Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba) [similar]

{¡ay caramba!} ▪️Wife of one ▪️Mom of four ▪️American Ninja Warrior ▪️Down syndrome ▪️Adoption ▪️Inclusion

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Saturday morning snuggles with The Hooligans. // (Preface: I get a lot of the same messages about certain things, and I’m so grateful for every message I get and I read them all but I’m so bad about responding and then it stresses me out cause I wanna respond to everyone but The Hooligans run my life and don’t allow it. Anyway, I’m gonna start trying to answer questions that I get lots of here. Love you, peeps.) ————————
Sevy’s Communication // Having a nonverbal child is a whole different ballgame. I know with the advancement of technology has come a lot of really great communication tools. It may seem strange that we wouldn’t take advantage of all the awesome apps, and programs and devices available to us. ••• For a while, in my “I read on the internet that this is what I should be doing for you so I’m gonna do it and you’re going to cooperate” phase, we did try lots of different communication tools with Sevy. From PECS to various apps and programs. She had speech therapy, she had speech at school... I felt desperate for her to speak. It took me too long to realize that my desire, wasn’t hers. ••• Her pushback to all the devices and therapies I was shoving down her throat, wasn’t just her being a stubborn Bulgarian gangster. It was her telling me, “this is not the way I want to communicate.” ••• My desires, my thoughts on what was “right” or “best” were only causing frustration and creating more space between us. When I stepped back, let go, and really watched her, I saw what made her happy, what worked for her, how SHE wanted to communicate. And it was with her hands. (In retrospect that should have been obvious from the start with all the times she flicked me off). She loves learning new signs, she picks them up incredibly fast, and it gives her great pride. ••• And so, we all get to learn a beautiful new language together as a family. It’s a really good thing. 🙌🏼👍🏼🖕🏼👌🏼 #sevysigns #asl #eichertribe #downsyndrome #adoption

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

“Ninjas Don’t Count Chromosomes” shirts are in! (Link in profile). We kept it simple this year. Just enough to spread the word, raise awareness, promote inclusion, and get people asking questions. Also gave a bunch of different options (SWIPE!) Grab them now so you’ll be sure to have them in time for World Down Syndrome Day. // Cannot thank you guys enough for your support on this crazy ass journey. I’m scared out of my mind tbh. You would think I would be less freaked out after having done it once, but nah. Reminding myself exactly why I’m doing this every step of the way. #americanninjawarrior #anw10 #ninjasdontcountchromosomes

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Back by popular demand: Archie throwbacks // This was just a few minutes after we met him. We brought him this toy phone. He made a call to Annie, one of his caretakers, the one he was most bonded to. She wasn’t there the day we arrived, but he was desperate to call and tell her we had come. For a long time he called me “Mama Lisa”, because that’s what they called me at his orphanage when they found out we were adopting him. // also, holy crap this is making me feel all the emotions and I don’t really have time for feelings why’m I doing this to myself 🙄😭 // #lifewitharchie #downsyndrome #adoption #imobsessedwithhim

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

A little ASL with Archie and The Hooligans •SWIPE• #asl #sevysigns #nonverbal #downsyndrome #adoption

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

I tell my kids all the time that if you work hard enough you can climb any mountain, even the ones that seem impossible. My favorite part about this American Ninja Warrior journey is having the opportunity to live out that truth for them. ••• Today I got the call to compete again on ANW, season 10 in Dallas, March 25. And I cannot wait to see the look on my kids’ faces as I stand up on that platform. Climbing on in spite of the fear in my heart and belly. #anw #ninjasdontcountchromosomes

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

This morning at our family meeting, Radko got up and handed Joey a booger. We prefer they hand them to us, as opposed to just sticking them random places. Radko follows this rule religiously. So then from across the room, a good ten feet away, Joey flicks the booger towards me and it lands directly on my leg. I flick it in Ace’s direction and it lands on her smoothie glass. And that is how I knew this was gonna be a great day. #eichertribe #winning #monday

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Everyone’s happy to have Aunt May May home for her birthday. It’s not easy living so far apart, but it makes our time together even sweeter. Happy 24th to my first baby. I’m so glad you were born. Keep killin it in NYC. We are so proud of you.

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

It’s safe to say that our first year of homeschooling did not go as expected. Of course, nothing ever does, but being displaced from our home for the majority of the school year really threw me for a loop. // When we first moved back home in January, I set some ridiculous expectations of what school was going to look like. Basically setting myself up for failure and frustration. // So I threw everything I thought I wanted for our homeschool life out the window, and we started fresh. And once again, I was reminded of the goodness gained in letting go. // Today, as opposed to my original and ridiculous rigid schedule, we follow a simple rhythm that allows us plenty of time for scenes like this. Ace researching something like “how to adopt a dog with Down syndrome”; Archie watching Sofia the First; The Hooligans alternating between rope swinging and climbing/coloring on the wall. And I wouldn’t change a thing. #eichertribeprep #homeschool

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Four of my Valentines. // “Why I Love Mommy”. Best Valentine’s Day gift ever. @jeicherumba , nailed it. #myvalentines #eichertribe #lovemakesafamily

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Let’s be real. This man of mine, he can freaking drive me nuts. His level of extrovert is just absurd and it can be painful for my introverted heart. But he’s so damn good to me. He works so hard for our family and he takes such good care of us. ••• He’s allowed me a few Hooligan free days while I’ve been sick and recovering. Because we both knew if I had to deal with them I would have actually not survived. ••• I make sure to tell him every (okay, most every) day, how much I appreciate him. But figured a little public embarrassment (he loves it) wouldn’t hurt either. @jeicherumba thank you for loving me and our babies so well. Even when we are jerks. #worldsbestdad #highschoolsweethearts #eichertribe

