29 Apr Time Warp, Part 6
Late Friday night, it’s been quite a week since I last posted on Sunday night. We traveled about 1,500 miles through 5 states in 4 days, arriving at the home of some lifelong friends in Damascus, Oregon, only 5 miles from where Jonathan has been since March 28 at Northwest Behavioral Healthcare Services.
One of the many grace gifts God gave us through the struggle of the last couple of months was the placing of Jonathan so geographically close to these friends. We’ve been staying with them since Wednesday night and it’s been a breath of fresh air to relax with them when we can in some tense days.
Since I last wrote, we visited two potential residential treatment centers, one in California and another in Utah. Colleen and I both felt pretty strongly about Heritage School in Provo, Utah for several reasons. However, we wanted Jonathan to have some say in the decision of we could. As we spoke to him about both places and he had opportunity to see them on the internet, he ended up feeling the same way, that Heritage was the place to go.
Ideally, he would much prefer to come home, but he seems to have accepted that this is what will be happening for the next year. We don’t get the sense that he completely understands, no matter how many times we’ve tried to make it understandable, but we do get the sense that he knows we love him, are committed to his best and God’s best for his future, and will not abandon him in this process. I hope and trust that this reassures him when homesickness and loneliness gets the best of him.
His challenge right now is waiting to leave. He wanted to hit the road right away when we finally made the decision together yesterday afternoon. For Jonathan, everything is in the here and now. He has little regard for the future. Some of this is adolescence and some of it related to his disorders.
This morning, we had family therapy and then surprised him by letting him know we were taking him out for a for the day on what they call a day pass. Northwest encourages families to do this before discharging the students to test the waters and see how things go. He’s been there for 32 days now and we were a little apprehensive about how he would do. However, we laid out the boundaries clearly with the help of the therapist, and the day went very well.
We started with lunch and several hours of clothes shopping to prepare him for the next year in Utah. He has always had a very difficult time with this task. Today he did very well. After shopping, we went to the Oregon Zoo, his choice as an animal lover! When we were done there, we knew we would be getting dinner, and on the way back, the boys knocked out for a bit.
Made for a good time for me to find and cruise by East Hill Foursquare Church in Gresham. Some may find it weird, I’m sure, but when I’m in a different city, I love to locate and drive by local Foursquare Churches. It gave Jonathan particularly some extra time to sleep, which has been a complaint of his for quite a while now. We’re hoping to see this change through continued medication changes and therapy.
After cruising a while, we had dinner, did a little more shopping, then got his haircut. Surprisingly, he decided on a pretty short cut. Here’s a before and after shot of him:
The last few days have also decided that Colleen and Josh will fly home Saturday night. Then, Sunday morning, I’ll discharge Jonathan from Northwest and the two of us will hit the road. We’ll stay overnight in Twin Falls, Idaho. Monday, we’ll make the drive to Provo and admit him at Heritage. I’ll leave there and plan to drive to St. George, Utah to spend the night there. Tuesday, I’ll drive home from there, planning to arrive sometime late afternoon/evening.
We had some concern about whether or not he would be willing to do the drive safely, but conversations with the therapist and Jonathan this week have convinced me this will likely be a beneficial and fun trip to take with Jonathan. He actually sounds excited to get there and get started, though he currently declares he will be there for the horse program and does not plan to attend school. We’ve just left that part of the conversation at “you can work that out with them when you get there.” That may be his first real challenge there, but it will be a good one for him to overcome.
Heritage policy does not allow contact for his first two weeks there. However, it turns out that Heritage’s next “Parent Weekend” is May 12-15, the almost two week mark of his time there. The Parent Weekend is one of the advantages of their program. Jonathan will be learning a completely different way of life, and we will need to learn some new ways of doing family for his sake into the future as well. Heritage helps parents learn the why’s and what’s of these changes through four Parent Weekends a year.
When we attend the Parent Weekend, as long as Jonathan is doing well and is not under any restrictions for behavior when we’re there, we’ll get to spend some time with him while we’re there. That should be a good transitional time for him, I think.
That’s it for now. Thanks for following Jonathan’s story!