Mental Health and Insurance: Advocating for Makala

Makala Gottcha Day

It’s been a long four-years since this picture was taken and we brought Makala and Jeremiah home to be our children. It required nearly two-years before we met them to complete the application for adoption, training as special needs parents, and have our home study done by the state.

We chose to adopt special needs siblings from our state foster care system. Our lives were stable and we had experience raising Sean and Tori who were on their way to college. We wanted and worked hard to get into a position of making a huge change in the lives of neglected, abused and drug exposed children.

In our state families who adopt foster children are chosen by a committee process. Two other families wanted to become the parents Makala and Jeremiah needed. But, we were selected for many reasons, one of the most important we were told was the fact that I was a documented survivor of domestic violence. The committee was impressed with the way I had gotten out–and given Sean and Tori the best life I knew how. At least that was one of the things we were told made a difference.

When we met our children four years ago, all we knew was that Makala had spent the first four-years of her life with her birth mother and according to police reports and children’s services records Makala had witnessed a great deal of domestic violence before she was taken into foster care a few weeks after Jeremiah was born. The State did provide us with her casefile, the problem is–we were the first people who ever really cared about Makala–the way she should have been cared about.

Our children were together in foster care for nearly a year when we were selected by the committee as the Best Advocates for their needs. We brought our children home with the same hope–love and passion any parent would bring a wanted child into their lives.

Who would have ever guessed how much damage could have been caused to a little girl we met in time to celebrate her 5th birthday? Who would have even imagined what being the “Best Advocate” for our little girl would have required?

This morning will be another battle and another day on the phone fighting and advocating for the best interest of our little girl. Apparently her treatment doctors–the ones she actually sees, those who work with our daughter everyday–don’t know as much as the doctors employed by our Employer Provided Group Health insurance company. Last week in what is called a “Doc-to-Doc” the insurance company and treating doctors discussed her care plan, by tehephone. We were not invited, don’t even know who the mysterious doctor is at the health insurance company making decisions about a child he has never even met… We don’t know anything except that unless she is Homicidal or Suicidal our insurance benefits will not cover the care recommended!

Our Insurance Company would rather pay $20,000.00 for another back surgery–if her behavior should happen to result in another injury to one of her parents. They would rather allow her to be electrocuted when she rips live wires out of walls, they would rather pay to fix her cuts when her foots actually does break a window. Our insurance company would rather offer Jeremiah his own services later when his life becomes more then a little boy can bare.

Our Employee Provided Group Health Insurance, mental health coverage appears to be worth as much as a band-aid would be for a severed leg. Apparently unless my hurt child says she wants to kill me or herself she is fine and should meet with mediocre–right out of college–therapists in the local clinic. Talk and Play therapy offered by the same clinics that treat drug addicts, the same kind of people our daughter was rescued from.

I write this Blog and wonder, What parents of biological children would do when their child faced such a crisis?

If the only insurance available to an ordinary parent is an employer provided group health plan like we have, what do those parents do in a situation like ours? Today our private insurance will stop paying for her treatment! What would we do if this were the only insurance Makala had?

One good thing our country has done is make sure children in foster care never have to depend solely on group health insurance plans. Medicaid is more then nothing, and we are very lucky adopted foster children are given this much.

Our daughter should not be suffering as she is. She should have never been abused as she was. She should have had the same things every new baby deserves in life–a chance to grow up knowing she was loved and kept safe from the horrific abuses only a real mother could cry herself to sleep over…I am the “Best Advocate” for Makala and I will not allow her to fall through the cracks, not even with our private insurance company.

As I sift through all of the details look for future Blogs about Mental Health services and Insurance during the next several months. For more information about Adopting Special Needs Children from the Foster Care system please be sure to visit the Adoption Blogs. If you are interested in learning more about our story please visit my personal website.

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