Wednesday, November 15, 2006

inching closer to resolution

tomorrow we leave for arizona. paulette is, miraculously, being admitted to anasazi. she had nearly worn out her welcome at the group home -- we were called monday night telling us that they were about to kick her out for bad and disrespectful behaviour. her therapist was convinced that she was picking up some really bad behaviour from the other residents. in reality it is the same stuff that happens here: disrespect, defiance, entitlement, anger, etc. we are very excited about this opportunity for her. we were really at our wits end wondering what we could do with her. our home was far too unstructured. police officers, therapists, psychologist, psychiatrists, all indicate that what paulette needs is intensive, theraputic, around-the-clock intervention. there is no family enviroment that can provide the amount of structure and type of intervention needed to save her from her poor judgement.

paulette will be at anasazi for eight weeks. she takes absolutely nothing with her. they outfit her with basics. she will make her own backpack. live off the land. make fire without matches. have therapy regularly. and be out of DC and in nature. we are hopeful that this will allow her to deal with her baggage and start the process of recovery.

she is excited to go. i think she really does want help. she wants to be better. she wants to be happy. she really just can't figure out how to do it right now. and she is inundated with so many horrible influences that it is really difficult.

from the anasazi website :
The Young Walkers learn by themselves to trust, to grow and to challenge old thoughts and behavior. This is done in the most supportive, safe and unrelenting environment -- nature. Nature demands the best -- it cannot be manipulated, it continues in its scheduled course regardless of the behaviors of the youth. Nature simply requires compliance and wise decisions. The adolescent has no one to blame or challenge but her self.
we feel like this is exactly what the doctor ordered.

she will write us one letter once a week and we reciprocate. she will have no other outside communication. we will post the letters on this blog. (we may edit out some information.) you are welcome to respond to her in the comments part of this blog. we plan to have her read all of the comments once she returns.

this saturday, lindsay and i will enjoy a 12 hour seminar on the philosophy of the program. much of the philosophy is captured in terry warner's bonds that make us free. lindsay and i have both read the book and found it really helpful. we recommend it! frankly, i think this seminar comes at a good time for us. we are both spent and in need of some perspective.

while she is at anasazi, lindsay and i will try to pick up the pieces of neglected work and a dissolved social life and get our bodies back in shape. we will also continue the search for paulette's family. hopefully the healing she will experience at anasazi will make her less intimidating to families and make us more comfortable allowing her to be added to a family.

this is not without its fall backs. one, it is really expensive. our Church has offered to pay for it out of the fast offering. in the mormon church, members are encouraged to fast whenever their faith needs special fortification and to fast regularly once each month on the first sunday of the month usually. when we fast we go without eating or drinking for two consecutive meals, pray more, and contribute a fast offering to help the poor. the offering is at least equal to the value of the food that would have been eaten. anasazi is a LOT of lunch time hotdogs. (think $20k)

if you are inclined to help paulette out financially, this might be a good time to do it. you can make a donation to our congregation and include a note that it is for paulette and it will go towards this treatment program. if you are so inclined, please feel free to email us at and we will give you the mailing address and instructions. the good news is this will be tax deductible.

our plan for now is, in january, when she is done, lindsay and i will go back to arizona and spend 3 days with paulette "on the trail". if we all survive, we will spend a few more days in arizona. paulette will hang out with jennifer and we will do something for lindsay's 30th b-day. then paulette will return to our house. she will live with us for a few months while we observe her behaviour to ensure that sustainable change has occurred. hopefully by this time a family will present itself. if not, we will probably turn her over to the district foster care system. we have learned more about the system and learned that there are some really good placements for kids with issues like paulette's.

we are excited and a bit nervous. so much hinges on the next few weeks. it is all in paulette's control. the outcome of all of this will be based on paulette's decision making. it is a bit scary, i really hope this works!

1 comment:

Megan said...

I found your blog one day through the blog of a friend of a friend. I read the entire story at once and have been following it ever since. I have so much respect for what you are doing. So often I think, "Someone should do something about this situation or that problem," but I don't think that someone is me. You're an example to me of living as Christ would and a reminder to root out complacency in my own life.

Coincidentally, I worked as a Trail Walker at Anasazi a few summers ago, and I am so excited for Paulette and the experience she has before her. Trail life is not a walk in the park, not in the least because there is rarely an actual "trail." You consider yourself lucky if you find a dry creek bed to follow. But living in nature is amazing. Everybody has a unique experience at Anasazi, and I think that's what makes it so powerful. In the desert you can see your choices--and their consequences--more clearly. You see the way forward.

So best of luck to you, Paulette. Walk forward and eat lots of wet dog.