Thursday, October 26, 2017

Driving With Dad

How is it that when you're in a certain "season" in life, it feels like you will never make it through? When my kids were little, those tantrums and refusals of meals felt like I would never get past bad behavior. There were serious ups and downs. Many of them I remember quite clearly. It usually involved the oldest, Holland.

The other day I took Holland over to visit my dad. I usually visit Holland on weekends, but my dad's health is so poor, I felt Holland needed to see him sooner rather than later. I did a lot of driving that day. I had to drop Romania off at the local community college, drive up to Portland to get Holland, drive back to Beavercreek to my parent's house, and then spent the next four hours driving. One of the few things left my dad enjoys is car rides. When he was still able to walk, he would get his walker, sneak out of the house, down the deck steps, and into a waiting car in the driveway. He didn't want to miss out on any errands so he'd sit, sometimes for hours, just waiting for the moment someone would come out of the house to go somewhere.

So when Holland was over, my mom suggested a car ride. It's a pretty big deal to get my dad into the car. His body is worn down by the aftermath of the strokes. He can't hold himself up. He can't walk on his own. He can't get dressed by himself. The not-so-pretty list goes on. Use your imagination. Once we were in the car, he was pretty happy. Off we went. I had no idea where I was going. I decided to drive the way that I would take Romania and Egypt to the charter school last year. I figured once I got out that far, he'd be satisfied. At one point, I kept hearing my phone ding that a text came through. If I don't read it, it keeps on dinging. I can't read my phone without my readers, so I had to find someplace to pull over and look at it. Immediately my dad started to object. The objection was lots of grunting, motioning I was going the wrong way, and pointing to where he felt I should be going. Years of working in a mill damaged his hearing, so in order to communicate, you yell. It must sound uncomfortable to those that don't understand why we must converse this way. I explained what I was doing, and that we weren't done driving.

He finally understood when I got back on the road to drive some more. We drove by the Clackamas River most of the way. It's beautiful this time of year. Holland talked non-stop. I'd forgotten how full of information he is. Topics were varied, and not always coherent. He has lots of big plans. Big, important dreams that are very attainable to him. It's hard to sit and listen to him without interjecting why something won't work. I want him to have big plans. But I want him to dream things that are actually possible. He's gone through a lot. He's around not so nice people and part of him just wants to give up and get kicked out of his program again. I get overwhelmingly sad when I think of what potential he had as a kid. We talked a little about what he remembers, and much of his behavior, he doesn't.

He said he remembers feeling not all there. He distinctly felt like he wanted to do something, but couldn't. I told him he was on lots of medications. He was taking something to control his mood, but then the side effect it created prompted another med to deal with that. It spiraled out of control. He couldn't sleep. It's like his brain wouldn't shut down. I told him I believed a lot of his behavior (breaking windows, punching holes in walls, taking a hammer to my bedroom door), were a result of the medicines in his body. The only way he got himself off these meds, was to run away from one of the programs he was in. He had been taking meds since he was maybe 6 or 7, up until he was 15. It wasn't the best way to rid his body of these drugs, but I believe he would have been on them much longer, or even not taken off them, if he hadn't run away.

We talked some more about his future. Romania and I have taken him to a few local churches, hoping he would want to plug in somewhere. He does not. My head and heart feel overwhelmed with grief. Grief that things didn't turn out differently. Sadness when I see other adoptions work out amazingly well. He has no place to go. He does not want to do one more program and I totally get that. I want him to live free of program restraints. But right now, no family can take him. I pray constantly that God would provide the perfect people to take him. As of now, these people don't exist. He wants to go to school. There are tech schools nearby and online that he could do. But his current situation doesn't allow that. The boys must be working in order to save money and move out.

I still struggle with why this was our path. The path we chose didn't involve this. We had plans.

It's becoming harder to deal with. My dad is dying right in front of us. Holland can't move to a place that surrounds him with more positive people. And I am stressed from the financial pressures of a husband working two jobs and thinking I'm not contributing because I don't work full time.

