22 April 2011 ~ 3 Comments

Time Warp, Part 4

In my last post, I mentioned I would write about the fact that there has been little relief really since my son has been in the residential treatment center up in Oregon. I offer these posts not to solicit sympathy or pity in any way. I write to let those who follow know what we are experiencing in real life.

Lots of pastors are pretty content keeping their personal live private, and to a degree, that’s not a bad thing. At the same time, I know the temptation to keep really large issues private. I relate to it. I’d rather keep quiet about my own issues and leave them in the background. Therein, too often, lie some pretty deep problems. It gets too easy to help others deal with their “stuff” and not deal with my own. I’ve resolved to not do that, and to live an open life in front of those I lead.

That does not mean that every issue I struggle through needs to be public, nor that it needs to take public time from the platform. This family issue we are walking through is a good example. There is not great value in taking public time in front of people to share all of this.

Back to the issue of relief …. we originally anticipated that once he was safely in the residential treatment center, we would be greatly relieved. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, for some good reasons actually.

Over the last few months, we’ve been working with the school district and County to have him assessed for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and qualified for “Chapter 26.5 services“. It’s a painstaking and time-consuming process with both entities.

At the end of the same week that we sent him north, the school district was set to share their findings of their assessment. The same day we sent him, they began to cram for their final reports and needed lots of time and detailed information from us. In the end, it was worth it, because they did grant an IEP and chose to go directly to sending him to a residential school. That means they fund the academic portion of residential placement.

We would need the County to deem him qualified for Chapter 26.5 services and to also decide that he needs residential placement. At the time of the IEP meeting, the County was only a couple of weeks into their assessment. Over the next two weeks, they would also need more time and detailed information for their assessments.

During the same time, after the first 72 hours of no contact, there were daily calls with our son and 1-2 therapy phone calls per week. There was the quickly planned trip north to do therapy in person at the request of the therapist. They rarely have out of state parents able to make the trip to do so, but we have always been committed to do whatever we can for our son. We decided we would sacrifice whatever we needed to in order to let him know we love him, are not abandoning him in this process, and we’re willing to walk with him through this.

Two weeks ago, on his 11th day at the center, the insurance company decided that since he was exhibiting “model citizen” behavior (which the therapist said is very common for students to do for the first 2-3 weeks they are there), he can exhibit the same self-control at home and deal with his issues there. They denied our coverage starting on that date. That began a new set of phone calls, emails and the sort, a part of the story that has not yet been resolved.

Last Friday, we received the great news that the County qualified him for the Chapter 26.5 services and has also committed to giving him residential placement. Tuesday, we met with the IEP Team to formalize the plan. He will be placed at an RTC that offers therapeutic services for students with Bipolar Disorder and the like as well as helping him continue his education. We also learned that they will pay for his transportation to the new RTC, even if we need to use secure transport again. We were also told the school district will cover a certain number of visits for our family to take so we can visit him and participate in family therapy over the next year.

We were/are ecstatic about this provision! Now the next phase begins …. selecting his next placement location. A new County Case Manager is on board. It’s her role to send our son’s application packet to potential RTC’s for them to assess and let us know if he is a good fit for them and if they have space.

Suddenly, next week’s trip north becomes necessary for us to travel TWICE the previously planned distance so that we can do site visits at two of the potential RTC’s, one in Nevada City, CA and another in Provo, UT. Darn good thing I love long drives!!

So, as you can tell, not much relief yet. We have noticed how much more quiet and peaceful our home life is. It’s quite something to parent a teenager that doesn’t require or demand more than all of what you have. Don’t get me wrong! We wouldn’t and will never trade our younger son for anything.

We want him back in our home, as long as he can learn coping skills that are not dangerous to himself and the rest of the family. We believe that time will come and we look forward to it. We anticipate that once he is in his new placement and settled in, maybe relief will settle in for us. We’ll see.

Right now, the roller coaster continues, and we look for chunks of time here and there (and they do come) for down time, rest, respite from the busy-ness, “hurry up and wait” nature of this season of time. You have them too. We all do.

Until next time ….

  • Lisa G Fiedler

    Praise GOD for this huge answer to prayer. I’m thankful that they will cover it and he can continue to get the treatment he needs. I am praying continually for the whole family.

    In regards to the RTC in Nevada City, CA: will you be up against the issue of CA not forcing him to stay in treatment? That is the first thought that came to mind when you mentioned the two locations.

    Love ya all lots!

    lgf

    • Paul Kuzma

      Lisa: Thank you for praying! That really means so much to us! The RTC in Nevada City is a 1,000 acre ranch in the middle of nowhere. So, theoretically, he can run, but he doesn’t have anything nearby to run to. We don’t know how comfortable we are with it, but that’s the theory anyway.

      David: We will be praying with you and are here if we can be of any support at all! Your little guy is special to us all!