Friday, September 01, 2017

A review: mifold booster seat

I will first say I reluctantly agreed to do this review.  I was contacted by a very sweet rep from mifold booster seats and said no, I use 5-pt harnesses for all of my kids until they can sit well in a regular seat.  But, she wrote again.  In that time, my sister mentioned the mifold seat to me as an option she was considering.  I'd thought about going ahead and seeing what they're all about, so the second time they reached out, I agreed.

I'm glad I did!

Though we still feel that a 5-pt harness is the safest way to travel with kids, this booster does an amazing job of putting a seat belt down to a child's level, as well as KEEPING it there, no matter the child's position in the seat.  The portability is great, as it can be thrown into a child's backpack for a play date after school or be carried along for a day trip with grandma.

When I received the mifold, my sister was visiting with her boys, so in addition to my own kids trying out the seat, my sister was able to try it with her son as well.  Here are some pictures of the seat, the setup, and my kids of different body builds, sizes, and developmental levels trying it out!

We are highly impressed.  We often use a TravelSafer vest, and I would  consider this to be similar in its restraint and positioning to the vest.  At the same time, it's even more portable and versatile as it doesn't have to 'fit' the child as well, and can be adjusted in just a few touches to fit a child from the smallest to the largest of their size recommendations.

An impressive product, that safely adjusts the seatbelt to fit the child!  Very grateful to mifold for allowing us to 'test' the product as well as intoruducing us to a seat we may very well use as the need arises in the future.

Now, the pictures!  It was much smaller than I expected!

Here's where to shop:

This review was made after receiving the product free of charge, with the request for a post.  The mifold company did not otherwise influence the post contents.

Saturday, June 03, 2017

One morning with the Cornishes... video and fundraiser!

One Morning with the Cornishes VIDEO and T-SHIRT FUNDRAISER LAUNCH T shirt sale link:

As Michael and I worked on creating some t-shirt designs to launch a fundraiser to help populate our family bus fund, we had an idea.  Why don’t we introduce our family at the same time that we launch the tshirt fundraiser?  And… let’s show a little bit of ‘real life’.  So, one morning last week I grabbed my cell phone and walked through our day with it recording.  I didn’t wipe down the tables and brush the kids’ hair and  make life “viewer ready.’  No, instead, I started off when I was sitting in the rocking chair watching my 13 yr old say good morning to his baby sister after breakfast.  I only recorded until lunch time, when I loaded up some of the children, left others with my mom, and headed out to a doctor’s appointment.  What I ended up with was a picture of our beautiful mess.  A morning of our normal around here…

I hope you’ll enjoy getting a peek at our family, and will see below for links to our t-shirt fundraiser and our family bus fund.

We have 12 children, my husband and I, and 2 of our children require wheelchairs.  We also have a service dog who cannot currently travel with us.  Add in other medical equipment and just the daily needs of 8 children with special needs, a toddler, and 3 ‘typically developing’ children, and our 15 passenger van is packed as tight as possible.  We are raising funds to help purchase a family bus that will hold 16 passengers plus 2 wheelchair tie downs and has a lift.  

As of today (6/3/2017) we have raised $9,600!  That’s a great start and we’re so thankful to those who have contributed! Take a look at the tshirt fundraiser below and you can read more about our family at or at our family fund page with Helping Hands (direct donations to this fund are tax deductible),

Here’s the video: One Morning with the Cornishes

 All shirts are available in various colors, crew and v-neck, as well as hoodies!   A portion of profits will be added to our bus fund.

Shirt Storefront:   **NOTE** Once you see the shirts, you can select DIFFERENT COLORS of each design! :)

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small things great love.jpgadopt foster support.jpg god is good even in the hard stuff.jpg

Family Bus Fund (Tax deductible donations!):

Find us on Facebook:

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The day nothing changed

Today is a day that nothing changed.  Sure, there were subtleties to the day that made it different from the one before, and the nuances of life’s movement were there.  But today, nothing changed.
I have to remind myself of that, because today, something inside of my mind changed.  

Today, a doctor wrote on her note pad “She has a diagnosis of cerebral palsy.”

It’s a simple little sentence.  Six words.  They didn’t change my life nor the life of my daughter, but in my mind, something shifted.

