Saturday, October 15, 2016


I haven't updated in awhile.  It's been a crazy month.  Here's the latest:

For one thing, we just received the bill for Amelia's inpatient stay last month.  The total bill was $4,800.00.  Our portion is $2,640.00.  Ouch.  I'll need to check my benefits for inpatient psych coverage....but the bottom line is...we don't have $2,640.00.  Period.

For the past month, Amelia has been either coming to work with me, staying with a dear friend (Thank you Mimi), staying with my mother-in-law (Thank you, Nancy) or she's been at home.  I've only left her alone once.  I'm not comfortable with that, but on that day, it was a necessity.

We are hoping to have her in a school called "Center Academy" at the beginning of the year.  We spent a significant amount of time there a few weeks ago.  She seems to like it and I was very impressed with the program, the teacher and the director.  However, it's about $14,000 per year.  Guess what....we don't have it. 

We were able to move up her neuro-psych evaluation from the end of November to the end of this month.  Once this comprehensive testing is done, we will know more about what kind of limitations we are dealing with.  She had this same eval done back in 2013...which showed a reading disorder, a mood disorder, a behavioral disorder as well as an executive function disorder.  Of course, ADD/ADHD was also diagnosed.
Recently, I have been asked by two different mental health professionals, whether or not anyone has ever said the term "Asperger's" to us.  Up until that point, no one had.  However, the neuro psychologist is going to look into that for us and has some special tests that she will do with Amelia.  If, in fact, she finds that diagnosis present, this will open up some funding options for us.  There is one particular scholarship that would be available to us if she does have Asperger's.  We shall see.

We've contacted and spoken with an attorney.  We are waiting for all documentation to be sent to us and once that's done, we will be able to decide how to move forward.  A part of me wants to just leave it all alone and move past it....but another part (the bigger part) wants justice for my daughter.  There was no reason for her to have been treated the way she was.  Every single new document that is sent to us...including the entire medical record from her stay at the Mental Health Resource Center, confirms our belief that there was NO NEED for her to be involuntarily committed. There are inconsistencies in the accounts of what the school said, versus what the counselor said, versus what is written in the medical record.  It's all very disheartening...and disappointing.

It is still very hard for me to think about that day.  I've had to relive it several times and it is truly a nightmare to do so.  I get nauseous and shaky when I drive to the school every afternoon to pick up Nathan and Olivia.  Amelia gets agitated too.  It's strange to realize that a place can have that kind of effect on me.    Amelia and I are both trying to find a place of acceptance about what happened.  We will get there.

In addition to all of this, we were hit by Hurricane Matthew last week!  We did not sustain any major damage...but our roof took a beating.  We have at least 4 leaks in our house at the moment.  An insurance adjuster will be out Monday to take a look.  Our deductible is rather high so there's no telling how much we'll be responsible for.  Only time will tell and the truth of the matter can't get blood out of a turnip.  It is what it is and we'll do our best to figure it all out.....unless of course, Jesus comes back soon, in which case...none of this will matter one iota!

I will update again soon.  In the meantime, we are trying to enjoy the fall season....such as it is here in Florida.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Our New Normal

Last Monday morning, I woke up and felt relatively normal.  It's strange, really, how that happens.  I jumped out of bed even though I felt a little sluggish (which is normal for me on a Monday).  There was nothing out of the ordinary.  My feet hit the floor.  I took about 3 steps...and then, I remembered.  I remembered the nightmare we are living and the heaviness returned.  In a split second, it all came flooding back.

They had said they would most likely discharge her on Sunday.  We never got the call.  I had talked to the nurse at about 1:00pm.  She said the doctor was doing rounds then and as soon as he'd seen her, someone would call us.  By 7:00pm on Sunday, I was frantic!  Perhaps I shouldn't have waited 6 hours...but...they were holding my daughter against my wishes....they held all the cards.  I didn't want to sound crazy or unreasonable.  I was trying my hardest not to FREAK OUT, but it was all I could do to keep it together.

Being at work was hard.  I have to work, but focusing on my job was almost impossible.  Unfortunately, we need both of our incomes in order to survive.  I'm the one that carries the benefits and so, I had to be there.  I have never experienced the clock moving as slow as it did that day.  Torture.

They called at about noon time, telling me she was being discharged and we could pick her up!  I called Dan...he met me at home and we went together.  She was happy to see us.  We signed some papers, they gave us her clothing in a brown paper bag and handed us her shoes.  She hadn't worn shoes (other than those prison shoes) in 4 days!  She said she was hungry.  We went to get something to eat.  On the way home, she told me a horrific story.  One of the girls that was in her "unit" was there for attempting suicide.  Apparently, she gave Amelia instructions on how to properly slit her wrists if she ever wanted to end it all.  The young girl told her to "make sure you hit the main artery, that way you'll die quickly".  My poor baby.  I am crushed that she had to hear that.  I am angry that between the school and the dimwits at the Child Guidance Center, they exposed my daughter to this....NEEDLESSLY!  I have no idea how this experience will effect her now....or in the future.  This is a trauma that  may not show itself for many years.  Only time will tell.  All I can do is pray for God's protection over her heart, her mind and her soul.

