Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Remembering Michael Jackson: 1 Year Later

Last Friday was the anniversary of Michael Jackson's death, and honestly I couldn't believe it had been a year already! A year ago, I remember I was braiding someone's hair and watching TV. Zay got a frantic call from his mom. She yelled at him, "Why didn't you tell me Michael Jackson died?!" Zay was like, "Michael Jackson died?! I didn't know! Why you yelling??" The news of his death had only reached the media about 5 minutes earlier.

I'm a youngin', so I didn't get a chance to appreciate much of Michael Jackson's music until the '90s. But I do have some fond memories of my older brothers showing me the Thriller video. I remember the world premiere of "Black or White." There were commercials for it all day, and then they finally showed it in the evening. I remember thinking, "Hmmm. This is an interesting song, because I don't know if he is black or white." Ha ha.

When I met Zay, he introduced me to all the old-school stuff, all the way back to the Jackson 5. I've seen every single Michael Jackson video, even all the short-film type videos. And I've heard every single song on every album! I could see how influential his singing, dancing, and performing was to many of the rising talents in the entertainment industry. Even the pop stuff I listened to, like *Nsync, was influenced by ole Mike. He was amazing and unique.

When the stuff started coming out about child molestation, it was hard for me to believe that he would do the things they were accusing him of. He had such a sweet spirit and was so charitable and kind. It was just hard to believe, despite the issues he had with his appearance and other "bizarre" things that were going on in his life. I guess we'll never know how all that really went down... but when I think of Michael Jackson, none of that comes to mind. I love his music. Genius usually spawns from difficult or unusual circumstances, and maybe we wouldn't have experienced all that he was able to create artistically if things hadn't been rough for him throughout his life.

We bought "This Is It" on Blu-ray and we watched it for the anniversary of his death. People were crying when we went to see it in theaters last year! That would have been one amazing tour, that's for sure. I felt bad for the dancers who had trained so hard and were so excited to dance with Michael, and for all the fans who were able to get tickets to his very last tour. How disappointing and how tragic.

A lot of people didn't recognize Michael for what he did for music and dance until he died, but I can tell you that I've been listening to his music for years and have never doubted his talent! It was a sad, sad day when he died.

Chris Brown did a tribute to Michael Jackson at the BET awards and couldn't even get the words out. He just bawled near the end. I wanted to cry too!

Video:




Father's Day 2010

Since I had such a hard time on Mother's Day, I decided Father's Day was going to go much differently. Even though Zay is not an emotional person at all, and probably wouldn't have cared either way... I showered him with attention and presents and good meals all day! I kept telling him "Happy Father's Day" and he would laugh and say "Get outta here with that!" Ha ha. I told him I was celebrating his "manhood," ha ha - which sounds really funny, but it made him laugh and that's all that matters. Better to laugh than cry, right?

I was looking through some old pictures and came across a couple of Zay and our little nephew. We just celebrated his 2nd birthday, so I've got him on the brain. These pictures are so cute! And I love my little nephew to death! Omg, he is the cutest. I call him "booger," Zay calls him "tater-head," and my brother calls him "dootie" or "stinkie." Ha ha ha. I love it.



Zay likes to have staring contests. Ha ha ha. 

Anyways, just thought it was important to show my main man that I love him and that I think he is awesome. He's gonna be a great father. :) And pictures of my main man WITH my little man just make me melt! Evander was really the reason I opened my heart to wanting kids. This little guy was the catalyst that got me researching infertility and adoption.




Sunday, June 27, 2010

Family Pictures 2010

We got some professional pictures taken for the first time ever! Zay doesn't like to take pictures - he says they steal souls. Ha ha. But I finally convinced him to get these nice, basic ones done. A nice lady from Jeppson Studios in Utah took them for us. Originally she wanted to take a bunch of pictures and have us pick one out that we liked the best and she would email us a digital copy of it for free. She wanted to help out adoptive couples who needed better pictures for their profiles. I have to admit, some of those profile pictures do look kind of raggedy! Ha ha. I've clicked through some before (to size up my "competition," ha ha) and professional pictures make the couples look so much better and more presentable. But anyways, I ended up buying the entire CD of pictures anyway. Hey, it'll probably be years before I can get Zay to smile for the camera again! And once we get to the point where we actually have a profile, we'll need some good pictures for it.

