Disability

Stories, theology, and cultural commentary related to disability.

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Disability Is Different in AfricaWhat one family has learned from serving families in Zambia through the Special Hope Network.
Disability Is Different in Africa

About six years ago, the Nelson family came over to our house for dinner. Holly and Eric Nelson have three children—Maggie, Mollie, and Sam. All three were adopted as infants, and all three have Down syndrome. I met them for the first time when they were teenagers, and when their family was about ...

How to Talk to Parents of Children With Down SyndromeI am much more inclined to tell the whole truth when you assume she is someone to celebrate.
How to Talk to Parents of Children With Down Syndrome

When people discover that I have a child with Down syndrome, I often receive a murmur and a sympathetic nod of the head. I almost immediately feel something tighten inside my chest, as if I am steeling myself for a fight my opponent doesn’t even know they’ve initiated. Most of the time, ...

Have Christians Made an Idol of Life?Ezekiel Emanuel says he wants to die at 75. Why we can support his reasoning.
Have Christians Made an Idol of Life?
Moyen Brown/flickr

In some ways, the title of Ezekiel Emanuel’s new essay for The Atlantic says it all: "Why I Hope to Die at 75." But this already over-commented (2,500 comments and counting) and widely read article deserves some attention here because Christians have distinct reasons both to pay attention ...

Me and Richard Dawkins--Not That Different After All?The temptation of utilitarianism.
Me and Richard Dawkins--Not That Different After All?
Matthias Asgeirsson/Creative Commons

A few weeks back, Richard Dawkins got the Twittersphere up in arms. When a woman asked what she should do with a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome, Dawkins replied, “Abort it and try again. It would be immoral to bring it into the world if you have the choice.” He provoked a somewhat ...

Are 90 Percent of Babies Diagnosed with Down Syndrome Really Aborted?Dispelling the myths about Down syndrome, and telling the good story.
Are 90 Percent of Babies Diagnosed with Down Syndrome Really Aborted?

My husband Peter and I were walking on the beach the other day. Even though she was far away, with her back to us and her body halfway submerged in water, we knew. She turned around and her face assured us. She had Down syndrome, just like our daughter Penny. We were away from our kids for a few ...

Sorrow Needs a HistoryWriting About the Death of My Son. A guest post from Aaron Cobb.
Sorrow Needs a History

I first met Aaron Cobb online when he shared his eulogy for his son Samuel. Since then, we have corresponded every so often, and I was very glad when he told me he had decided to put his reflections about Samuel into a book. When I finished reading the manuscript of Loving Samuel, I wrote: "'A ...

The Surprising Gift of WorkHow Costco gave my brother the dignity we all need--A guest post by Chris Horst.
The Surprising Gift of Work

Jokes are my brother's love language. If you know a good joke, or even an average joke, telling it to my brother Matthew is probably the best decision you could ever make. Even if you fumble the delivery, as I'm wont to do, Matthew won't hold it against you. His deep contagious laugh ...

How My Son with Autism Transformed my BusinessA guest post by Randy Lewis about Walgreen's new initiative to employ people with disabilities
How My Son with Autism Transformed my Business

I picked up No Greatness Without Goodness, by Randy Lewis, because I was intrigued that a senior VP at Walgreen's had successfully created hundreds of jobs for individuals with both physical and intellectual disabilities. I was even more intrigued to find out those jobs paid an equal wage to the ...

A New Kind of Missions TripSustainable, inexpensive, local, and relational in nature. Part two of my interview with Cameron Doolittle
A New Kind of Missions Trip

Yesterday I interviewed Cameron Doolittle, President and CEO of Jill's House, a respite care ministry for families with children with disabilities. Today's post is a follow up from that interview, focused on Oxygen3, the program Jill's House has developed so that other churches and individuals ...

A Ministry for Parents at the End of Their RopeJill's House President Cameron Doolittle talks about a rhythm of respite for families in need
A Ministry for Parents at the End of Their Rope

I first learned about Jill's House—a respite care facility for children with disabilities—at a Q Conference in 2012. I've stayed in touch with Cameron Doolittle, Jill's House's President, since then, and I'm running an interview with Cameron today and tomorrow in which ...

