Tuesday, August 13

Happy First Birthday Delaina! And happy Seventh to James!

In the great scheme of things, we often don't make a big deal out of every birthday in our house because, well, there are quite a lot of them :).  However... the FIRST birthday, well, it's kind of a big deal.

On Sunday we celebrated both Delaina's first birthday (July 31st) AND James' 7th birthday (August 14th)!  We also celebrated the birth of their new cousin, Alexander (August 1st). :)

I know that rather than a run-down of the day, you'd much rather see pictures.  And I'm LONG over-due to post pictures here.  Really, it's just so much easier to click "upload to FaceBook".  If you ever need a photo fix, visit us at www.facebook.com/thecornishfamily and there's a stream of photos and videos that are posted there as things happen.

Without further ado... PICTURES :) in absolutely no particular order... :)

 Grandaddy Pocock and Brianna
 Matthew, April, and Emma
 Grandaddy Pocock, Micah, and Brianna, Kristopher in background
 Kristopher, and James in foreground
 Aunt Birgitt Pocock, Lynae, and Micah, Michael in foreground
 Michael and James
 Michael and James
 Michael and James
 Michael and Delaina
 Grandma Cornish, Kristopher, Delaina, Brianna, Micah, and Michael holding Lynae
 Grandma Cornish, Wesley, Aleksa, Delaina, Michael holding Micah, Matthew and April, James on the floor, Granddaddy Pocock holding Emma
 Grandma Cornish and Delaina
Elizabeth holding Alexander and Aunt Birgitt Pocock
 Granddaddy Pocock holding Nathaniel
 Elizabeth with Alexander
April and Aleksa
 Grndma Cornish, Delaina, Brianna, Wesley, Elizabeth with Alexander, Michael
Kristopher holding Alexander
 Jim and Kristopher
 James and Granddaddy holding Nathaniel
 Emma, Eliabeth, James, Michael, Lynae
 Delaina's first birthday cake!

 James digging in... even though he normally doesn't eat ANYTHING (literally-- all liquid, but he liked the cake!)

Happy Birthday!! :) 

That Holy Spirit Work

Sometimes, I feel like I need to somehow show others the value or worth of my children with special needs.  Specifically when I recognize that another sees them as dispensable for whatever reason.  I go on a hunt, wanting to help others see what I see.  When I see a post by someone else that joyfully reflects this value, and expresses it in a way that I wish I could, I am generally eager to share it with others.  To hope that they will catch a glimmer of that joy that it gives me when others understand the beauty of the soul of a person with disabilities.

I think that sometimes this desire to help others to 'catch the vision' of the value of people with disabilities can instead be seen as a defensiveness or a sword up for battle. Especially in the world of FaceBook, where your posts and status messages and links are seen as a billboard in to what your life reflects.

Let me say this loud and clear:

The parent's desire for her child to be accepted is not a sword and rarely a battle shield.  It is more often a white flag of peace, asking for the battle to be called off.  

The battle is raging against us.  It's raging against our children.  The difference between those in people-groups that have been or are currently discriminated against and the group of people who are as a group defined as people with intellectual disabilities is this: People with intellectual disabilities CANNOT defend themselves.  They cannot speak for themselves to say how much it hurts.  They feel it, but they cannot articulate it as clearly as other groups that are discriminated against.  It is you and me, and our brothers and sisters and aunts and grandparents and cousins, and friends, and teachers, and pastors, and community leaders, who are their voice for inclusion in every aspect of their lives.

There's more to it, though.  You see, there are two types of 'hurt' that a person can feel when they see a post speaking to a 'negative' situation of a person with disabilities.  Whether it be in regards to them being mistreated in school, not included in their community or church, or any other thing that is brought to light...

There are two types of 'hurt' responses. There are those that hurt for the person with disabilities, and there are those that cannot believe that someone would "dare say that" about an organization/group/etc. 

It's the second 'hurt' that I am going to address.  Bold of me, I know... but it circles around as a type of political correctness within the 'non-disabled' communities and in recent months quite a bit of it has made it round circle back to me in real life and in the blog/FaceBook world.

If you're already angry that I'd even suggest that such a feeling could exist, and you're saying to yourself "I don't feel that way!" trying to make excuses for that pang you felt when I even suggested the notion, then hold on, because there's still some work to be done.   Because what I'd like to suggest is that maybe, just maybe, you need to study that conviction.  Yep, I said it.  It could be a conviction.  Study the conviction that says "that is annoying or not right," or "that doesn't apply to me," as you reach to click 'close' so you don't have to see this.

