Thursday, August 30, 2012

Kal's Birth Certificate Came in the Mail!


Yay for the day Kal's birth certificate finally came in the mail! Seriously! Ha ha. That one little thing was keeping us from getting a ton of stuff done. Quite an annoyance. And I hated that I had no idea when it was going to come in the mail and there was nothing else I could do to make it go any faster. I like to get things done and I hate waiting on slowpokes!

Included with the copies of his birth certificate was the letter I sent requesting the copies, so now I know for certain that our lawyer didn't order it for us like we were told. Because I sent my request in 4 months after he said he sent his in and mine took a little over a month to process and get back to me.

We waited months for nothing. Isn't that an *awesome* feeling? Lol. That right there makes me want to use a different lawyer for our next adoption. I don't like to be lied to or treated like I don't matter. Unprofessional. And I want my money back for those alleged copies that were never ordered, dangit!

We immediately got Kal's SSN issue taken care of and filed an amended tax return to claim the Adoption Tax Credit! With that money we'll have a good head start on adoption expenses for Baby #2! That's exciting. :) But of course, it's just more "hurry up and wait," because claiming the Adoption Tax Credit required our amended tax return to be sent in through the mail rather than e-filed and they check each of them thoroughly (because people try to scam the IRS all the time), so it could take a few months before we see a dime of that money. Oh, well.

Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. :P

Thursday, August 23, 2012

PCOS makes me "Uninsurable"


Ain't that some bull?

We had a really tough time getting health insurance coverage when we pursued adoption the first time around. Health insurance that you can quickly add a new dependent to was required as a part of being qualified to adopt a child. Neither one of us had a job that offered benefits. We turned to private health insurance and it was a nightmare trying to figure it all out and we were flat out denied repeatedly for various ridiculous reasons - one being my infertility.

Once I was diagnosed as having Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, I was labeled for the rest of my life with a pre-existing condition that would make it mighty difficult to ever be privately covered. Nevermind the fact that the only symptom of my PCOS that was worrisome was infertility. The inability to get pregnant! I should be a health insurance company's dream customer. I am in perfect health otherwise and I won't likely get pregnant. Why would that be a bad thing for them? How in the world does that label me as uninsurable?

Understandably, at the time I was applying for health insurance, I had recently been prescribed fertility drugs in an attempt to get pregnant. Which didn't work. And I stopped pursuing treatment. For some applications, I had to explain in detail how long I had been off fertility treatments and that I did not intend to pursue fertility treatments again (or in the next 12 months, or something to that effect). I had to sign things saying that I wouldn't be covered for anything PCOS-related, etc. I still didn't get approved and we were planning on applying for just Zay's coverage, and a bunch of problems crept up about that, when I got a job - yay!

I was lucky to find a great job with great benefits and the health insurance problem was solved for a couple of years. When I quit my job to stay home with Kal, transitioning from the health insurance I got through my job to private insurance has been kinda bumpy.

One, because the private health insurance carrier didn't like that Kal didn't have a SSN yet. Which I don't understand. He was covered under my employer's health insurance plan, so why shouldn't they accept him whether he has a SSN or not? We're paying you! Come on.

And two, because I have a condition that is completely uninsurable. Somehow, between the time that I applied before and when I applied after I quit my job... my condition went from being a normal pre-existing condition that companies didn't want to cover (and did everything they could to find a reason to deny me so they wouldn't have to) to a pre-existing condition that is uninsurable, period. I can't get private health insurance, even if I paid for a more expensive plan or I waited out some outrageously long exclusion period for PCOS-related things, etc. etc. etc.

We have a temporary solution in place while waiting for Kal's birth certificate/ SSN issue to be resolved, and a another temporary solution in place so that Zay will have coverage to add a dependent to when we decide to adopt a second baby. But in the long-term I don't know what we're going to have to do.

I hate the way health insurance is now. I'm not fully educated on "Obamacare" or know how things are likely going to play out with health insurance in America in the future. But I do know that it's screwed up now and a change would most likely benefit me.

I'm tired of the headache!! (for which I am not covered...!)

Thursday, August 16, 2012

"Cute Baby" Contests

Kal, giving me his "snickering" face at Church

I never worried whether my kids were going to be cute or not cute. Of course they'd be cute! Babies are cute! And my babies will be cute to me no matter what! And they're babies, for crying out loud. Does the cuteness of one baby over another say one is more worthy of love and adoration than another? I don't think babies and their cuteness factor should be pitted against each other.

"Cute Baby" contests make me uncomfortable. Beauty contests? Pageants? Stage moms? All weird me out. I cannot watch "Toddlers and Tiaras" without cringing. Something's just really messed up about the priorities of parents like that, in my opinion. But to each their own, right? Claws come out and people's true characters can be shockingly cruel and selfish and shallow. I worry about what values are being instilled in these children? But, you know, more power to them.

