Our family isn't exactly the "typical" family, but I believe we have been built by God's leading and that's worth much more than 'normalcy' to us! Michael and I married in July 2001 in our hometown in Florida. We each finished our Bachelor's degrees, Michael's in business and mine in elementary education from UCF in 2003 and 2004. After we began our family, Michael went back to school and received his Master's degree in Organizational Leadership in 2009.
God made us parents for the first time when Kristopher was born to us in February 2004. What a gift it is to be a mother and father!
In January 2006 Brianna was born and in March of that year she was diagnosed with Down syndrome. She underwent open heart surgery and the placement of a g-tube in June of that year, but is now a healthy 'typical' little girl! God used the diagnosis of Down syndrome as a blessing to us and called us into adoption in the fall of 2007.
In February 2008, Emma (5 yrs old) and Micah (18 months old) joined our family through international adoption from Ukraine. Emma (born February 2003) was in very bad health when she joined our family, weighing just 17 pounds and in need of open heart surgery. She has Down syndrome as well as autism from the years spent in a crib without interaction, and mild CP from strokes caused by her heart defect. Micah is 8 months younger than Brianna (born September 2006) and has Down syndrome as well as moderate hearing loss. He was 11 pounds at 18 months old and had pneumonia since birth due to aspiration. He is now an active and happy little boy and uses sign language to communicate.
The Lord blessed us further when we had our next biological baby girl, Lynae, in September 2009! She now is challenging her siblings to keep up with her and is a lively little girl with such a great imagination!
In July of 2010, Michael and I answered God's calling to commit to a little boy waiting in Ukraine. Wesley (born February 2005) has cerebral palsy and joined our family in December 2010. We didn't know God would be "filling the gap," but he is exactly a year younger than Kristopher and a year older than Brianna. Wesley is considered a "total care" child, as he cannot do any of his own daily care. He is fed with a g-tube and cannot sit or stand. He can roll to get what he wants and enjoys the activity of all his siblings around him! Wesley is also legally blind, which affects his sensory input and he has difficulty with loud sounds and changing light when he's not in a familiar environment.
|2012 Left to Right: Brianna, Micah, Aleksa, Delaina,|
Meredith, Lynae, James, Michael, Emma,
Our newest addition is another 'home made' child, our daughter Delaina, born to us in July 2012. She is a spunky and determined little one as she tries to keep up with her older siblings. She is a precious blessing, as are all of our children, and we are enjoying seeing her grow and learn.
During the first 12 years of our marriage, up until recently, Michael worked in several ministry positions including youth, administration, and network administrator at our church. I was a children's minister for several years, taught home school classes for individuals, and have since focused primarily on our family and currently on homeschooling all of our children.
|Left to Right, Emma, Aleksa, Lynae, Meredith (holding Delaina) Brianna (standing), Kristopher, James, Micah, Michael, and Wesley|
Michael and I have left our "yes" on the table, and we continue to answer God's calling wherever he leads! He has blessed us abundantly as we strive to serve Him in every aspect of our lives.
UPDATE: July 2016
Well, this is a bit of a late update, but we now have 2 more children! Paul, born in Bulgaria and adopted to the USA at age 5, came to our family at age 6 through a disrupted adoption. He is now 8 years old and his adoption was finalized in May of 2015. Harper, now 8 months, was born to us in November 2015. We also have relocated to Athens, Georgia, area and are happily involved in a wonderful community including a great church, work (Michael is working as the network administrator at a Christian school) and homeschooling friends. We are thankful for the ride God has us on and the people He continues to surround us with!
UPDATE: May 2017
One more baby is being added to the Cornish bunch! Nya Elise came home in mid-March at 7 months old. It was her first time ever out of the hospital! She's a beautiful infant with respiratory issues and requires quite a bit of medical equipment to keep her healthy. She has a bright smile and a sweet spirit about her and she loves all the attention from her brothers and sisters! We look forward to finalizing her adoption in the coming weeks!
UPDATE: July 2016
|Left to right: Emma, Kristopher, Delaina, Paul (in front),|
Meredith holding Harper, James, Brianna, Lynae
Aleksa (in back), Micah, Michael and Wesley (in chair)
and Odina the service dog!
UPDATE: May 2017
|Left to right: Lynae, Nya (in stroller- blurred as adoption is|
not finalized), Kristopher, Delaina, Aleksa, James (sitting),
Brianna, Emma, Paul, Micah, Harper (in front), Wesley
UPDATE! November 2020
Wow, it has been a little while! Our family has added two more bio babies since Nya's adoption. Silas was born in January 2018 and Ryleigh in March 2020. We are doing well overall but staying very much to ourselves in the midst of the pandemic with our medically fragile/complex family.
Top to bottom, left to right:
Wesley (15), Meredith &Michael, Nya (4)
Kristopher (16), Emma (17)
Harper (5), Micah (14), Brianna (14), Delaina (8), Aleksa (18)