Expanding family adopts a new strategy

Thrivent members seek greater financial protection after some unexpected changes.

Will and Macy Cousineau, daughters Sindija, Linda and Ieva, and son Finley This article (PDF) | Current issue (PDF) | Archive

By Tom Brandes, photo by Lou Bopp

Two years, four children

Five years ago, Will and Macy Cousineau felt they had adequate financial protection. At the time, they both received life insurance and disability income insurance through their employers. As an active married couple with no children, the Cousineaus, who live in Chatham, Illinois, often traveled internationally and within the U.S. They were fortunate to have well-paying jobs and no debt. But a series of major job and life changes caused them to reassess their insurance needs.

In 2012, on a trip to Cuzco, Peru, over Christmas, they were awakened by the noise of tables being set up in their hotel's courtyard. They soon learned that every year the hotel helps make Christmas special for the city's children, many of whom are very poor. Each child receives a piece of bread, a cup of hot chocolate and a small toy.

"An employee told us, 'Look at the line of children.' We thought there would be a dozen or so kids waiting," Will says. "When we looked, the line stretched as far as we could see – three-quarters of a mile or more. We sat and watched for hours. It made such an impression on us, we knew we had to do something to share our blessings."

Will and Macy had long thought about adopting. Nine months after their experience in Peru, they received a photo of three sisters, and they actively began pursuing their adoption. They hosted the older two during Christmas 2013, but the girls returned to Latvia in January 2014.

In April 2014, Will and Macy received the call that they would need to be in Latvia three days later for their first court hearing where they would meet all three girls together: Sindija, Linda and Ieva. They stayed in Latvia for a month until the court allowed the Cousineaus to bring the girls home to America, though they weren't officially adopted until after a total of three trips back and forth to Latvia.

But their family wasn't done growing just yet. Nearly two years after bringing home their girls, Macy became pregnant. Their son, Finley, was born in the fall of 2016.

Their family had grown quickly. Macy decided to be a stay-at-home mom. And in June 2017, Will took a new job. Given all these changes, they wanted assurance their family would be secure if something happened to either parent.

"My value and ability to earn a living goes down the longer I'm out of the workplace," Macy says. "I'm not a risk taker, and I was worried about leaving a stable job because if something happened to Will, I could never make up that income."

In addition, Macy was concerned that Will's new job, which includes a fair amount of travel, couldn't provide the level of life insurance to allow Macy to continue staying home with the four children and put them each through college should something happen to Will.

"Often people don't realize how valuable each person is and how important it is to prevent uprooting a family in time of tragedy."
– Thrivent Financial Representative Debbie Pierce

A sense of security

Will and Macy contacted Thrivent Financial Representatives Mark and Debbie Pierce, who are married. The Cousineaus knew the Pierces from church and had previously worked with them to start individual retirement accounts.

"The Cousineaus walked us through their current situation – a new job for Will, Macy staying at home," Mark says. "They wanted to know how they could protect their life and stay in their home if something bad happened to either of them. We showed them a number of plans and options, including giving options to help their community and church."

They also talked about how Will's current and future earnings could be affected in the event of a tragedy, Debbie says. "Often people don't realize how valuable each person is and how important it is to prevent uprooting a family in time of tragedy," she says.

After weighing their options, Will and Macy selected a mix of term and permanent life insurance for each of them, plus disability income insurance for Will. Now that the insurance is in place, they are again sleeping soundly.

Throughout the process, Macy says she appreciated the way their representatives helped her and Will select the right insurance for her family.

"They were very honest, incredibly transparent and didn't oversell us," she says. "Buying this insurance is money well spent. My family will be well taken care of and can continue to function in our home and world in case the worst thing happened."

Tom Brandes is a freelance journalist in Minneapolis.