For a split second, I forgot about these deep-rooted feelings that I have against the competitive baby cuteness stuff. We had never before put Kal in any competitions. But I let a friend talk me into entering Kal in a "Cute Baby" contest for a summer festival they have in our city. I had my reservations and I still went because my friend thought it would just be a fun little event where we might win some prizes and if nothing else, we'd get a professional picture out of it. She was entering her daughter. Okay, okay. No big deal. The prizes were pretty cool and I'd just try it out and see how it goes. Maybe we might even win something, which would be nice... but I'm not really a fan of getting things that I didn't work for (although I wouldn't say "no"). Kal's seriously cute and so is my friend's daughter. Would it really hurt?

Ugh. I should've trusted my gut. The whole thing just reinforced in me exactly why I hate "Cute Baby" contests. I paid the fee, wasted a lot of time in a very hot room (hours) to get a very mediocre picture taken. I casually looked around at the other parents who were sizing up the other kids (their competition). I was uncomfortable right from the moment I walked in the building and was surrounded by so many people with their children in tow. I felt smothered by a feeling of greediness and entitlement. Everyone gave half-hearted smiles in greeting, because of the competition factor.

I put Kal on display for some judges. Kal decided to rebel against the whole thing, grabbed a balloon and beat one of the judges on the head with it while yelling unintelligible sounds. Awwwwesome. See? Kal knows the deal. The whole thing was a joke. They scribbled notes down until they were done with him.

We had to wait a few hours and come back later to hear the winners announced. People grumbled and didn't clap for others, and left quickly if they didn't win anything in their age group. It was very superficial and silly and made me feel crazy uncomfortable. That's the only way I could describe it. I couldn't wait to get out of there. We didn't win anything, even the random raffles (ha ha)... but even if we had, I think I'd still be embarrassed about even being there. Totally not my thing.

Smiling and waving and clapping on demand to play into the judges teaches kids to rely on their looks and how to be manipulative to get their way - that things should just be given to them because they're cute. And it teaches parents to compare their children to other people's children and be snotty or develop nasty competitive stage-mom attitudes. I didn't like it one bit and I will never do that again, no matter what the dang prize is. Never. I'm putting my foot down.

On a related note, this show makes me embarrassed to be from Georgia... only slightly (I'm real comfortable with rednecks - they feel like family - ha ha). The little girl does pageants and her crazy personality and her crazy redneck family somehow landed their own show. Have mercy. I laughed so hard, my abs hurt! - Here Comes Honey Boo Boo <-- (click to watch the first two episodes)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Summer 2012 and Future Plans

I went on a deleting rampage recently, with blogs that I read and Facebook friends. Ha ha. I think I was just reading about too many people's lives, the majority being people I don't know in real life or ever hang out with, etc. etc. etc., so I needed to do some deep cleaning of my social-networking life. In general, I'm starting to want to pull away completely from online social-networking, because I can easily waste a lot of time and go off on tangents. It's entertaining, for sure. And if used the right way, it can be very useful. But I don't use it in moderation, so I'm working on that. And sometimes I inadvertently compare myself to other people and I get all discouraged about something that doesn't even matter (comparison is the root of depression!). Anyways, I'd rather live in the real world. But I'm still addicted, so I'm trying to figure that out. If I didn't have to take so many appointments to do people's hair, I wouldn't even want to have a cell phone. At least not a smartphone with Internet access. I should downgrade.

My real life consists of doing hair (I found a new source of clientele - girls who ZUMBA like getting cornrows! so that's been fun, experimenting with fun designs in their hair), swimming in our apartment complex's indoor pool, hiking as part of my training for the Tough Mudder obstacle course race in October that I'm signed up for (and sooooo excited about!), reading a million library books, writing poetry, working on Kal's Lifebook, taking Kal to the library's storytime and mommy groups and birthday parties, learning Japanese with RosettaStone (in preparation for our anticipated move to Japan in a few years), teaching the 10- and 11-year-old's Sunday School class at Church, weekly date nights with the hubby, and keeping up on all my favorite shows on Netflix/Hulu. Ever since I quit my job to stay home with Kal, I feel like I've been on one big summer vacation. I'm loving it! I'm so busy all the time (a good kind of busy), I don't know how I ever got anything done while I was working! Seriously, it blows my mind. There is too much life to live to be stuck at work and in commute 8+ hours a day for the rest of my life. Working for a living sucks! Money has to be made, though. So it's a balancing act.

I love the time I get to spend with Kal. We've got a nice little routine going and I feel super motivated and productive and happy. We went on a family walk in July and talked about future adoption plans (again - we talk about it a lot). The money thing seems like it will always be an issue, but we've done an overhaul on our finances and the way we budget and track our expenses and we've found ways to make more money + save more money. That was one of the things on my huge list of "Things to do before Baby #2," so I'm glad we made progress there. There are still other things to cross off the list and we're making progress, although there are some things that are out of my control, like waiting for Kal's birth certificate to come in the mail, if that'll ever happen (so annoying).

