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Adoption Update: Health Insurance, Agencies, and Involuntary Muscle Spasms

3 October 2017

I just want another big-headed, wobbly little to love and kiss on, but I can already see that I’m getting so much more than that. (And I don’t mean the involuntary muscle spasms, although I’m getting those too.) By the time this process is over I’m going to be a picture of peace and faith. There’s no way I’ll survive it otherwise.

The Adoption Agency Choice

We spent a couple evenings reviewing my spreadsheet (pbffft – one of them. I have spreadsheets Husband doesn’t even know about yet.) and looking over websites and praying. Lots of praying. And we both felt like we were being pointed to America World Adoption (despite us both thinking that’s a terrible name for an international adoption agency).

I have to mention All God’s Children too, though, as an incredibly tight runner up.

I think we would have had a great experience with either agency, really, but it just came down to that gentle nudge we both felt in prayer. But really – if you’re thinking about international adoption, check out AGC (and ask for Kate). Even if you’re not thinking about adoption, but want to do something else to help orphans, in Jesus’ name, check out AGC. They 100% advocate for orphans all over the world through more than just adoption.

And the same is true of America World. We’re really happy to work with them, and Madelyn has been such a huge help over the past several weeks. It was a tough call, so we unloaded it on God and tried to just be obedient.

The Agency Application (This Was Supposed to Be the Easy Part)

I gathered my info and my references and we filled out the online application. The automatic email reply told us to expect a response in two to four business days.

I expected it to be close to two, because I’m an idiot, and because I’ve been talking to Madelyn for weeks. Via email and on the phone. She’s super sweet and helpful, and we’ve already been through the whole net worth thing, so the application process seemed like a bit of a formality.

Even our third-party consultant just said, “Let me know when you get your official acceptance email!”

Done deal, right? 

By Business Day 3 I realized that the gentle, consistent pain in my back was not soreness from exercise or sleeping awkwardly. It was stress. In a relaxed, reclined posture I could actually feel the muscles in my lower back contracting and refusing to let go.

On the afternoon of Business Day 3 I got a phone call asking if I meant to check the “No” box next to the health insurance question, or if that was a mistake.

Not a mistake.

But the agency requires that at least one parent is on a health insurance plan that will accept the adopted child when he comes home. In fact, almost all international agencies require this because almost every child comes home with at least a minor need, and the agency wants to know that you’ve got it covered.

Which I understand.

Kind of.

Because we were given a looong list of possible medical issues and asked to investigate them so we would be prepared to say which we are willing to accept and which we are not. And as shallow as I feel for saying it, we shortened the list significantly. Because we know we don’t have health insurance, and cannot adequately care for children with major/long-term medical needs.

I said we’d look into getting health insurance if we absolutely have to. She said she would get back with her supervisor and let me know, but if we’re willing it shouldn’t be a problem.

By Business Day Four the tension in my back was between my shoulder blades and I was checking my email every 10 minutes.

At about Four Business Days Minus Two Hours I couldn’t take it anymore and I preemptively emailed Madelyn. She wrote me back within the hour and asked for a short summary, for her supervisor, of why we don’t have health insurance.

I think they just needed to know that we’re not those people who don’t believe in modern medicine. I wrote the summary (although it was not short) and then it was the weekend.

So we waited.

(And emailed a few other agencies to ask about their health insurance policies, but all are the same.)

Monday Morning: Accepted

My good friend Madelyn called Monday morning to let us know that we’ve been accepted into the AWAA China Program — although we do need to start looking into health insurance — and she would very soon be sending me a “big” email with all the next steps and all the paperwork.

And boy did she.

We spent an hour last night printing and reading about 25 pages that needed to be initialed all over and signed at the bottoms, and joking that if we were drinkers we could establish a game wherein we have to drink every time I read the phrase, “We understand that international adoption is an uncertain process …” But that we would be hammered before we could have possibly finished all the paperwork.

Pending the answer to one follow-up question, we’ll submit paperwork with our second big payment, and be on our way.

Next Steps: Dossier, Home Study, Training, Health Insurance, and Finances

One we submit paperwork and payment, AWAA assigns us a Family Coordinator to help with assembling paperwork to send to government officials (here and in China). We also get a social worker so we can start preparing for and planning a home study. More paperwork.

I’m also shopping for health insurance. Hopefully we can get something set up before the home study, as I’m told the social worker will need to see proof of health insurance. Anything we have to send as a follow-up only slows the process.

Husband is starting the planning for the Therst Duo Art Show fundraiser. That’s going to be the art event of the season, so keep an ear to the ground for details. 😉

We are required to complete at least 10 hours of Hague-compliant adoption training, so we’ll be signing up (and paying) for that, and spending some riveting evening hours in front of online training sessions.

And now that we have an agency (or will have, when we send our first payment), I can start applying for grants.

So if you can’t find me in the next month or two, I’ll be in the corner seat of my dining table, staring into my laptop screen, surrounded by a mountain of paperwork.

“How Can I Help?”

You’re so sweet for asking. Current prayer requests:

  • A satisfactory answer to my paperwork follow-up question.
  • Wisdom and guidance for securing adequate, affordable health insurance.
  • Favor. So, so much favor with grant applications and social workers and art show venue owners.
  • Faith and peace

And yes, we are (enthusiastically and gratefully) accepting financial assistance. We are not setting up a crowdfunding page, but you can send gifts via PayPal to NiewskiNewbie@gmail.com.

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