Consider that if it hurts you to see it, then there may be a part of your life where you've not yet applied it. Consider that if you see a post about the church-- and your church isn't accepting to people with disabilities-- that you may have a role in GETTING IT TO.  Consider that if you see a post about the loneliness of parents, or the lack of school support, or the difficulty finding respite or child care, or... or... or... and you feel a PANG that says "but wait, don't say that!"  Then something inside of you is conflicting with some of the outside information that is being put in.

Consider that there are 2 reasons that could happen:

1- the information you're reading is absolutely false and didn't/doesn't/won't/couldn't happen.  Consider the ramifications of that.  Does/could/ might it happen?  Shouldn't be too hard to figure out.

2- the information is correct, and you've got some Holy Spirit work going on in your heart.

Of course, it could be that something you've read is overstated or doesn't share all the facts, or that it's not from a reliable source.  But also consider that if you're feeling something that could be conviction, then some time in prayer might be a good start to recognize how God's calling YOU to be a voice.

"Whom shall I send?"  "Here I am.  Send me."  (Isaiah 6:8 paraphrased)

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why:
I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.’
 “Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

Matthew 25:34-40 (The Message)

Wednesday, August 7

Praying for the captors...

This is a blog post originally written in January 2008 when we had just finalized the STOP of the adoption of Aleksa the first time (also referenced as "Sasha" below) and our intention to adopt Emma and "Simon" (who was not yet available and we instead adopted Micah who was 'newly' listed-- Simon was later adopted as well, though).

Praying for the captor.  And now... FREEDOM.  I'd forgotten about this, but I distinctly remember laying on that stuffy twin bed in the hotel in Korosten praying and crying and reading the Bible, flipping pages and reading aloud and Michael saying I wasn't making sense then jotting down notes...  Mike eventually did make sense of me :)

Before going to bed I began to consider a name for our future children. The name we had for Sasha was Aleksa Faith. It is by faith that we stepped out to find her. The name for our son, unknown to us(but this would be Misha), was Dylan Jeremiah. Today we learned our new son’s nickname is Simon. We have decided that Simon will be his middle name as we have named each of our children with a strong Biblical middle name. For our girl, since it was Faith that brought us to Sasha, seemed appropriate to have the middle name of Hope. So I looked through my Bible's concordance for Hope. What is a verse to cling to for our little girl? Immediately the verse we know so well stood out to me. Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” How fitting.
Our little girl will not have a future without being adopted. But the lord has plans for her. Plans to give her hope and a future. Plans to prosper her and not to harm her. Plans to give her a family and love. And how neat that it stood out to me because of the name Jeremiah that precedes it (the name we intended for Misha's middle name).
That’s not all though. That’s just in the concordance. When I turned to Jeremiah 29 I began at the beginning of the letter. It was written by the prophet Jeremiah and “sent from Jerusalem to the surviving elders among the exiles and to the priests, the prophets, and all other people Nebuchadnezzar had carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon.” It carries the words that the Lord has sent to the exiles. In verse seven it says something unusual though. “Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” In my study notes it says this “An unprecedented and unique concept in the ancient world; working toward and praying for the prosperity of one’s captors.”
It goes on in verse 10 to say that at the prescribed time He will come and fulfill His promise and bring them back. Then verse 11, plans to prosper, to give hope, to give a future. In verse 13 and 14 it says “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back from captivity. I will gather you from all the nations and places where I have banished you, declares the Lord, and will bring you back to the place from which I carried you into exile.”
He will collect his children. He has a plan for them. And a plan for their captors as well…In the end of verse 21, speaking of those who have spoken lies in His name, it says “I will hand them over to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and he will put them to death before your very eyes.” Those that created stumbling blocks will be dealt with.
Thank you, God for teaching us to pray for the captors. Pray for those who persecute. Pray for the captors. Pray not just for a change in their heart, but for their prosperity. Because if they have peace and prosperity so will the captive.
I don’t know about you, but I never thought to pray prosperity on the ‘captor’ of Sasha’s orphanage. I didn’t think to pray peace. But it is true… if he has peace and prosperity, so then will Sasha. And in an economy where the need for money is a drive for so many inappropriate actions and decisions, prosperity may be just what some people need in order to be okay allowing change.Tonight I ask you to pray for peace and prosperity on the director of Sasha’s orphanage.