She is adjusting to being home.  She was glad to see Nathan and Olivia.  Even the dog was excited to see her!  To be honest, I'm not sure I'll ever let her out of my sight again....other than with close family and friends...who we trust.

We had hoped to get her into the partial hospitalization program here near our home.  We went in to talk to them on Tuesday.  However, she didn't really qualify.  For one thing, the ages range from 13 to 17...and she's only 12.  The other reason is because right now, the group of girls they have there range in age from 15 to 17 and are all there because of a suicide attempt.  Because the biggest part of the program is group therapy, the nurses did not think it would be good for Amelia to be in group therapy sessions with those girls...listening to them talk about trying to end their lives.  Although I definitely don't want her exposed to that (any more than she already was from being in the hospital), Dan and I were heartbroken.  This program was going to last anywhere from one to two weeks and was going to give us some time to figure out what to do next.

Panic again.

For now, I've enrolled her in the Florida Unschoolers association.  While this isn't the ideal situation, at least she's enrolled somewhere and the county won't be at our front door.  Until we can figure out what to do, she will either be with me at work....or with a family member/good friend during the day.  She sees her new therapist this coming Friday. In the meantime, I'll be doing some 6th grade lessons with her to keep her mind working.  I don't want her to be too stressed out when we do find her a place, so if I can keep her engaged in doing some school work, perhaps she will transition better.

All I can do is take it one day at a time.  Please continue to pray for us because we are in territory that we are unfamiliar with...and frankly, we're scared to death.   As I reflect on these last 10 days or so, I think maybe this has been traumatic for all of us and as a family, we have a lot we have to work through.  The only thing I know for sure is that I will not throw her to the wolves againI won't do it!  If I have to quite my job, file bankruptcy and stay in a one room hotel....I will, if it will keep her safe, if it will allow her to breathe, if it will allow her to feel normal and happy and not like she's some freak of nature.  This is how every school she has ever attended has treated her.  I will not let that happen again.  Mark my words.

We talk with the attorney on Thursday to decide how to move forward. 

Moving forward.  I have to keep repeating this in my mind.  Maybe if I say it enough, it will be easier to do.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Quick Update

Just want to take a moment to update everyone on Amelia and where we are at this point.  I have been chastised by several people telling me that I shouldn't talk about this on FB.  I'm not exactly sure what the difference is...whether I post here or on FB....but for now, I'm just going to update here.

We were able to see her yesterday.  We had an appointment at 10am for a family therapy session.  She walked in wearing the clothes I had brought to her on Friday, but she was wearing "prison shoes".  You know...the kind you've seen criminals wearing in news stories.  I guess it's just protocol, but it's disturbing none the less.  She was quiet but seemed OK.  We talked through some things and I finally have a better picture of what happened.  We have contacted an attorney and because of that, I'm not going to talk about the details at this time.  Just know that since talking to Amelia, I am even more concerned about the way things were handled.

In the end, doors have opened to us that would not have been before this crisis situation.  I'm hoping that when we come to end of this part of the journey, we will be in a better place.

As I write this, we are waiting to hear if she will be released today.  When we met with the therapist yesterday, she thought today would be the day.  I called earlier and they said the doctor was doing rounds now and we would be notified soon.  We have a plan for the immediate future and this is a good thing.

We celebrated Nathan's 16th birthday yesterday without her.  It was awful.  I tried to make things as nice and happy as I could for Nathan, but let's face's not the same.  Nathan was a trooper and understood.  He told me, "Mom, Amelia is more important right now...and I understand."  I love that kid!

Fr. Fred's homily today was interesting.  It was as if he was talking directly to our family!  It was a God moment.

For now, we are just waiting.  I'll update again soon.  Thank you all so much for your texts, emails and phone calls.  They mean the world to us.  

Friday, September 9, 2016


God must have been preparing me for what was to come.  He drew me to that scripture study on purpose. 

Yesterday, the school Baker Acted my daughter.  For those of you not in Florida, this means she was involuntarily committed to a mental health facility.  They didn't tell me until after they had done it.  From what I can gather, she was not upset or violent in any way, but this stemmed from something she wrote in a journal that she shared with her ESE teacher.

They handcuffed her.  She is twelve.

After several hours, I was able to see her.  She is scared but being very brave.  She is very worried that Dan and I are angry with her.  When I left her, she was wearing paper clothes, socks they gave her and no shoes.  They placed her own clothes in a paper grocery bag, stapled it shut and put her name on it with sharpie.  Just another statistic.  They wouldn't let me bring her anything last toothbrush, no clothes, not even her "Snuggles" (the bunny rabbit she has slept with since she was born).  They say they can keep her up to 72 hours.  She is with about 10-12 other children her age.  I have no idea what these other children have done, what they are saying to my daughter or how they are treating her.  We won't know anything until a doctor sees her sometime today.  She will be assessed and then they'll call us.  I'm not even sure I can see her today.