I never thought life would be easy, but it feels like we're getting extra helpings of trials.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Homeschool Buyers Co-op

The Homeschool Buyer Co-op is a free homeschooling organization for both new and veteran homeschoolers.  Co-op membership is free and confidential, and entitles homeschooling families to GroupBuy discounts on high-quality curriculum.  On the site you'll find lots of free information, such as databases of free curriculum, field trips, and educational contests and scholarships. Highly recommended. Click here for more information.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


Egypt has taken care of her lop Pepper for the past 4 1/2 years. About a month ago we took him to our regular vet to have a lump on his cheek looked at. The vet gave us antibiotics and said he wasn't sure what it was, but most likely it would involve his teeth. We went to a rabbit specialist in Beaverton and were told he had somehow gotten a puncture in his cheek. He would need surgery to drain the guck. We were lucky that it wasn't tooth related because that's really expensive and rabbits are easily traumatized. We did two weeks of antibiotics and probiotics to keep his gut healthy. The day I took him back to get the stitches removed, the vet found another lump on the other side of his face. This time it was tooth related. He sent a culture off to the lab, put us on two antibiotics, the probiotics, and a shot of penicillin every day. Just about the time I was going to schedule the surgery, I fell and broke my ankle. Pretty much not able to do anything. The following week when I could get around, I made the appointment to have his teeth pulled. The next day, Pepper was dead. It was so awful. On Monday he looked great. He was eating, running around the house, scuffing at blankets to find a comfy place to lay down.

Then on Tuesday, he was very lethargic, didn't want to eat, and basically stopped hopping around the house. Egypt was out swimming at the local pool. I texted my husband to bring her home because I was sure Pepper would be dead before she got home. We spent about 30 minutes with him, petting him and remembering all the funny things he did. By 9:30, he had stopped breathing and went limp. I've never had a pet die in my arms. I usually find them after they die, or have had to put them down when they're really sick. We did so much to take care of this guy. Egypt did an amazing job taking care of him. We buried him under a tulip tree in the backyard. These are the last pictures before we said goodbye to him.

Losing a pet is so hard.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


I've made several attempts to clean Holland's room. I haven't been very successful. Sometimes it's because I'm too tired to do anything after a day of schooling or running around. But mostly it's because whenever I start, I find things that are a painful reminder of what life used to look like. He's been in several residential facilities and each time he leaves, I get a mountain of paperwork. Schoolwork, IEP's, notebooks that he used for school, and letters that he wrote to his peers or that he did for himself.

Each time I start to clean, I find something that makes me stop and read. It's painful just to see his handwriting. To see pictures of him smiling in a baseball uniform when he was 8.  Today I found poems he wrote. I doubt they were intended for anyone else to ever read. It's a soul jarring, heart-wrenching thing to read your child's words when he was in such a depression.

I never felt like I had a thorough explanation of why he ran away from his treatment program over a year ago. The obvious reasons are not wanting to face the consequences of what he'd done. The more painful ones are realizing he doesn't think he should ever come home for fear of what family and friends would think of him.

"Plan for After Here"
1. go back w/ parents.
2. rent A 4 bedroom apartment In CA, Sanfransico
3. buy A house 2 story w/ attic and basement
4. build A house

Underneath his written plan, he's drawn several pictures of what the house would look like. He's got a first story and a second story.

I imagine him sitting in his room at the treatment facility, writing and drawing about life after "Here".
His writing doesn't seem to reflect concern with how his family would react to him not coming home.
The boy that he ran with had left the program once before and was allowed back in. Before he came back, Holland wrote this:

"If I run I know Ethan will try to stop me and I don't blame him. I just want to go to detention to see Samwell.  I'm here on Ethan's behalf. I feel the responsibility to be here for him because Samwell is gone. I'm also here to do the treatment for the victims. but I'm on threats now be patient and calculating a time place and what I need to run."

