 

When Reid first found out Jon was in need of a kidney (back in the Spring), he immediately felt the Holy Spirit telling him to get tested. 

Testing started back in July. Reid started with doing labs here in Dallas, followed by further testing checking his antibodies with Jon’s to ensure they were a match. Once we found out the antibodies were a match, we were flown to Houston in October for further testing. Jon served our country in the Navy so the VA transplant program is located in Houston. What a wonderful place to be in the heart of the medical district in Houston. 

It was VERY surreal for the both of us that I was NOT the patient. We have spent the last (almost) five years with Reid accompanying me to doctor visits and many procedures and surgeries. 

During our two days in Houston- many tests, scans, and exams were performed. We met with the nephrologist (kidney doctor), surgeons, psychologist, social worker, nutritionist, and transplant coordinator. 

We did not have our final answer when we left Houston as a few more tests needed to be done in Dallas. 

Upon completion of those tests, we got the official phone call on November 21st that Reid was a definite match and the kidney donation was a GO! 

The transplant coordinator informed us that the donation will take place on December 11th.

Reid has seen first hand the power of the gift of life as my life as his wife was saved through organ donation almost five years ago. This donation comes full circle for us. The thought that Jon and his family (wife and four kids) will be impacted by this donation for years to come is precious to us. 

Organ donation continues to parallel the gospel in every way. It turns our eyes to heavenly things! It sure is different for us to be on the donation side and it has given us an even deeper love and appreciation for not only my donor family but ALL donor families who choose to give life so others may live abundantly. 

What a picture of what Jesus has done for us! 

When we got the phone call on Wednesday, we immediately made our way to reveal the news to Jon. 

It was a sweet time to share with he and his entire family the great news! 

 

We would love your prayers during this time. 

Specific Prayer Requests:

·      Travel mercies to and from Houston

·      Peace that surpasses all understanding for both families

·      Wisdom for the surgeons and clinical team

·      Safe removal of Reid’s kidney

·      Smooth transition of Reid’s kidney being placed into Jon

·      For Jon’s body to accept the new kidney

·      Smooth recovery for Reid and Jon. 

·      That they both will continue to live their lives abundantly, savoring every moment, and giving GOD ALL THE GLORY! 

 We do not share this story to give ourselves ANY credit for this miracle. 

Reid has actually hated the attention of this announcement. 

We share this because we hope that you see Jesus in this story. 

He used our suffering, our darkest hours, and our deepest trial to bring SO much BEAUTY! And because of that, it has given Reid a new perspective on the gift of life and wanting to pass that gift on to others. “The greatest treasures in my life are products of the darkest times of my life” –Unknown. 

We share this because we want nothing less than for our lives to reflect the Gospel. For people to see Christ in us and our lives’ lived out daily. There is SO MUCH JOY when you are OBEDIENT to CHRIST! 

Thank you for continuing on this transplant journey with us!

We are grateful for your love and support!

All our love! Team Barker

4 ½ Years post transplant/Season of rest

Wow! It’s unbelievable to even write those words.

Last week, 8/6/18 marked 4 ½ YEARS post transplant.

There are days where that hits me in such profound ways.

The last three months for Reid and I have been filled with paperwork, paperwork, appointments, and, oh yes, more paperwork for our international adoption.

Last week, 4 ½ years hit me hard. I NEVER want to lose sight of the fact that I am able to be a Mommy because of the gift of life. This new journey is one of the absolute greatest blessings I will receive from being granted more life. We thank the Lord for each day of good health.

I have found myself in a season of rest. I have really cut back on saying “yes” to so many things. I have realized that saying “no” allows me to say “yes” to the things that I need in this season of my life to be the best version of myself.

I heard on a podcast recently, “No one will protect your calendar for you. They will take, take, take. You HAVE to leave white space in your calendar to protect yourself and your family.” I thought that was SO great and so true.

I recently read the book, Girl, wash your face by Rachel Hollis which I would highly recommend. Here were three of my favorite quotes from her book:

“Slow down your yes. Only commit to things you know you can accomplish because they’re incredibly important to you.”

“Every day you get to choose the way your world looks.”

“You are in charge of your own life, sister, and there’s not one thing in it you’re not allowing to be there.”

I LOVE these so much.

I have felt guilty recently for feeling like I have not been involved in so many different areas including volunteering more for organ donation, at church, community service, etc.

I have been in counseling since November, biblical counseling, which has been the most life-giving process.

When I was sharing this with my counselor, she said, “Look at what all you have done this last year. You have walked through the grief process of grieving your liver transplant, your hysterectomy, grieving the loss of a dream of having your own children, you have learned to set boundaries and surround yourself with healthy relationships, you are working on international adoption and so much more.”

When she said that, I immediately burst into tears.

It hit me that although I had not been giving to others as much as I desired this last year, I HAVE been taking care of ME in so many ways that I did not even realize I needed.

There are seasons where we have no choice but to be busy, but, I believe whole-heartedly that there are seasons where we need to scale back.

Where we take a look at our lives and see where we might need to be poured into and work through different situations in our own lives.

I cannot pour into others if I am not the healthiest version of myself. Realizing this truth was full of freedom for me.

With a season of more rest, it has allowed us to really focus on wrapping up our international adoption paperwork. We are finishing our Dossier paperwork now which is part of the international process. We are waiting on our I-800A form to be approved from the Department of Homeland Security, we just finished our psych evaluations this week and should receive our reports back in a couple of weeks. Once we have these documents, we will head to Austin for the day to get the many documents for the dossier apostilled.

Once they are apostilled, we will mail all of the documents to our adoption agency. They will have the documents translated into French since Burundi is a French speaking country. The documents will then be mailed to Burundi and once approved, we will be active on the wait list to be matched with our future kiddos.

This is a photo that was taken a year ago this weekend.

“Not showing but still glowing”

I have had some of my most precious friends announce their pregnancies and have their little babies or are having their babies very soon.

With the work I have done through counseling, I can honestly say I am so overjoyed for them. Although, I most likely could have gone through three pregnancies by the time our adoption journey is completed 😉 I choose to enjoy the story the Lord has blessed me with.

I am content beyond measure with our adoption journey and God’s plan for our lives.

Of course, there are days when the wait is hard. We are eager to have our babies in our home. We dream of them, how old they will be, what their names are, what our life will look like once they get here, and the list goes on and on.

One thing we have been intentional about is making moments count and enjoying each day that we have. We have learned to enjoy each day and see it as a gift since my transplant. We are embracing it just being the two of us right now for as long as we have left as Team Barker party of 2.

I pray you will reflect on the season of life you are currently in. Are there areas where you could scale back or where you need to create more intentional white space in your calendar?

There is freedom in the recognition of this and making the changes necessary to be the healthiest version of you!

Thank you for your continued love and support in every aspect of our life and on our adoption journey growing Team Barker!