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Stupid kidney stone has had me down and out/thinking I was dying for the last few days. So I’ve been spending my bed ridden time on memory lane, ugly crying and wondering what the heck happened to the years. // This one always hits me the hardest. The moment we met and fell in love with our son, over 6,000 miles away in a Bulgarian orphanage. Our tiny little seven year old. From orphan to treasure. And Ace’s other half. #adoption #downsyndrome #aceandarchie #madeforeachother #thumbsup

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

She’s going for more of an androgynous skater girl look today. She’s diggin it. I am too. #sevysoutfitoftheday #sevymarie #downsyndrome #adoption #styledbysevy

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Lots of questions about Sevy’s language and communication. Sevy is nonverbal. She has never had any intelligible language, even in Bulgaria. But she loves to “talk”. She makes sounds that might seem like she is speaking words, but it’s just her own language. She’s had lots of speech therapy, both outside and inside our home, but not much progress has been made in the (almost) two years she’s been home. She can say “thank you”, “no” and “baby” (which is what she’s always called Radko). But that’s it. ••• She does, however, know tons of sign language, and picks it up super fast. This video was from her first week home, when Ace helped her come up with signs for everyone in our family. ••• She also has very strong receptive language and understands most everything we say. ••• Having a nonverbal kid is a whole different journey and we are still learning every day. For the most part, she gets her point across and we understand her. But there are times when we don’t, and it’s incredibly frustrating for her and for us. Lots of tears. ••• Our hope is, for her sake, that she is able to add more words to her vocabulary, but for now, we are all learning ASL and accepting the fact that that may be how we communicate with her forever. #sevymarie #nonverbal #downsyndrome #adoption #asl #sisters

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Their love for coloring on each other is strong. It keeps them busy. Which means it’s priceless. But the endless piles of topless markers scattered around the house were starting to drive me crazy. My solution: colored zinc sticks.Everyone’s happy. #thehooligans

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

An update on our Dino boy from my little filmmaker, Ace. ••• Thanks so much for all the messages checking in on him, the love, prayers, donations. We are so grateful. ••• Link to gofundme is in profile. #kingdino #tripod #miracledog #rescuedog #thedodo

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

It’s so hard not knowing her past. I know little bits and pieces. But unlike Archie, who was in the same orphanage his whole life, Sevy was bounced around and transferred several times. Records of her existence being lost along the way. Yesterday I had to write a letter to the social security office explaining to them why no records of her life exist from the ages of 2 to 11. The unknowns make me feel physically ill. They bring a strange feeling of heavy guilt; like as her mom, I should have protected her. But I didn’t even know she was out there. ••• What I do know, what’s obvious from her behavior, is that it was really, really rough. And though, as I’ve been honest about, loving her hasn’t always come easy, I will spend all my days making up for our twelve lost years. My Sevy Girl, I’m so glad you’re mine. #sevymarie #adoptionrocks #adoptionishard #olderchildadoption #downsyndrome

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Stayed up late listening to her plan out their future home. “And he will have his own bedroom and bathroom. We will share a den and a kitchen. I know he will be able to do basically everything by himself but I’ll always be there just in case he needs me.” When I asked what would happen when one of them gets married. “Well, whoever it is better get used to us...” #aceandarchie #lovemakesafamily #shitacesays

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

I am an incredibly tolerant person. I always give people the benefit of the doubt, I always look for the good. But the other night at Ace’s basketball, a couple of teenage girls pushed me past my limit. ••• They walked slowly by the stands in front of where our family was sitting and glared at Sevy with obvious looks of disgust. And they did it more than once, not even attempting to be inconspicuous. On the third time, my mom and I looked straight into their eyes and glared back, raised our hands into cat claws and hissed at them. Well technically my mom made a “rawr” sound. They started walking a little faster and their faces changed from disgust to fear. It was epic. ••• I am so laid back about people being curious about my kids. It’s natural. Ask us anything. But come on, grown ass teenagers should know better than to act the way these girls did. ••• So anyway, Archie and Sevy made a little PSA. #choosekind #dontbeajerk #downsyndrome #rawr

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Last night Radko asked to sleep in Archie’s room. He’s taken much more of an interest in his big brother lately and their relationship is insanely cute. Archie loves being in the big brother role, Radko feels cool tagging along. •• My first reaction to his request was “yeah right”. I thought that would never work. But we let him try and much to my surprise when we went to check on them the first time, they were both sound asleep. •• I have a major fear of shifting dynamics. I love my kids’ relationships so much and never want them to change. It’s always been The Hooligans and The *OGs-two unusual and magical pairs. So shifts make me anxious. •• But the reality is this is simply a strengthening of one relationship and doesn’t indicate the fallout of another. It’s good. Really, really good. #brothers #lovemakesafamily #adoption #downsyndrome // *OGs: what we call Ace and Archie, technically stands for “original gangsters”; simply means they’re our original pair //

Lisa Eicher (@eicherumba)

Been getting lots of “explain your family, please..” messages so I thought I’d do a little intro. // Joey and I have been together for basically ever. (Since 15). We’ve been dreaming of our family since then. Turns out our reality is far more magnificent than even our wildest dreams. // First came Ace (top) our tummy baby. When Ace was three, we adopted her big brother, Archie (NASA shirt). He came home from Bulgaria when he was seven. A couple years later, we had Radko, also a tummy baby. And finally, Sevy, our oldest (front and center). She came home from Bulgaria in 2016 at age twelve. They are now: Radko, 3; Ace, 9; Archie, 13; Sevy, 14. Sevy and Archie both have Down syndrome. Ace and Radko are both just strange. // And of course our 3 and 4 legged babies. Dino, Pip, and Penny the Pig. ❤️ #eichertribe #lovemakesafamily #calluscrazy #chaos #adoption #downsyndrome
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