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Meet The Spiegelhoff/Newlin Family!

Adoption makes a family stronger together.

When Marieke and Andrew met in 2008, Marieke had already adopted two children on her own, and been a foster parent since 2006.   Shortly before her second adoption, Marieke met Andrew and they married a year later in 2010.  Soon after, Andrew formally adopted Marieke’s children, Iuliana and Noah.  As a family, they went on to provide foster care for many children before adding their biological kids, Ellery and Hank. Last spring they adopted two-year-old Charlie, who came to them as a five-week-old foster placement. In addition, their family includes their 13-year-old foster daughter whose adoption is in process.  

With their wide ranges in ages and interests, the kids ensure that Marieke and Andrew are habitually sleep deprived and on their toes.  Iuliana, 18, is balancing her last year of high school with her part-time work as a barista. Noah, age 12, participates in band, enjoys riding his ripstik, and playing backgammon.  Loving Ellery, six, adores anything having to do with the movie Frozen, and pretending she is Skye from Paw Patrol.  Heavy machinery such as excavators and wheel loaders are fascinating to four-year-old Hank.  His best day is when he gets to watch them in action at local construction sites.  Little brother Charlie likes singing, swimming, and being chasing his older siblings. 

Along with the routine tasks of parenting, Marieke and Andrew keep track of many professional appointments and advocate for needed services on behalf of their children.  The kids require extensive medical services for both physical and mental health concerns.  This is due to a conglomerate of diagnoses including cerebral palsy, scoliosis, ADHD, speech delay, PTSD, heart murmur, and reactive attachment disorder.  In order to address their needs, the children (and parents) attend weekly appointments.  Marieke and Andrew are committed to ensuring that their kids have access to the best medical team available and work tirelessly to research new methods and techniques to help their children. 

A major obstacle that the family has encountered in their adoption journey is a shortage of competent local mental health services.  When one of their children was hospitalized for mental health reasons, they were only allowed to visit their child for an hour each day.  In addition, their child was not allowed visits by grandparents or siblings.  Conversely, when a different child was hospitalized for a physical illness, Marieke or Andrew stayed with their child round-the-clock during her in-patient stay. 

Based on their 16 years of parenting experience, the Spiegelhoff/Newlin family respectfully asks policymakers to expand mental health services and post adoption support.  “There just isn't enough support to families, especially in our rural counties. In addition, there is a shortage of well-trained, compassionate, mental health providers.  We have waited for six months to get into see a psychiatrist only to find him a poor fit which meant we then went back on a waiting list to see someone else”

In spite of its many challenges, the family agrees that adoption is a rewarding experience. Iuliana writes, "Adoption makes a family stronger together. It's a long, hard process, but it is worth it in the end.”