Sunday, June 26, 2011

Night Waking Worry #2: Insurance Woes

I know that the topic of insurance can certainly seem dry and boring to write about.  And it’s true, it’s not very exciting.  But it’s amazing how something so mundane can actually be very important, especially when you’re no longer working, you’re insurance runs out soon, you’re moving to another country, and most importantly you want to have more kids.   So this worry was one that was keeping me up for weeks:
We want to have another baby.  But we have this ‘gap’ in our medical insurance next spring, when my COBRA insurance runs out and our missionary insurance doesn’t start until 6 weeks later.  (You have to be on this insurance for 12 months before any maternity care is covered, so we’re in this waiting period now).  Real poor planning on our part.  Not sure what happened there.  So that means I can’t have a baby during that gap.  So the plan was: don’t get pregnant this summer…
But then in the middle of the night, I realized that even if I’m not due during those few weeks, I most certainly hope to be pregnant by next spring… which means I will need some type of insurance.  Unless we want to pay for everything out of pocket.  Awesome.
Mental note in middle of night: must talk to Joe about this new dilemma.  We can’t run the risk of being pregnant, being in another country, and having ZERO insurance for 6 weeks. 

Update: So after discussing this issue for the ump-teenth time with Joe (over the past several months), we finally got our act together, did more research, and figured out we can switch plans without having a to have a waiting period for maternity care, etc.  We are in the process of applying for new insurance and hopefully it will be approved in the next few weeks.  Problem solved – hopefully.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Kate Update

First of all, we want to say thank you for all of the prayers, encouraging emails, comments, and texts we’ve received over the past few days.  You all are amazing!

So the evaluation went fine.  Just as I knew in my heart it would.  It turns out that it wasn't even a speech evaluation to start - just an overall developmental eval - and then if there is 25% gap or more in one or more areas of development, then they refer you to the specialist.  The nurse who came to our house was GREAT – she was so easy-going and made us all feel relaxed immediately.  She had various toys and books that she had Kate use to demonstrate certain skills, but mostly just asked us questions about what Kate is/isn’t doing.  And Kate passed all areas with flying colors.  Yeah, her speech "articulation" isn't totally great, but the nurse said that she wasn't concerned at all and that we shouldn't be either.


To be honest, I had been annoyed at the doctor for even bringing this issue up because I was just never that concerned with Kate’s speech.  I was a little concerned a few months ago, but then by 23 months she really started having a word explosion, and even though the words weren’t pronounced correctly, there aren’t a lot of two-year olds who have perfect articulation anyway.  So when the doctor suggested we have her evaluated for possible “speech delay” and threw out other scary terms like, “early intervention”, it just really took us by surprise (and admittedly freaked me out).  I didn’t want to be that parent, however, that thinks their kid is totally developing normally and turns a blind eye to a professional’s advice (or is it a deaf ear?).  Anyway, I kept thinking of those kids I’ve taught over the years that I have been genuinely concerned about but whose parents are in complete denial.  And plus, it never hurts to get a test done or a second opinion.  But all along, I kept on feeling resentful towards the doctor because my gut told me Kate was fine, and this just added a lot of extra stress, and one more variable to the already complicated equation of moving to Costa Rica.

So what can I learn from all this?  A lot, I’m sure.
1)   Trust your gut
2)   You are in control of you (i.e. I chose to stress, and even though I wanted to blame the doctor for causing the stress, she after all was just doing her job.  Don’t shift the blame)
3)   Thank God for Joe, who was relaxed about this issue from the very start.  Thanks Joe for keeping me grounded and reminding me of what is important!

Now we can cross one more variable off our list and we're one step closer to Costa Rica!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Night Waking Worry #1: Kate’s Speech

As we mentioned in our last newsletter, we are getting Kate evaluated this Wednesday for possible speech delay.  This worry plagues me most in the middle of the night, so even though I typically have perspective on this, when I’m thrashing around in my covers, the “what ifs” can quickly get out of control. 

What will the evaluation be like?  Will I feel pressure for Kate to “perform”? What if she has a hearing problem?  What if they want her to have therapy for 6 or 12 months?  What will that look like?  What will that cost?  Will it even help?  What if…?