Here are some of my favorites:



I went back and added this one ^^^ to my very first blog post How Our Journey to Adopt Began. :)









Health Insurance Issues Part II


Humana got back to me last week about the policy that I applied for a few weeks ago:

"As you may already be aware, we are unable to offer you coverage. [Ummm, no I was not aware. Geez.] This decision is based strictly on underwriting risk, not a clinical viewpoint. [WTF does that mean?] This decision was based on information obtained during our underwriting review, including but not necessarily limited to the following: probable polycystic ovaries, treatment with infertility drugs with in the past year without a live birth [Would "treatment with infertility drugs that resulted in a live birth" have been better?? I'm confused.] and family planning is not complete. [I told them that family planning was complete, so I don't know what their issue is here.]"

So, I talked to the insurance agent to see what he had to say about it. He was genuinely surprised that they flat out denied us like that, and said he'd never had so much trouble getting someone approved before.

Humana said that they have something like a 2-year waiting period for infertility, meaning we would have to wait 2 years from the last time we sought treatment... If I remember right, that was in December. That's too long to wait!

We're going to try one more time with Assurant Health, which is a company that typically offers more riders (to specifically exclude conditions, such as infertility). If that doesn't work, then the whole private insurance thing just isn't going to work. We'll be forced to find a way to get it from an employer... which means either Zay will have to delay returning to school and work full time at his job, or I'll have to find a job - a good job in this economy - that will have me working outside the house (when the ideal has always been that I'll work from home when we have kids). Ugh. Even if I get a job, there'd most likely be a 90-day waiting period before any benefits kicked in. Double ugh. And we'd probably have to buy another car in order to make that situation work. Triple ugh. But I really do not want to see Zay delay going to school any longer. Arrrrrgghhh!

Too hard. :(




Monday, June 21, 2010

Positive Adoption Language

Photo: www.hannahstears.net

Zay and I went to the mandatory 9-hour adoption training meeting a few weekends ago (where we talked to the one guy about our health insurance issues). They covered tons of topics that will affect us during the process, after we're approved, when we are chosen by a birth family to be parents, and after placement. There was a lot of good information! I'm glad they require us to go to meetings like that. It's important for us to be prepared and not get lost or jaded in this long process.

I took a lot of notes and they passed around a lot of good handouts. One of the handouts was on using positive adoption language rather than outdated, more offensive terms. Let me just say that people in general can be very rude, nosy, and obnoxious. I know that already, just from the many intrusive questions and comments I get from people about infertility (Infertility Etiquette). I know we'll face even more ignorance once we've adopted. The biggest thing that will bother me - and I'm already bracing myself for it - is if someone asks about my kids' "real parents," or tells me that my children aren't really "mine" because I didn't give birth to them, or implies that my children who were adopted are somehow less-than. Ohhhh, man. I am almost seething with anger just typing that. Mama-Bear is ready to fight!

I know people normally aren't intending to be offensive and we can all learn better ways to communicate, so here is a short list that LDS Family Services uses to promote better conversation (most are pretty common sense):


Negative Terms

Preferred Terms

Gave up her child for adoption

Placed her child for adoption

Real parent; natural parent

Birth parent; biological parent

Adoptive parent

Parent

His adopted child

His child

Illegitimate

Born to unmarried parents

Adoptee

Child who was adopted

To keep

To parent

Adoptable child; available child

Waiting child

Foreign adoption

International adoption

Track down parents

Search

Unwanted child

Child placed for adoption

Is adopted

Was adopted




Monday, June 7, 2010

Health Insurance Issues


I have been super busy lately. Too busy to blog and that's just not me! Ha ha.

The adoption process is slowly creeping along. It takes some mighty strong people to make it out alive in the end. I don't know if I'm as strong as they expect us to be, but I'm trying SO HARD.