My daughter was born early and as a result of that and some other medical complexities, she had a brain bleed at birth.  When my husband and I were first introduced to her at 4.5 months old as we considered pursuing her adoption, this was explained to us. “She will one day be diagnosed with CP” the notes said.  She had post-hemmorragic hydrocephalus, and had really rough first months of life.  Even now as I write this she’s in the nursery hooked up to a ventilator and oxygen concentrator that helps her breathe through her tracheostomy tube, inserted right into her throat.  She’s eating through a feeding tube.  

She’s had a long road to get to our home, and still has many struggles in life to overcome.  Even though we KNEW that this day was coming and we would hear a neurologist say the words “cerebral palsy” to us, it still shook me a little.

“She seems so happy.”  “Are you SURE?”  “Doctors can be wrong sometimes.”  “Just wait and see what God does, he’s going to heal her brain!”  “But she looks so… normal.”

I’ve heard all of those statements in the last 4.5 months since we said “yes” and moved mountains to join our baby girl in a hospital several hours from our home.  Most were said in a loving tone, a hopeful tone, a tone that wanted us to agree with them and believe that they were right.

The thing is, nothing changed today.  She’s still “so happy.”  She’s still able to be healed.  She still looks “so… normal.”  And yet, we have a diagnosis that says there’s brain damage to an extent that it has caused neurological deficit in motor areas of the brain, and she will need assistance to meet whatever milestones she may meet in the future.

This isn’t a ‘sentence’ with the diagnosis. God is still good, even when things are hard, and His will is still what we seek.  It reminds me of Jesus’ response about a blind man when he said “He was born blind so that the works of God could be seen in his life.”  I cling to that story as if Jesus was speaking directly to us some days.  Six of our children have Down syndrome.  Now two have a primary diagnosis of cerebral palsy.

I had a little conversation with Jesus today. He did the talking to me, because I could only listen. It's as if he was saying

“Him, and her, and him, and him, and her, and her, and her, and him… I see them all.  I know their struggles.  Some of their struggles are because of the environment that man put them in to.  But my Father will make all things work together for the good of the Kingdom.  God is going to be seen THROUGH that thing which the world sees as a deficit.  Some of them, the very making of their chromosomes has been crafted to be different, so that a different part of God could be seen.  Each and every person has strengths and weaknesses, areas that the Father has given more or less to each so that they can be a part of the Body of Christ.  No matter what strengths and weaknesses are more evident to others, my Father has given each person a gift that they will use to Glorify Him.  Their praises are heard, whether in eloquent and flawless music or in grunts and utterances of joy.  Every person has purpose, has meaning.  Every person is here to fulfill a role in The Church.  Don’t discount anyone based on what you can physically see.  My Father created them WHOLE.  Each was created so that the works of God could be seen in their lives.”  

I’m reminded that God’s plan is intact.  Our daughter didn’t change today.  Today, our daughter received a diagnosis, but through the eyes of God, today was a day that nothing changed.

Monday, May 29, 2017

Short term missions and orphanages- there's a problem here

Part of the biggest struggles we have with two of our children comes as a result of institutionalization and well-meaning strangers.  These strangers were mostly there as “missionaries.”  They were there on short term mission projects, set on “investing” in a day or week of the life of an orphan.  Set on seeing children’s faces light up with joy at the candies they bring.  Snuggling children in a way that parents and close family do.  Strangers coming into these children’s lives for just a short time, hugging them close against their bodies and  encouraging the children to give indiscriminate affection over the course of a few days only to disappear one day and never look back.  

Your pictures and your memories aren’t what the mission trip is supposed to be about.

Please, if you’re considering mission trips either as a leader, a student, or someone with influence on how these short term trips are done, PLEASE consider the long term effects of indiscriminate affection and what it does to children who have been repeatedly hurt, abandoned, and whose brains are forming in a way that they will not form bonds with familiar people.  Please don’t hug and kiss on children you don’t know, and whose future you don’t have in mind.  Please don’t dismiss the ‘rules’ of their environment and allow chaos to break out in the ‘name’ of a week of spiritual breakthroughs for yourself.

If you need to feel good about helping orphans, consider that their buildings need to be painted, their playground updated, their toys refreshed or replaced.  You can bring music and dance the day away or bring Bible lessons to teach, but where YOU need to hug and kiss on them and hold them and show them affection because YOU believe that YOU are the only one that is bringing the name of Jesus to them and in order for YOU to do this, YOU must show them affection, THEY are not going to benefit from it.  No, they’re actually being destroyed.  

