03 Mar First Post of 2012
Wow! That’s all I have to say about how long it’s been since I’ve updated everyone here.
It’s a 80°+ WINTER day here in beautiful Southern California. It’s quite something to experience this incredible weather while tracking the news of devastating storms and tornadoes throughout the Midwest and South.
While Josh’s birthday was over 2 weeks ago, his party is today. He’s 17, and decided he would celebrate with what is expected to be about 30 friends (I don’t know who approved that many people) with a huge 50′ long bouncer! Kinda crazy, but it’s keeping them busy and they’re howling with laughter and games, so it’s all good!
Colleen is at work,having down all she could last night, bravely leaving Josh and I to finish the job today and get the party started. I think she’d be proud of us. We got the entire list done and were ready before the first guest arrived!
I last left you at the first of our trip to Heritage in December to see Jonathan. The trip was wonderful, we enjoyed being with Jonathan for his 16th birthday. We visit him next in two weeks, leaving after church on the 18th, arriving there the 19th. We’ll be with him until that Friday, arriving home on Saturday, back home in plenty of time for church on Sunday. From there, we expect his first home visit to occur sometime in April. Likely Easter weekend.
Jonathan is progressing well. As has always been, not without challenges, but that’s just part and parcel, not just for him, but the whole process in general. We still do not have a timeline for his return home. Our 1 year IEP (Individualized Education Plan) Review happens with the school district IEP Team and Heritage Treatment Team on March 30. That will be a big meeting that may, or may not, reveal a lot for us.
While Colleen and I miss Jonathan a lot, and have gone through a couple of down seasons emotionally with not having him here, we are pretty settled with having him at Heritage. The more time and experience passes with them, the more sold we are on the work they do.
While they can’t guarantee how kids will absorb their work, and we hear of a number that don’t, the work they’re doing is so strong and healthy. We know Jonathan’s odds for success are so much greater the more time and work he receives there. We have considered that if it looks like he will be there longer than we would have expected, we may pick up the pace of visits of us to him and him to us to help him endure. He now claims to really like it there and only wishes to have more visits than we’ve done so far.
An interesting dilemma we may face is the length of time the school and county will continue to fund his time there. We were recently informed that the state of California has changed the laws so that school district now pay 100% of the bill for residential placements, rather than allowing them to split the bill with County Behavioral Health Departments. That means that IEP Teams are now placing much more emphasis on how a student is doing academically and a lot less emphasis on how they’re doing behaviorally or psychologically in making decisions about how long they will fund placements.
Jonathan is doing exceptionally well in school there. However, he is in a residential, very highly structured environment where he has no choice but to attend school and do his work to make his way through the program’s phases to receive more and more privileges. All said, March 30 will be an interesting day for us!
Colleen’s heart condition has now cleared up symptomatically. She has been off steroids for about 2 months now and is very happy about that. Downside is that the prednisone was taking care of all the other lupus symptoms, and those are now back to old and sometimes a bit greater levels. But she is the strong woman she has always been as she forges ahead each day!
I say she has “cleared up symptomatically” because we had figured that meant she was physically clear. She saw the cardiologist this week, who said all sounds and looks good, but he wants to do an echo cardiogram in 2 months just to be sure the condition is actually all gone.
Josh continues to do well in his independent study charter school. He’s hoping to finish his Junior year there at the end of May so he can do his Senior year at Simi High. We’re not sure if that’s going to happen, but that’s the goal for now.
In many ways, he seems to be flourishing without Jonathan home. We’ve been pursuing some help to offer him a place to be able to process his past experiences with Jonathan. He doesn’t necessarily feel he needs it, but we see some things from time to time that tell us it would be a good thing for him to have a safe place to process.
I’m still making my way through my Master’s program through Liberty University. Next Friday, my current class, “Counseling the Adolescent”, will end. That’s my 6th out of 10 classes. If I keep up my pace, I’ll finish my last class in December. It’s been tiring, but also very invigorating at the same time!
That’s the latest from our home front! How about yours?