We hit a snag in the process with health insurance. I had health insurance through BYU up until a year ago. When I graduated, the insurance ended. And then I guess I just procrastinated trying to find private insurance for an entire year. I forgot about it! I rarely go to the doctor for anything other than preventative physicals and whatnot, I rarely get hurt or sick, I never go to the emergency room. I'm healthy and I really just didn't think about it. And on top of that, I didn't know much about getting coverage and thought it would be a piece of cake.

When I realized we needed to get health insurance really soon in order to move on with the adoption process, I talked to Zay about his jobs and about whether he could work more hours at one to take advantage of some full-time benefits. But he really wants to go back to school in the Fall, so that wouldn't really work out long-term. I'm self-employed, so I don't get benefits either. The choices we had were for me to get a job with benefits and cut back on my self-employment or to pay out of pocket for private insurance.

So, I've been researching each of those choices. I don't want just any job. I want a good job, possibly using my degree. So I've been applying and interviewing for all kinds of jobs, but the recession isn't helping one bit. I'd love, love, love to work for BYU in some way. It's such a comfortable work environment. But they have a hiring freeze that's been going on forever. The job openings they do have are really, really important jobs that HAVE to be filled (lots of responsibility), there's a lot more competition for them, and a lot of them don't offer full-time benefits. Geez.

Since I probably won't be able to get health insurance from an employer as fast as I'd like, the private insurance option seemed appealing. At first. That's before I actually started trying to figure out premiums, deductibles, co-pays, co-insurance, riders, limitations, exclusions, waiting periods, pre-existing conditions, dependency waivers, insurance companies, insurance agents, HSAs, HIPUtah, COBRA, the state of Utah's weird laws that are different than any other state's, etc., etc., etc. ... What the heck??? They should have a class about health insurance in college!

The first thing I did, of course, was go to eHealthInsurance.com. That's because I've seen the commercials. Ha ha. I tried to apply to various policies at Select Health, Altius, and Regence. Denied, denied, denied. You know why? Because I'm infertile. And that's a pre-existing condition that they refuse to cover. WTF? So, the fact that I am not able to make babies makes me a liability to your company? How about the fact that infertility only means that I WON'T GET PREGNANT!!! That's gonna be GOOD for your company, for crying out loud. Zero maternity expenses. ZERO.

Thanks, Universe. First I can't make babies. THEN I can't get health insurance so that I can eventually adopt babies. Thanks a lot. That is the definition of adding insult to injury.

Zay started talking like he felt it was a sign that we should just live childless. I'm like, NO! I am not giving up that easily! Geez. He likes to take everything for a sign. But I'm not a quitter. These aren't signs, they're obstacles. I talked to our awesome caseworker and she said she had never heard of anything like that before! Ha ha. So, of course it would happen to us, right? She sent out a mass email trying to find out if anyone at the agency had ever dealt with an issue like that and she got us in contact with someone who had. We had an adoption training meeting this weekend, so we got to speak with the guy in person and see how he handled it. Another couple overheard us talking and came over and joined the conversation! They had been through it too. So take that for a sign, Zay! Ha ha ha.

They told me what insurance agents I needed to talk to and what websites to go to and which insurance companies in Utah would be most likely to accept us, etc. It's a complicated mess! But I called an insurance agent today and he actually talked me through an application so that I can increase my chances of being accepted by knowing what to say, what not to say, and how to word things (not being dishonest at all, but not OVER-answering the questions). Then the insurance company called me a couple hours later and had me expound on the fact that I had been denied previously at other companies because of "infertility"... and they told me they would approve or deny us within a week. So, we have to wait to see. The insurance agent who helped me fill out the application was really helpful and sounded like he would fight for me to get insurance no matter what (mostly because he gets a commission if he does! ha ha), so I'm glad I've recruited someone to be on our team.

I'm pretty sure I'll have to blog about "Health Insurance Issues Part II" later, but for now I'm feeling optimistic. Other people have been through it and survived. I'm smart. I've done difficult things before. This is going to be a piece of cake, dangit. :)




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