Teaching an institutionalized child in an orphanage that strangers are the ones who give affection, even in the “name of Jesus” is debilitating for them while they grow up.  They learn that those they opened up to left, just like every other important person in their lives that landed them in an orphanage to start with.  They may even associate your desertion with the desertion of the Jesus and God you wanted to teach them about.

Instead of fulfilling your need to love on orphans by being physical with them, show them love by appropriate interaction of a friend or even stranger.  High 5’s, side hugs, sitting face out on your lap, reading them stories, singing songs and dancing holding hands.

When you show appropriate social boundaries to children in an orphanage, you might be saving them from heartbreak and you may be making their ‘connections’ between intimacy and social boundaries grow in a way that will make their actual BRAIN CONNECTIONS form in a healthy way.  Where they don’t feel your leaving as a loss, but as a stranger that came through their lives as they really should.  A stranger that told them about a Father God and his Son named Jesus.  That’s what we want them to remember…
The fine print...*This is not talking about long term missions or local missionaries, and another way to help orphans without causing some of these issues is to support those who live by the orphanages and are bringing the Gospel into the orphanages on a regular basis and have relationships with the children! **The result of brain connections being made in a way that doesn't allow a person to form strong bonds with familiar people are two conditions which used to both together be called Reactive Attachment Disorder. Now they've split the condition into two types and Disinhibited Social Engagement Disorder is what we see with our institutionalized children. You can read more about them in very easy-to-understand language here:

Saturday, May 06, 2017

Family Update and Immediate Need

We have news! We are adopting!  We never thought God would call us to a BABY, but that is exactly what He has done!  Our beautiful Nya spent her first 7 months of life in the hospital, and came to our home in Mid-March!  She's precious and we are so thankful that God has called us and allowed us to parent another of His special children!

Here's a guest post sharing a current and immediate need of our family, a fundraiser to be able to purchase a vehicle that we all fit in!  Thank you for considering a donation and for sharing this on social media if you can.  If you have other ideas or resources for grants or fundraising, we'd be glad to hear from you as we follow God with our "yes" to care for His children.

Guest post from Jen and Melody:

Michael and Meredith Cornish are parents to 12 children, including their current adoption, a 8 month old with significant medical needs (not pictured). Through 4 international adoptions, a foster adoption and a domestic adoption of an international child who needed another adoptive home, Michael and Meredith have repeatedly allowed the Lord to have complete control of their finances and given everything to give a family to children in need. Eight of the Cornish children have special needs including their biological 11 year old daughter, two 14 year old daughters, two 10 year old sons, and a 9 year old son who all have Down syndrome as their primary diagnosis. Their 12 year old son has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy, and their 8 month old daughter is expected to have a similar diagnosis due to trauma at birth, though she is currently trach and ventilator dependent. They have 4 other biological children, ages 13, 7, 4, and 18 months.

Though Mike and Meredith will tell you they all 'fit' into their 15 passenger van, it is not without difficulty, and this limits their ability to do some activities and greatly increases the time it takes for them to load and unload their family from the vehicle. Their son with CP requires a wheelchair, and it is taken apart and put under the back seats as well as into the 15th seat of the van, but has to be disassembled and reassembled at every stop. Ten of their kids still need car seats, so seating itself is very tight. The new baby has medical equipment that takes up the floor board below two of the car seats and between the driver and passenger's seat, as well as a double stroller which squeezes into the door area where the double doors open. In order to get anyone out of the vehicle for a stop, some of the baby's equipment must be unloaded, and to get the other 2 children out of the front row, they must pass through the front doors of the vehicle. Though it is possible, it is difficult! 

We would like the Cornish family to be able to continue to keep their family active and healthy as well as to be able to relieve some of the physical work that it takes for them to leave their house. They are a family that enjoys the park, day trips, activities with local special needs groups, and church involvement, and we also know the addition of their newest baby has significantly changed their sleep schedule! 

We want to see this family blessed by providing them with a vehicle that will meet the needs of all of their family members and will be reliable as Meredith ventures out with her family much of the time on her own. This family bus will have 16-18 seats to allow for a nurse or other caregiver to travel with them as needed, and once again their treasured service dog will have room to come along! With a wheelchair lift and two wheelchair spaces, their baby girl's needs are anticipated if she has a long term need for a chair, but that space will be useful to secure her medical equipment at the current time. Please join us in blessing this family with a vehicle that will allow them to continue to raise the beautiful children that God has placed in their care!
As of 5/6/2017, approximately $6600 has been raised for the Cornishes!

Follow this link to donate to the Cornish Family Bus Fund (donations are tax deductible!)