Monday, April 9, 2012

Good news and bad news.

So, I have been fairly vague with the different steps left in our adoption, because quite frankly, it's all very confusing.

When Grif was about four months old, we got blood test results back that confirmed that he had sickle cell anemia. So, I dove in, learning all that I could about this disease. In the process, I learned that we could apply for something called AAP (Adoption Assistance Program), because Grif was now qualifying as "Special Needs". Since our adoption agency has been less than stellar, we sort of stumbled upon this information on our own. Unfortunately, this was the same week that we were hoping to submit for our court finalization. And, it turns out, that you can only apply for AAP BEFORE finalization. Just our luck.

So, we postponed finalization for the second time (the first time is a whole other story about over paid incompetency), and started the APP application process because the benefits for Grif would be so significant!

About six long weeks after we submitted for AAP, I received a phone call from the County AAP Supervisor. Apparently, because Orange County has such strict regulations regarding AAP, we needed to apply for SSI in order for Grif to qualify for AAP. Just our luck.

So, we postponed finalization (for the third time), and started the SSI application process...

Turns out, our less than stellar agency had NO. IDEA. HOW. TO. DO. THIS.

Awesome.

So, I was on the phone for hours, trying to figure out how to go about this. If you have EVER tried to get a hold any human that works within the State/County system, it is ridiculous. I learned that had to leave approximately 437 voicemails and wait several days, for every one call I would receive back. And then I would have to call another department, rinse and repeat. It seemed I had lined up all the "this-has-to-done-before-that" steps. In doing so, I learned that in order to apply for SSI, we needed to apply for a social security number. Just our luck.

So, we postponed finalization (for the fourth time), and started the SSN application process...

Turns out, our less than stellar agency had NO. IDEA. HOW. TO. DO. THIS.

(are you sensing a theme here?)

So, I got back on the phone and figured out exactly what our agency needed to do. Unfortunately, the steps to complete the process, would require that our agency (that we have paid a pretty penny to) actually function as a competent group of professionals. After waiting a week for them to contact "their own state workers and lawyers to get an opinion on what should be done", they confirmed that they actually were as incompetent and unreliable as I had assumed. Two whole weeks had already passed from the time that we found out we needed to apply for an SSN and SSI, and nothing had even been submitted!!! In fact, they had concluded that they did not have "authorization" to complete the tasks at hand. Just our luck?

WHAT??!

Even though I spent hours.and.hours. on the phone, contacting State and County workers, and they had specifically told me e.x.a.c.t.l.y. what to do, our agency was claiming they were "not authorized?". On top of that, they brushed me off, explaining that we should just proceed forward with finalization, and we could apply for all the different programs AFTER finalization.

We could just finalize and worry about everything later. For about half a second I was stoked! Great idea. I'm in.

Until I called the County AAP Supervisor (that had been surprisingly so helpful. so helpful.) to confirm this would be a good course of action. She was livid that our agency would have the audacity to just try to push us through the system; regulations are extremely clear to all agencies, and that we would forfeit any access to AAP, if we finalized before we completed our AAP application. If we had done as the agency instructed, we would have automatically been disqualified for any AAP services. She continued to clarify that the instruction I had given the agency was not only authorized, it was their obligation to complete it---they have authorization, they just must not want to do the work to get it done.

And then I got on the crazy train.

Our County AAP Supervisor gave me contact info for an agency that has successfully applied for both AAP and SSI on a regular basis, who magically has authorization, while our agency supposedly does not. I contacted them, and they were super helpful, giving a play by play of what needed to happen, confirming all of the steps that I had already learned from playing telephone tag with various State and County workers the first week. The agency worker said she would be willing to talk to our agency, and hold them by their hand to walk them through the process.

Then I called our lawyer ranting and raving. He also confirmed that it is common knowledge that AAP has to be in place before finalization, otherwise we would forgo it. I was so angry that our agency would try to just push us out the door, and wash their hands of us, all knowing that they were extremely deceitful, and doing a huge disservice to Grif in the long run. I got him on board, ready to "convince them their cooperation was vital and illegal if they chose to not follow through". After leaving a voicemail at our agency, and e-mailing them exactly how I felt, I anxiously awaited the weekend to pass so that we could pick up where we left off on Monday.

This morning. I went to the beach. Apparently this is how I deal...



Well. I just heard from the agency again. They magically knew exactly what needed to be done at this point: Yes. We needed to apply for AAP, SSI, and get an SSN. ALL BEFORE FINALIZATION. And this would all be things they would be "authorized" to do, after all.

I already knew this.

But. At this point, it will take six months to get an approval for SSI.

Instead of the agency applying for SSI (or AAP for the matter), when Grif first qualified because of his diagnosis, here we are nine months down the road, already three months past the time we planned on finalizing, and they are saying, "Why yes. This is something we can do."

Well, thanks, but no thanks.

We are moving in one month. We absolutely have finalize, and there is no way we can wait six months for SSI, with an additional 2 months to re-submit for AAP tacked on top of that.

So, we asked the agency to submit our finalization paperwork to our lawyer. We are going to finalize.

Happy news. Finalization.

Sad news. Grif will loose all access to AAP benefits.

If we had started the process nine months ago, the decision to finalize now or wait six more months, would not be on the table. While I am fully aware of this, I feel like it is out of my hands, and I have done all that I could. I feel like I have worked my tail off to get done what needed to get done, and it just didn't happen. I can't go back in time, no matter how much disappointment this all boils down to. I'm ok with it. While the benefits of AAP are exceptional, I know the Lord can compensate for the lack thereof, and we will be blessed.

So guys. We are finalizing!! We are finally going to get to be sealed!! We submit for our court date tomorrow. And this is good news.
Really, really, really good news.

7 comments:

  1. Oh wow. We also had some troubles finalizing (nothing like yours!), but once we were in the temple, it was all worth it.

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  2. This sounds so awful but I'm glad you kinda got it worked out. Jeeze Louise

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  3. What a mess! Congrats though!

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  4. ugghh! How terrible!! I'm so sorry!!

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  5. YAY!!! I wish so bad that I could come! But I probably wont be able to. We are super excited for you guys. I'm glad that things are working out. He will be okay, I like how you put that Heavenly Father would work it all out for Grif. So true!

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  6. NOW I GET IT. I kept hearing bits and pieces from ya but it all makes sense now. Lame agency. Yeah for Griff! I do love him. And your fam. Loved seeing you guys this week!

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  7. Okay so I am a little late but for one thing, HOLY COW, what mess! And second, CONGRATS on finally getting to this point and making it all official!

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