What's even harder to find in his writings is a detailed list of what he needs for running away. He wrote tips and hints for surviving on the street. He made an inventory list. His calculated plan for running away was detailed in at least three different writings I've found.

"Freedom of chains"
I'm going to
Reclaim, I'm going
to Reclaim my life.

I will not be
controlled or provoked.

I do this for
Right of humanity.
We were not meant
to be controlled.

So we Rally
for our freedom,
our rights, and our

I'm just
another normal
person, why do
you control me.

I hate
society and all
its rules.

Free me
from my chains.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Emancipation Proclamation

Every week we go see Holland where he is now living.  There is only one day each week set aside for visiting the boys and it's Sundays.  We usually have the other two kids go with my mom after church or some other activity.  This week Egypt got to go to OMSI with my sister and her cousin.  Romania just spent his afternoon catching up on homework and cleaning his room so he wouldn't have to pay his sister any more money to finish the job.

Since we don't get much time with him, I like to bring him treats.  He's still not able to have gluten, so sometimes we get him a milkshake from McDonald's or a gluten free burger from Burgerville.  Sunday I had planned on bringing gluten free brownies I had made from a mix from Trader Joe's.  I have used their mixes before and have always been pleased with the results.  My weekends are usually tight schedule-wise, so it was tricky getting the brownies made up the day before and getting everyone where they needed to be and us on our way to visit Holland by 1 when the visiting starts.

We were pleased to see he finally had his new glasses on and he said he had already finished 8 of the 9 books he received for Christmas!  I cannot keep up with such a voracious reader.  Never thought I'd be saying that about HIM!!  But after about 5 minutes of small talk, he asks me, "So I was wondering if I would be able to be emancipated from you and dad?"

It's always hard to know how to respond to him.  Sometimes I think he's trying to hurt my feelings.  Sometimes he just doesn't understand what he's asking or doing or how it affects another person.  I asked him if he knew what that meant and he explained it.  I told him I didn't think he'd be able to make decisions well enough on his own and that usually when a child is emancipated, it's because the parents are mistreating the child.  He said he didn't want to be under my control any more and wanted "more freedom" to do what he wanted.  I told him he would have to be able to get a job and a place to live, because if he was emancipated, dad and I would not be helping him with that.  He then explained his reasons behind why I truly believe he wants this: he wants to be able to go back downtown without any repercussions.  He's curious what has happened to his friend that he ran with.  He saw the life of downtown Portland as one of no restrictions, no boundaries, no mother telling him he couldn't do something.

It's such a hard thing to hear from your own child that he doesn't want you.  If we had been these monstrous parents, I might understand why he is asking these questions.  But, once again, I'm left with a bitter taste and more questions as to why we were chosen to raise this child.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Super Hero's New Job

Super Hero interviewed for a job on a Wednesday morning and by the end of the same day had been offered a job.  It was kind of mind boggling how it all happened.  We found out later, that after seeing Super Hero at the interview, the president of the company said he didn't need to see any more candidates.  He'd found the person for the job.

He's now been working there three weeks.  He's already had some over time they are so busy with projects.  When things settle down, he can work four days a week if he wants, or they will give him a computer to do work at home if he wants.  They seem so accommodating and friendly - it's no wonder they are one of the top 100 fastest growing companies in Portland!  They are number 21 on the list for financial growth in the past three years.  And the company has only 30 employees at this time.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Don't Make Me Go To Ninevah

Super Hero has had a record number of interviews going on these past few weeks.  He's interviewed for several jobs in Vancouver, one in Eugene, one in Portland and next week one in La Grande and another in Beaverton.  I'm counting on the one in La Grande to make an offer.  Can you guess why?  Because I don't want to move to La Grande.  It's like Jonah when he says to God, "I'll do anything.  Just don't send me to Ninevah."  He pretty much does everything he can to avoid it and then he gets swallowed by a big fish and gets spit up on the shores of where?  That's right.  La Grande.  I mean Ninevah.

