Thursday, January 13, 2011

He's Alive!

Well, it appears that Holland was born afterall. I finally got my act together and went to Social Services to turn in more paperwork for my appeal. In case I forgot to mention this before, the application for Holland's disability was denied. I've heard this is very common. They want to weed out all the flim-flam and make it so difficult to get any assistance and hope you'll give up. I can see why people do give up. Navigating this system has been horrible. No one wants to help you, you get misdirected answers, and people generally feel all you want is money.

After I got the denial letter, I immediately got on the phone with Oregon Disability Rights and talked to someone about what to do. I sent them a bunch of paperwork on past testing. But they didn't get the last two pages of something we had done 5 years ago. The psychologist that did the testing is impossible to get ahold of and hasn't returned either phone call from me. So I'm still waiting to get them what they need.

In the meantime, someone from Social Services (probably the state level at this point) calls me and asks me a bunch of questions (but I wasn't given the chance to ask any) and says basically we will have a conference call on a specific date to talk about the appeal. It was irritating that he wouldn't give me any other information. So the conference call came and they told me why Holland wouldn't qualify. I told them repeatedly that I understood he wouldn't qualify from the bipolar diagnosis. I told them his learning disabilities were going to prevent him from functioning as an adult. They told me his IQ was too high. I pointed out that the testing they had was not the entire picture. The testing they had was from the current IEP, which wouldn't have been a problem, except that Holland had had testing back in February of 2010 and I was told at that meeting that he was "mentally retarded". Something very hard to hear that I actually fought against putting in his IEP. I requested more testing since I didn't think those results were accurate. The testing was done under stressful circumstances, in long sessions and with a person he'd never met and had trouble taking instruction from. In both testing situations, he scored "extremely low", "very low" and "below average" on many things. He had a few jumps in scores that showed he was above his age for logic. The thing the conference call people said was his "overall" picture was that of a kid with learning disabilities, but not developmental disabilities.

I said I also was trying to get ahold of his birth records from San Diego where he was born. I had been told that the hospital could not find those records. I knew he was exposed to drugs and alcohol during pregnancy and it was a matter of finding those documents. I called our lawyer and asked if she had any records that would indicate drug use. She actually had paperwork from a social worker in San Diego that showed birth mom admitted to alcohol and meth use during her pregnancy. The records indicated that she was "clean" at the birth, as was Holland. But she had been in the hospital for three weeks because her water broke early. So of course she wouldn't have drugs in her system at that point. The fact that she admitted to it was a big plus. Although I don't think it shows the true amount of what was consumed.

The conference call people said I could ask for an extension and get those documents and have them faxed to them. So yesterday, I had social services fax those papers and when the gal was giving me back my copies, said "You must have put pressure on the hospital for those records." I told her that the socialworker paperwork was actually from my lawyer. I didn't get what she was talking about. She explained again that the hosiptal did in fact have his records and needed another request sent out and they would send them to her. I couldn't believe it. How did they find them when they were adament about not having them? Someone, somewhere put pressure on them to look harder. The social worker told me it was really good I had documents proving that birth mom abused drugs and alcohol.

Now I just have to wait for the appeals people to call me back. Hopefully with good news that my appeal has been accepted and we can move forward.

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