Eichhorn Family Follow-Up

This is a follow up post to “Special Needs Adoption {Eichhorn Family}” .

Several of you submitted your questions for the Eichhorn family and I was happy to get these answers for you.   While what works for the Eichhorn family may not be possible or work for all of us, one thing they prove to us is that with determination and creativity typical families just like yours and mine can provide homes for waiting children with special needs.

Question:  How do you afford the medical costs that come with children with special needs?

Answer:  “Our first 5 adoptions were USA adoptions from Ohio. With Ohio adoptions Medicaid insurance is part of the deal when you adopt through the county foster care/adoption system. Your children have most medical needs paid for until they are 18.”

Question:  What has been the hardest part of being a parent of special needs children?

Answer:  “Our hardest part of parenting special needs children is getting time away together. Date nights or date days are few and far between, typical babysitters aren’t trained to watch medical needs children and paying for or even finding someone is not easy. Trained family is a good option for time away together. For us as individuals we help each other out by one of us watching the kids so the other can get out of the house for a while.”

Question: Do you plan to adopt more children?

Answer:  “Eventually we probably will adopt more children. For the time being our family is enjoying the children we have and are taking a break from the constant flow of social workers and paperwork. Also with recruiting efforts hopefully there will be no more special needs children around to adopt.”

Question: How do you transport your family?

Answer:  “For our family’s transportation we have purchased a giant ford van with two sets of wheelchair tie downs and a wheelchair lift. If or when we add more children we will then have to take two vehicles when we all go together as a family.”

Question: What is your day to day schedule like?  Do you have a lot of appointments outside the home?

Answer:  “Our day to day schedule includes katie working overnight as elijah’s nurse 5 nights a week. Everybody is up at 6 and we both work together to get all six kids up and fed by seven when I take them to school. Katie stays home and finishes getting the other three ready for the day including starting elijah’s daily therapy routines. I am home by 8 and either hang out with the kids, run errands, do handyman projects around our home or other people’s homes. Elijah has a nurse who comes for 5 hours three days a week which gives katie a break from his medical and therapy needs. I pick kids up at 2 and then do homework and playtime until dinner at 5. Five of six are in bed by 7 and elijah is finished with his procedures by 8 which gives us two hours to unwind before bedtime. Though plans often change, such as when one of the kids has an emergency and ends up needing to stay in the hospital for a couple weeks in which case katie usually stays at the hospital and I take on full charge of everybody else!”

Question: “I’m a mom of three biological children.  We are hoping to adopt and have been thinking about adopting a child with special needs but I’m already so busy and I’m afraid I won’t have time to care for the child the way they need.”

Answer:  “Appointments are crazy when you first get a child. They have to have so many initial specialist visits and tons of therapy to start in. Elijah now gets all of his weekly therapy in the home since he is immunocompromised. Manny and Gideon both graduated from therapy in December so we only have medical appointments no therapy outside the home (until we get it set up for Zahara!) But even at that we still have three or so appointments a week in which case one of us takes the child/children to the doctor and the other stays home with whoever is not going. It makes it really nice to be able to have two parents at home in these situations.”

Question: “Were you scared when you adopted your first child with special needs?  I dont have any experience with special needs and am afraid I wouldn’t know what to do!”

Answer:  “I was definitely scared with my first adoption, but I feel it was a healthy fear. Uncertainty was assured with that whole process. At that point we had no children it was just deciding that life would be different forever. You give up free time as a married couple, certain outings, retirement… I don’t regret it one bit and would make the same choice many times over. With God guiding us into that process we knew He could come up with better life plans than we could anyway. Special needs children do take special time and attention. You can always learn special needs as you go, how much time you have could be difficult depending on your support system and the severity of needs of the child.”

Question:  How old are your children now?

Answer:  “Our most recent child is 15 nearly 16 her adoption will be final in july, she is from Uganda. The rest in order received are: Elijah 5, Kimora 5, Aidric 3, Manny 4, Gideon 3.”

Question: Did you have to modify your house to make it wheelchair accessible?

Answer:  “So that we could afford a modified handicapped house when elijah (our wheelchair bound son) was 2, we purchased a $20,000 multifamily home. And with my carpentry home remodeling skills I built a handicap accessible single family home with 7 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, elevator, and therapy room. So after two years of work we had an affordable custom made castle.”

Thank you to the Eichhorn family for being willing to be so open about their family and adoptions!  If you have additional questions about special needs adoption leave a comment on this blog post or send me a message and I’ll do my best to get them answered!

Zahara

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