As a mother, I am broken.  Truly broken.  I can't stop crying.  Nathan and Olivia are devastated.  My 15 year old son ( He'll be 16 tomorrow) sobbed in my arms last night.  He asked me if he could keep her "Snuggles" with him last night.  My sweet 16 year old boy...connecting with his sister.  We are truly going through the fire of refinement right now.  God is working.  He is moving.  He is doing something.  I don't mind admitting that I'm not at all sure about this.  I have absolutely no idea what to do next.

My God, how did we get here?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Darkness Into Light

"But I will make the blind walk along the road and lead them along paths.  I will turn darkness into light before them and rocky places into level tracks.  These things I will do, and not leave them undone."  -Isaiah 42:16

Isn't it just like God to not leave things undone?

I had a discussion with someone once who told me that darkness doesn't really exist in and of itself.  His exact words were, "darkness isn't a real thing".  He said that Light is a real thing and that darkness is just the absence of Light.   I thought that was an interesting way to look at it.  In this way, the emphasis isn't on the darkness, but on the Light. 

I think this is profound and what I will ponder today.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Right Where I'm Supposed To Be!

On occasion, quite by accident, I find myself exactly where I'm supposed to be!  For instance, tonight I attended the first of a 22 week study of the Gospel of John at my parish called, "Touching The Divine".  This is the third year that our parish has offered a study from the Walking With Purpose series of scripture studies.  I have avoided the last two years for no particular reason...just couldn't be bothered, I guess.  There is always something else more important or more pressing.  I don't know why I decided to jump in this year.  But I did.  And the very moment I walked in the door, I knew I was supposed to be there.

Lately, I have been ready to burst with emotion.  I have so much heaviness on my heart that it sometimes feels like I can't breathe.  At this particular time and place, my vocation as wife and mother seems especially least that's how it  feels.  Admittedly, I'm a failure at both.  My middle child is struggling and I don't know how to help her.  I'm watching our family implode as we deal with the day to day effects of a problem that has not even really been named.  I don't know what to do next.  I live minute to minute anticipating the next fire that needs to be put out.  It's exhausting.  The situations used to be simple to handle, but they are becoming more and more complicated.  They have taken on a very serious tone and I'm scared.  The only thing I know to do is to pray.  Honestly though, I feel abandoned.  Like He isn't even hearing me.  I am desperate.   I have begged and pleaded.  Nothing.  Just more worry and fear.

The Gospel of John has always been a favorite of mine.  I was once told that it is the "Gospel of Love'.  Perhaps that is why I've been drawn to it.  In any case, after walking into Kohl's Hall, I instantly knew God has heard me.  In my desperation, God has brought me to John.

                   "I am God's beloved daughter.  I belong to the Lord.  Nothing will take away God's love
                    for me.  There is nothing I can do that is beyond the scope of His mercy."

What a relief!

Perhaps I am not really a failure...not as a wife or a mother.  Perhaps He is in control no matter what my circumstances look matter how hopeless my situation seems.  Perhaps this scripture study...with all 60-70 other women in where I am supposed to be.  There is something for me here...a branch....a lifeline....hope.

Please pray for my daughter, Amelia.  Pray for me, as a mother, that God will give me the wisdom to know what to do, how to help her.  Pray for a hedge of protection around my family....around my marriage.  Pray for a peace that surpasses all understanding.  Peace.  Yes.  I will pray that for you too.

Monday, September 5, 2016

Out of the Darkness

I've been contemplating resurrecting this blog for awhile.  It's been 2 years since I've written here!  If truth be told, I have been writing, just not in a public space. The thing about writing, for me, is that I go through periods (or "spurts", if you will) where I feel like I have a lot to say, and then times when I feel like I could stare at a blank page forever.  I guess you could say that right now, I have a lot that has been bottled up and I think it's time to share.  Not because I want everyone to know all the bad things or all the struggles in my life, but because, I feel like there is safety in numbers.  Sometimes, when you make yourself vulnerable, you realize that you aren't alone and that there are others out there searching (just like me) for someone to say, "Hey, I see you.  I hear you and I know how you feel because I've been there.  You aren't walking this journey alone".

I can't promise that I'm going to write everyday, but who knows, maybe I will.  I'm going to let my soul dictate when it's time to say something.  I can promise you that I will be mindful of what I write here.  It will be who I am.  I can't pretend to have a handle on all the silly things that roam through my mind throughout the day, but I'm hoping this can be the place I can make some sense of it all.

Please join me.  Come and listen.  Share with me your thoughts and ideas.  Laugh with me, cry with me, be honest with me.

I'm looking forward to it!