I'm pretty much drowning here anyway.  I might as well be sent to Ninevah.  My dad had his third stroke last week.  He hasn't been taking the medications to help prevent a stroke, or his blood thinners.  Men think they're invincible.  Until they're not.  He's in a rehab facility now, working on learning to walk again.  His speech is mostly unintelligible right now.  We can catch a few words here and there, in between the grunts and loud expressions of anger when he didn't have his glasses for the first day.   Within the past two weeks I've had to interpret for Super Hero twice in very stressful situations when there weren't interpreters hired.  The first was a court appearance - the clerk who had at least 10 day's notice - forgot to call one in.  So the day of the hearing, we arrive to court only to find out that there's no interpreter coming.   The judge was kind enough to ask Super Hero if he wanted to postpone the proceedings since a qualified certified interpreter wasn't available.  Of course he said no, let's just go on.  No one bothered to ask me, the stressed out person about to become the voice for 8 different people, plus participate in the hearing, what she felt.

The second time I had to interpret was at Holland's intake meeting today.  I got a call two days ago saying that the opening for his placement was going to be at 10 am today.  They were going to work very hard to get an interpreter.  But I knew it wouldn't happen.  It never does on such short notice.  At first I thought it was going to be a breeze.  There were only three people in the room besides Super Hero, Holland and me.  Then, the door kept opening and people kept filing in and sitting down.  People would just keep talking and asking Holland questions and I finally had to stop and ask everyone to introduce themselves.  I said it was really hard to be in a dual role and that it would help to know who everyone was.  (Plus, I'm used to everyone introducing themselves at the beginning of a meeting, anyway.  I've been to so many IEP meetings, that's always what happens.)  Lots of papers to sign and read through.  But I couldn't do any of that, because I was interpreting.  So at what was supposed to be the end of the meeting, someone handed me the paperwork to sign and I started to read through it.  Then someone started talking again and I had to stop reading and start signing again. It was so confusing.

After the meeting we got a quick tour of the grounds and then got to see which cottage Holland would be sleeping in, which building housed the school and where the gym was.  He had lots of questions and the biggest one got answered: did he get to play any computer games?  They actually had a rec room and set up was an xbox with Minecraft and many of the boys also like to play Magic.  Holland announced that he was an excellent player and could teach the other boys.  The staff person we were with said he would be introducing Holland to his peers, but as soon as we walked out the door, he bumped into a boy he knew from the program down in Springfield.  He was so happy to see someone he knew and I think it made him feel good to already know he had a friend there.  He's had so many changes and living situations and we are praying that this is the last one.

I also had to get a job.  I interviewed this summer for an interpreting job with Portland Public Schools.  I got hired without ever getting evaluated for my signing skills and so have been waiting to do that.  I had to go to an orientation, fill out paperwork, pay $82 to be fingerprinted and get my ID badge.  And am still waiting to work because they couldn't find anyone to assess my skills.  I get to do that on Friday up at Columbia Regional Program.  My jobs will be on-call.  It will be either staff meetings or for IEP meetings.  Very last minute and could be at any of the elementary or middle schools in the district.  I found out at my orientation that they service 45,000 students.

So, I'm expecting Super Hero to get that job in Ninevah.  It's out in the middle of no where.  The population is 13,048.  It's 4.13 square miles and there's a school called Heidi Ho.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


I always struggle with how to write about what is happening within our family.  To be exposed and raw with people.  To put our personal and private lives in such a public forum can be terrifying.  But what has happened over the past two weeks has prompted me to write from a place I didn't know existed until now.

Holland has been living in a residential facility for about six months.  This was one of the longest placements he had had.  Other placements he was removed from for unsafe behavior, or the foster mom couldn't handle him (I never understood why it wasn't a foster family instead of a single parent for these kinds of placements).  He had made progress.  Measured, real progress that you could see on his face and in his eyes when we saw him for an hour every Saturday.  He spoke differently to us and about us when we had parent ed meetings and family counseling.  He seemed genuinely concerned about improving himself so he could come home.