Please Don't Call My Daughter an AngelThe twin problem of low expectations and angelic expectations undermine what we all have in common
Please Don't Call My Daughter an Angel

I received a music video from a friend yesterday. It's about children with special needs, and the singer means well. She wants to affirm children with intellectual disabilities. She wants to reassure parents. She wants to cast a spotlight on her own flaws and failings and point out the good qualities ...

Stopping to Notice a Day of GraceI have plenty of grumpy and just fine days. But every once in a while, a really good one comes along...
Stopping to Notice a Day of Grace
Phil Dutton

Do you ever have a day that captures the simple goodness within your life? For me, it doesn't happen often. I have lots of grumpy days--when the kids are whining and I'm tired and there's a voice in the back of my head telling me to pay more attention to the good things but instead I ...

What Slowing Down Teaches You That Rushing Never WillThe mother of a child with Down syndrome joins her daughter’s rebellion against hurried living. A guest post by Elisa Fryling Stanford
What Slowing Down Teaches You That Rushing Never Will
Lisa Beth Anderson

My daughter Eden is slow. I know that sounds negative. It feels almost like a betrayal to write it. Our world rarely welcomes slowness. But Eden, who is nine years old and has Down syndrome, remains unaware of the need to rush. Ever.

This morning she walked out of the house with mismatched mittens, ...

Perfectly Human: What Is Ministry Success When a Child Dies?Ministering to children with special needs in Zambia. A guest post by Beth Bailey
Perfectly Human: What Is Ministry Success When a Child Dies?

It had been more than a year since we last buried a child. And though we all knew it would eventually happen again, it felt like an especially hard blow. When the time came, Special Hope Network had existed in Lusaka, Zambia, for close to four years and we had been serving children with intellectual ...

Perfectly Human: How a Little Girl with Cerebral Palsy Shared Her GiftsDisability couldn't limit her love. A guest post by Meadow Rue Merrill
Perfectly Human: How a Little Girl with Cerebral Palsy Shared Her Gifts

A few years back, I read a beautiful and heart-wrenching article in the Boston Globe about a family who had adopted a child from Uganda named Ruth. I reached out to the author, Meadow Rue Merrill, and an online friendship budded in time. Since then, I've had the privilege of reading Meadow's ...

What We Celebrate on World Down Syndrome DayAnd how you can help us tell, and live, the good stories
What We Celebrate on World Down Syndrome Day

Every week, I read heartwarming stories about Down syndrome: homecoming kings and queens, young men and women going to college, starting businesses, becoming models and actors, running marathons. And every week, I read horror stories about Down syndrome: rape that only becomes more horrific when ...

The Best Parenting Advice I Ever ReceivedSmile. A lot.
The Best Parenting Advice I Ever Received
Chris Cappoziello

People sometimes ask me what I've "done right" with Penny. They ask because Penny reads and goes to ballet class and practices piano and orders her own meal when we eat at a restaurant. They ask because she is "high functioning." I suspect many people assume we've coached ...

Perfectly Human: Reflections on Seven Years with my Daughter with Down syndromeWhy one mother now prays for strength and weakness
Perfectly Human: Reflections on Seven Years with my Daughter with Down syndrome

It's a bright Sunday afternoon at the park. My youngest daughter Evangeline giggles in an adaptive swing while her dad dutifully pushes her back and forth. We adopted Evangeline, who has Down syndrome and autism, from Ukraine. Elaina and Zoya, our two older girls, with adult-like bodies but childlike ...

Anticipating World Down Syndrome Day: What I Admire About My DaughterHow Penny is helping me learn the secret of being content
Anticipating World Down Syndrome Day: What I Admire About My Daughter

When Penny was diagnosed with Down syndrome at birth, I was sad and scared. The sadness and the sorrow dissipated with time, replaced by joy and hope. One of the reasons I began to have joy and hope for this baby I loved was because I began to believe that she wasn't defined by the list of delays ...

Sinless Down Syndrome Angels? Or Something Else?A Perfectly Human guest post by author Margot Starbuck
Sinless Down Syndrome Angels? Or Something Else?

Peeking out from my living room window, I see one of my sons chucking a snowball at a neighbor who has Down Syndrome.

This could be disconcerting for some moms, I know, but not this one.

It's February in North Carolina and, after a rare snowfall, the friendliest snowball fight you could ever ...

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