The timing of adding another child to our family just doesn't add up perfectly in our minds the way it did for me when we were trying to adopt Kal. But surprisingly, Zay is more on board about adoption and more ready for Baby #2 than I am! What a shock!! (He was the reluctant spouse last time.)The more I think about it, the more I think it will never settle down enough to feel perfect. There was an Adoption Orientation meeting in June that we were planning on going to, but at the last minute decided against it. But we're thinking of just saying, "What the heck?" and going for it and seeing what happens. I don't know.

There are still things to do and there is money to be saved and we're in a really transitional period of time (adjusting to me not having a job outside the home and wondering whether that was a mistake or not, Zay starting school in the Fall and taking on that extra responsibility, we'll be moving to a smaller and cheaper place soon after he starts school, etc. etc. etc.). But honestly, we don't think things are going to "settle down" for quite awhile... at least not in the foreseeable future. So why not add another child to our family? It's gonna be crazy without a second child, so let's just make it even crazier! We're good with crazy. So, although the same feeling of urgency isn't there, we're still gonna move forward with it and we'll see what happens. :)

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Update on Birth Certificate Frustrations


I wrote about having a hard time getting a copy of Kal's birth certificate before.

The last thing I wrote about was that I contacted our lawyer and they said that it didn't surprise them that Georgia was taking months to send us the copies of his certificate that we ordered in February. So we were supposed to continue to wait... No need in ordering anymore, because we should be getting the ones we already ordered soon.

Well, we waited some more. That's all we've been doing is waiting. Checking the mail everyday. Nothing.

I called the lawyer again, because at that point in time we really wanted to buy a house... but it wasn't going to work out if we didn't have the money from our tax return to use as a down payment. And we couldn't get all the money back that we'd need for that down payment if we couldn't claim Kal (obviously necessary if we wanted a refund of our adoption expenses with the Adoption Tax Credit)... and we can't claim Kal without a SSN... which you can't get without a birth certificate. Can you see my frustration??Ahhh!

We tried to make the buying-a-house situation work a hundred different ways, and it just wouldn't happen if we didn't have that money for a down payment. Time went by and we decided against buying a house, for now.

But I was still way annoyed about the birth certificate, and I still wanted my tax return - even if we weren't going to use it to buy a house.

So I called and left messages for the lawyer... and they never got back to me. So, screw that! I decided you just can't trust people to do things for you. You gotta do them yourself. I had called the Georgia Vital Records Department before and never got an answer, but one day in June I was determined to get answers to the holdup. I called the number on the website and let it ring a hundred times - why don't they have a voicemail? I found another number on their website and tried it. A lady answered the phone and (sounding exasperated) asked me where I wanted to be transferred. Vital Records. They transferred me somewhere. Busy signal. I called again. Nobody answered. I went back and forth between the two numbers I had - ring, ring, ring... busy signal... busy signal... ring, ring, ring. Somebody finally answered after about an hour of that! They transferred me to another person. Voicemail. I left a message. I called again, and again, and again. Somebody's gonna dang well help me!!! I sent an email. I got an email back saying to send such-and-such amount of money if I wanted a copy of a birth certificate. I wrote back - no, I already paid! I called again. I let it ring a hundred times, literally. Somebody has to hear this dang phone ringing. COME ON! I imagined a lonely, ringing phone on a desk in the middle of a dark, empty office and everyone's in the breakroom eating cake and celebrating a coworker's birthday. Lol. Finally I got ahold of a lady and I told her my situation and when I mentioned adoption, she said, "Oh oh oh... I know somebody who knows about adoptions..." and she transferred me to another lady's voicemail. Big sigh. I left a message. This was about 4 hours of hardcore trying to get an answer to my question. So, I took a break and figured I did my best.

The next day, I got a call from the last lady I  had left a message for and she was really helpful about looking up what happened to the original birth certificate (nobody got it, so it was sent to Family Services). I didn't understand that much. Why didn't our agency get it? They are the ones who sent in the information to be put on the birth certificate, but they couldn't get a copy for us? I don't get it. And why were we told "something would be coming in the mail about it"?? I'll remember that next time. So I asked about the copies that were ordered back in February and she told me there were no orders at all for copies of his birth certificate. I'm like, "Are you sure? I paid my lawyer to do it and this was back in February." Nope, no orders. She said there were no open cases on Kal and that if I wanted copies, I could order it directly but it would take quite awhile to get through the system. FINE!!! So I ordered two copies and she told me to put her name on the envelope as well and she would see to it that it was expedited, since I had been waiting so long. I thanked her and sent off the money.

Now I'm waiting, still... for Kal's birth certificate to come in the mail. And I'm annoyed with my lawyer. And I'm hoping this lady really does what she says and speeds it up for us, but I'm not counting on it. Because I haven't been able to count on anybody thus far. Ahhhh!

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