Two weeks ago we were at my nephew's birthday party at a park and I got a phone call from him.  The day before he had sounded so depressed and sad.  I was hopeful because on Sunday he sounded much better.  We talked about what he wanted me to bring for the big Luau that was taking place the following Saturday.  He asked me to bring the gluten free pizza I make him.  And sneak in some candy for him, too, he said.  We laughed.  He sounded so much better.

That's why on Monday night at midnight, when my mom called me and said that someone from Holland's house was trying to get hold of me and it "wasn't good", I was completely thrown.  The night staff called me a few minutes later and told me that Holland had run off with another boy during the staff change.  He didn't have any more information for me, except that they were gone and the police had been called.

I didn't understand.  We just spoke the night before and he sounded great.  Over the next few days, I got bits of information, mixed in with a whole lot of nothing.  The boy he ran with had taken off a month before by himself.  Holland had actually planned to run with him, but chickened out.  The entire facility was placed on a lock down while the boys had to earn their privileges and trust back.  Then, I believe, the worst thing possible happened:  this young man was allowed back into the program.  Holland was drawn to him for whatever reason.  And this boy knew it.  He took advantage of Holland's "differences" and even told staff he targeted Holland to get him to run away.  Apparently Holland was still taken with the idea of getting the hell out of Dodge and the night after I spoke with him, he and this boy ran.  There was some thought put into it:  they both had clothes on underneath their pajamas.  They had no money, no cell phones and no transportation.  They just ran, hoping to find their way into Portland.  And they did.

Over the next 12 days Super Hero and I and my parents spent time downtown looking for Holland.  But what stands out the most, is who were the people that helped us look for Holland.  Not one person from my church family helped me look.  Sure, lots of people posted "I'm praying for you" on my Facebook wall.  I got two phone calls from Holland's Sunday School teachers asking about him.  But the people who took actual time out of their lives to physically help us look for Hunter were people that I normally don't count on for support.

When Romania was at the Charter school, I made friends with several moms.  One of those moms called me up and said "I will drive you around Portland.  Just tell me when".  Here was a person that I hadn't seen in over a year.  We kept in touch over Facebook through pictures, but our lives hadn't crossed paths in awhile.  We printed off some flyers with Holland's info and drove into downtown.  I passed out the flyers to food carts and a few homeless people and she would drive around the block and then come pick me up.  At one of my stops, I spoke with a homeless couple and asked if they knew where a kid might find food and shelter.  He started to explain several places and the addresses. I told him I had no idea where those places were.  He looked through his backpack and pulled out a booklet that had a list of all the places where people downtown could get a meal, a place to sleep for the night, emergency care or help finding a job.  It also had youth services listed.  I thanked him and wished I had something to give him.  He promised he would keep an eye out for Holland, as he didn't want such a young kid to end up on the street. My friend and I were able to find a church that was serving a meal to youth and connect with the director who passed out Holland's picture.  One girl said she recognized him.  Another said he had heard his name.  I felt relieved that we had some information.

Another night, a deaf friend of Super Hero's offered to go downtown with him and look around.  They went to many of the places in the booklet that I got.  I had people (that I had only met on Facebook) contact me and say they had driven around Portland and had not seen him.  I had another friend from Romania's charter school say he had spent 4 hours downtown and had not seen him.  Another friend that I met about 4 years ago on a mom's chat board, that lives in California, was so heartbroken for us, that she contacted her brother in law that lives in the Vancouver area.  The wife emailed me and got a lot of information.  They had connections all over the Portland area and she was going to try to see about helping to look for him.  I was amazed at all the help that I was getting from people that I barely knew.