Then I start feeling sad because my daughter is not developing “perfectly” and this leads to shame knowing that I have some pretty significant issues surrounding performance and perfection.  A prayer quickly follows… God help me to feel your peace and your love, knowing that you love us regardless of our performance.  Help me to love Kate in the same way.  Thank you Jesus.

We can’t wait for some answers though, and will be sure to share them with you soon. 

Night Waking

So I’ve been having this problem a lot lately of waking up in the middle of the night.  And it’s not just for five minutes or something where I roll over and go back to sleep.  I’m up.  For hours.  Apparently I have a lot on my mind these days.  At first, I always try to put myself back to sleep by praying, because that used to work.  I pray for peace.  I recite a calming verse.  But it’s not helping me get back to sleep, so I switch gears and pray for my friends:  A friend who is trying to get pregnant.  Another one who just had another bad breakup.  A friend whose mom has cancer.  The list goes on.  I wish I could say I was fervently praying for these people – focused and intentional prayers – but it is the middle of the night after all and I’m up because I have a lot on my mind.  So inevitably my prayers morph into my own thoughts and worries and my mind is off and running again.  Like a hamster wheel. 
A former counselor of mine recommended having a time set aside each day to process everything – a very intentional time to write out worries or concerns.  (This was back when I was teaching full time and would lay awake thinking about my students or the lessons I had to teach – apparently stress does not magically disappear just because you’re not working).  So I try to journal like the counselor suggested, but I’m not doing it on a daily basis like I should.  Hence, the blog.  In a way, this is what this blog will be for me (and for Joe) – a way to intentionally document and process all these thoughts and events as we prepare for Costa Rica. I will start by briefly listing the worries that keep my mind running at night and then each of these will become their own posts eventually:
1)                   Kate’s speech
2)                   The big move: Seattle to San Jose
3)                   Insurance woes
4)                   Fertility fears
Until I write more, let’s just pray that I can start sleeping more, worrying less, and truly take to heart Matthew 6:34: Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Making Progress: June Newsletter

Hello once again!  We are writing to update you on our progress so far in raising funds and preparing to leave for Costa Rica.  There are several exciting things to report!

First, we have raised about 30% of our funds so far.  It has been an incredible experience to see people step up and generously support us.  Raising money is definitely challenging us and pushing us out of our independent, self-sufficient cultural mindset.  It’s been such a blessing to see God provide for us in ways we never expected.  We have been humbled and immensely encouraged, knowing people are praying for us and giving generously to support what we’ll be doing down in Costa Rica.  A HUGE thank you to all of you, whether it’s been words of encouragement, prayers, or a financial contribution.  We could not step into this adventure without you.

Second, we have started a blog where we’ll post these newsletters online, as well as other posts documenting the “getting ready” process.  The amount of work, planning, and emotion that goes into a decision like this is truly remarkable, and we thought a blog would be a good way to keep people updated on a more regular basis of what we’re doing and where we are at in this process.  The blog is   If you’re interested, check it out!

Third, we have been praying a lot about when we should actually leave.  We would love to leave as early as this October, but there are several variables influencing our decision, and we’re considering what is best for our family. As we mentioned in our first letter, we need 100% of our support for our first year to be raised or pledged ($3,500-4,000/month), and we have been encouraged by what has been given so far.  Also, many of you know that we had a miscarriage earlier this year and have hopes of having a second child.  We’re flying down to San Jose in August to meet with a doctor and to take a tour of the hospital to make sure we feel comfortable with potentially having a baby in Costa Rica.  Third, at Kate’s two-year doctor’s appointment, it was recommended that we have her evaluated for possible speech delay.  Our initial evaluation is on June 22nd and if it turns out that she does need therapy, we may need to stay in Seattle for a few extra months to ensure she gets the help she needs.  

So that leaves us with lots to think and pray about! Here is how you can pray for and support us:
·      Pray along with us about exactly when we should leave and that the Lord would give us wisdom in all the small and big steps as we prepare to move. 
·      Pray that all of our finances would be raised.  Pray specifically for more monthly donors.
·      If you haven’t contributed financially and feel led to, here’s how:
o   For one-time donations, you can write a check payable to “Tres Rios” and send it to Visions Made Viable, or go online to and click the Donate button at the bottom of the page. 
o   For on-going, monthly donations, fill out the enclosed form and send it in to Visions Made Viable.

Thank you again for all your prayer and support and for taking the time to read our letter.

With love,

Joe, Jennie, and Kate