This week’s Missouri Health Talks is a collaboration with Vox Magazine.
Last fall, Matthew and Christy Nevels, who already had six children, adopted their five foster children. Making them a family of 13. They spoke with reporter Mimi Wright about speaking some of the challenges they have encountered trying to balance all of their children’s needs.
You can read more of the Nevels’ story in the June issue of Vox Magazine - available now around town and online: “A local couple with an abundance of love — and kids — adopts more children.”
Missouri Health Talks gathers Missourians’ stories of access to healthcare in their own words. You can view more conversations at missourihealthtalks.org.
Christy Nevels: As we took on the kids, and they were all seeing a counselor, and they were all needing to have their healthcare updated - their well visits or immunizations and everything, I found that having a full-time job wasn't even possible. I was making trips multiple times a week to provide the resources that the children needed to have a healthy life
So, if by doing this, the children have been able to have success… but adding five children that have been exposed to situations that are not acceptable, these children needed to have some interventions.
As I worked with them with the interventions, it just took a lot of time. It took time to plan out the appointments and then decide how I often I need to take them what the situation's warrant was all very time consuming. So, I spent a lot of time on paperwork.
Then when we went to the appointments, they, of course, were at least an hour long, often, I needed to plan two hours for travel time and waiting time and all of that, and so, that would mean that the children would either be pulled out of their schooling, or they would, I would try to schedule it around school.
If it was on hours not in school, then I needed to make decisions about the other children and what their situation was going to be: whether it was appropriate for them to stay home or whether I needed to get a sitter or whether I needed to make sure that my husband was home so that he could take care of them. So, a lot of juggling with that type of situation.
During that time, I really struggled that for six months of how I was supposed to do all of this. During the next half of the year, it was a little bit easier because I had been discovered what the needs were.
However, taking care of eight children is very difficult because of all their different needs, and then travel is expensive.
The Medicaid that the children have does provide travel to and from medical appointments. So, if you plan ahead, then they will provide transportation for you, and if you submit your mileage, then they will pay you back. As I talked to them, I found that this was a great opportunity, I was really excited to have this. But as I learned about the details, I just decided it was too much for me to fit into what I was already trying to contemplate.
Luckily, I have had my own transportation I it has given me a lot of insight into those who don't have their transportation, that although it's available, if you're already struggling with just trying to live the basics, adding that piece on to it can make it the barrier just that much more difficult and push you over the edge on whether you would seek care or not.
So, I have really had a lot of insight for those who are less fortunate in their time or finances.
This piece was reported by Mimi Wright.