And I was saddened by the lack of help from the people that I've known for over 20 years.  People that are called to "comfort one another in any affliction". (2 Corinthians 1:4).  I've read this passage many times.  What does it mean to comfort someone?  Sometimes words are enough. Saying "I've been praying for you" makes that person feel the comfort of the Lord.  Sometimes in order to comfort someone, it means taking action.  It means you get in a car and you drive around Portland and help them look for their son.

You know who else I got help from?  The homeless people on the streets of Portland.  Every time I walked up to one or a group, they wanted to help.  They wanted to know if he was my son and how long he'd been missing.  "That's so sad that he's gone.  We really hope you find him."  They asked to keep the flyers so they would be able to recognize him and call police if they saw him.  Police.  They were the biggest surprise of this whole story.  One time when my dad and I were out there looking, I pulled over the car because we saw several officers talking to a group of homeless guys.  I thought, "perfect!  I can tell them about the sighting we had this morning from a person that was walking the Portland to Coast race."  I walked over to them and waited.  Wanna know why I waited?  Because one of the cops was having his PICTURE TAKEN with one of the homeless dudes.  Thats right.  Photo op happening.  I waited.  Then one of the homeless dudes came over to me and saw the flyer and asked if he could help me.  I told him that my son was missing but had been spotted that morning by the Steele Bridge.  He was genuinely interested and then turned to the cop with the camera and said, "I think she needs your help."  I have never seen a cop be more uninterested in anything in my whole life.  He was more interested in capturing his buddy with the homeless dude with dreads than he was in listening to some white girl ramble on about her missing son.

"Yeah.  I heard that come through this morning."

"So?  What are you doing about it?"

"Our precinct is pretty big."

"What does that mean?  Somebody saw him.  Aren't you going to go look for him?"

"We'll keep our eyes out for him."

I wanted to shout at him that he should not be wasting his time taking pictures with homeless people, but should be out there searching for my son.  But I was afraid of getting arrested for disorderly conduct.  I turned to the homeless dude and handed him the flyer and asked him to please keep an eye out for Holland.  He promised me he would; "He's too young to be out here!"  Got that right!

With the help of many family and friends and lots of conversations with the homeless youth on the streets, we were able to find Holland.  It's almost too unbelievable to believe.  One tip from a nurse at a facility he stayed at and that recognized him, who called 911, who referred her to non-emergency, who felt the family needed to know so she called a co-worker to make sure we knew from her that Holland was seen at 7 am near the Steele Bridge.  All that brings comfort.  People DOING something to make sure they are helping out another person.

So the next time you think about how you are going to comfort someone, think about what that person needs.  Prayer is always a must.  Take everything to the Lord in prayer.  But do not leave out action.  Do not abandon the person who is suffering; go alongside them and suffer with them.

God of All Comfort
2 Corinthians 1:3- 7
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.  For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.  If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

He's Too Concrete

The other day, Super Hero and I were driving home from errands.  It's always a risk to have any sort of conversation in a moving vehicle with a deaf person.  Not only can they miss very important signs, they can veer off the road. ;-)  Have you ever seen that Seinfeld episode with Kramer as he's "interpreting" what Marlee Matlin signs?  Marlee's character can lipread and signs what she sees this couple across the room saying.  Her character gets the information correct, but Kramer totally screws up the "interpreting" part.  The hilarious part is, although "sweep together" and "sleep together" look similar when spoken, the signs look nothing alike.  So only a person that knows both languages understands how stupid it is that Kramer gets it all messed up.

That's kinda what a conversation with a deaf engineer looks like.  I want to give you context for our conversation, but it really ruins the true beauty of how illogically concrete our conversation was.

Me:  What's your interview for?
Him: A job.
Me: I Know that.  But where?
Him:  At home.
Me: No.  I know it's a PHONE interview.  Where is the JOB?
Him:  I have no idea.
Me:  You have no idea?  You're interviewing for a job and you have no idea where the job is?
Him:  Yes.  I'm tired of interviewing.  So I figure when I finally get a job, then I'll worry about where it is.

This conversation happens  in bursts of two or three words because he has to watch the road.  Which becomes even more frustrating because then I'm not sure which signs he has seen.  So, do I repeat myself, or keep going?

As we're driving home (the person was supposed to call at 1 p.m., ), he keeps pointing to the clock on the dashboard.

Him: It's 12:56!

We keep driving.  I notice him looking at the clock some more.

Him: It's 12:58!  We're going to be late.

More driving.  I think the slowest person in the world is in front of us.  Super Hero points that out, too.

Him:  (Pointing to the clock, in case I wasn't paying attention before) It's 12:59!
Me: Yes, it is.

Drive.  Drive.  Drive.  We haven't pulled into our house quite yet, and....

Him:  (pointing to the clock) It's 1:00!  We're late!  I KNEW it.  I KNEW we'd be late.
Me:  I doubt this guy's waiting by his phone to dial it at 1 p.m.  We're fine.

He runs into the house to where the video phone is set up.  Phew.  No missed calls.  He sits there for the next 20 minutes waiting for the phone to ring so he can answer his TV.  Nothing.  He decides to get up and make lunch.  I'm sitting in the living room, looking at my phone.  He's making himself lunch and all of a sudden yells "shoot!" and runs into the schoolroom.

Him:  Why didn't you TELL ME that the phone was ringing?!!
Me:  Because I didn't HEAR the phone ringing.

See that wonderful logic happening here?  I'm the hearing person.  I'm supposed to hear everything.
So, like most problems in the house, the wife/mother gets blamed and she doesn't even have to be in the same room.   It's all good.  He got his phone interview.  He got his lunch.  And he might get an in person interview.  He finds that out next week.

Oh - and the job is in Vancouver.  So.  Now you know.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Things Fall Apart

A little over a week ago I got a call from Holland's residential placement.  His team was on "shut down", which meant that all the boys in his group (about 8) had been put on a status that required the strictest supervision.  The staff had determined that the boys had not been following the peer feedback and accountability.  There were also boys that were teasing Holland, causing him to react inappropriately and then they would call him out on his behavior.  He would not accept their feedback and the cycle would repeat.  The team had to go through three stages in order to rebuild their accountability to each other and be able to work together again.  They lost a lot of privileges and were not able to make any phone calls until Stage Three.  They had to make amends with each other and each boy had to call his parents and explain his role in the breakdown of the group - "take accountability" for his part in the group's behavior.

I was so excited when I heard the boys had made it to Stage Three.  It sounded like they had pulled it together and were a team again.  On Thursday night I got a call from Holland.  He started his call with, "I'm taking accountability for my part in a member of my team running away."  I was all confused.  I thought we were past Stage One and here he was apologizing for something.  I asked what he was talking about.  His phone calls are limited to five minutes, so I knew I wasn't going to get much information out of him.  He said that he and another boy had planned on running away from the program.  He didn't do it, but the other boy had.  He made it into Portland and was caught (I later found out the boy had turned himself in), and was back in detention.  I asked if Holland would have to go back in detention.  He said he didn't know.  I had a million questions.  I had zero time to ask them.  I wanted to talk to a staff person.  I couldn't - the other boys needed to make their phone calls. 

The next day I was able to get hold of his former PO and find out more of what happened.  She was going out to visit him and discuss the seriousness of his situation.  With Holland's recent diagnosis of autism, I wonder if he has to go in front of a judge again, that his medical diagnosis will be taken into account.  I'm afraid of what will become of him if he is incarcerated.  He will not get the kind of therapy he needs.  If you are reading this, please pray that he does not get removed from his current placement.

I got another call last night and I'm afraid that his time may be over.  He barricaded himself in an upstairs room with a foosball table.  He threw something out a window and when he finally did come out, he ran outside the house.  He said he never left the property, but he still had staff chase him outside.  They discussed his options and I'm doubting that they will want to keep him after this.  I know the program wants to work with him, but when he keeps getting physical like this, he'll be viewed as too much of a threat to the other boys and their safety.