Wednesday, December 27, 2006


With the holidays going on I have not been able to stick to my routine, so I'm behind on posting to the blog. We talked with Katie on Saturday the 23rd, and her brothers actually had a chance to say hi as well. That it pretty much all that was in the call, just a chance for everyone to say Merry Christmas.

Yesterday I had what is our last call with our current therapist. While Katie is out of orange, she has not done anything to work on her program. He is moving her next week, as most of the staff is on holiday as well as us 'ordinary' people. After talking with him, we are moving her to a female therapist, to get a different perspective on things. She will call us next week to work out our calls, so I don't know when they will be now.

My frustration level is running high as ever. I got a letter saying how she was going to work at being accountable, and 'honestly' answering some of my questions about what she wanted in her life, as well as another confession letter describing how she had gotten into some personal items of Diane's and mine.

So in one way I guess we are staring over. All we can do is hope this makes a difference.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Come Clean in Orange

Well, we just got off the phone with our family rep, for what is probably the last time.

Katie is back in orange. She got a Cat 4, then several more, and did a "Come Clean", where she basically gets caught up on all the cats she should have written herself up on. So she still has some 85 tape credits yet to go since this weekend.

And that also means that we are going to have to pull the plug on the group change. Just to avoid the confusion, and since I didn't want to give out names in this blog, our old rep was K, and our therapist was G. Now it looks like our new rep is O, and new therapist is P. She is going to group K, but not until the 26th. G said he is keeping his agreement, she has two weeks to do the work to have 60% support. He had her in group N, then group B.

One of my focus sisters has a daughter in group K, and has really liked him. K said that P is a bit more 'in your face', and his group is also a bit younger, so maybe Katie will fit in a bit better there, as her maturity is definitely an issue.

We still have our call scheduled for Saturday, and then next Tuesday as well. But neither of them look to be real happy ones.

Diane and I are very frustrated at this point, and don't know what else to look at doing. At times I wonder if I'm just throwing all this money away. But then I also think that I can't have her come home like this either.

I asked some real tough questions on the last letter, and K said she was answering them 'honestly' according to the note Katie gave her. We'll really have to see about that.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Last Chance

We had our therapy call last night, but Katie wasn't on it. While she wasn't in orange, she probably should have been. Her therapist is frustrated with her, and has given her an ultimatum - either she starts working the program or he is transferring her. This means that in two weeks (12/26) she has to have 60% support on her goals (meaning that she has to have 60% of the requirements met as judged by the other girls in the group) or she is going to be moved.

Her first response was to just move her now. For the fourteen months she has been there, she has yet to be accountable for anything. Whenever anyone calls her on anything, she wants to argue, rather than admitting it and being accountable for it.

I'm just worried about changing people, as both the family rep and therapist would change. The one she woudl be going to has also worked with one of the daughters from one of my focus sisters, and she is very happy with him, though her daughter is working the program. So now it is a bit of waiting, because I don't feel that she will do the work.

We do get a Christmas call on the 23rd with her, and then the 26th to see what is going to happen. And her grandparents will be here for then, so they are going to say hi as well.

I don't really know what she needs to wake her up.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Still hanging in there

Katie is doing pretty much the same. Talking with the family rep last night; well that was the news. Her wisdom teeth seem to be coming in and bothering her, so I need to call about getting a dentist set up for her who is on our insurance.

At least she is still out of Orange, which is always a good thing. She still doesn't seem to fully acknowledge reality however, thinking that she had 50% support on her level 2 goals, when it was more like 31%, as well as believing she had more points earned than she has.

I've been better so far at trying to write her more - the key for me was to actually make an appointment once a week to write her no matter what, and so far I've managed to do this three weeks in a row. Just having that reminder is enough to get me off my butt - I wish I had that for her. And even if I don't really have anything new to say, at least it is some communication, and maybe it will help.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Small steps

We had our bi-weekly call last night with the therapist, and Katie was still out of Orange, so she was on it as well.

The good news is he is feeling much better. Turns out he was battling Pneumonia last week, and was mis-diagnosed for a while. But he is on steroids and antibiotics now and feeling much better than he sounds. He has that Barry White 'sexy voice' thing going for him right now, deep, gravely and breathy. But I'm glad he is getting better.

Katie - well she is doing slightly better. For support she is at 33% this week, which is significantly better, but still not very good. She tried a couple of things that we talked about. One was that the therapist gave her back her journals, and she 'assumed' that meant she could have everything back. That was quickly corrected.

Also, she 'came to the realization' that she has to do things for herself, not for other people. So she decided to change her goals for herself. We again quickly corrected her, that her stated intention was good, but the goals she has are not for others, but for herself, and they aren't going to change. She has the same requirements to make level 2 that every other person there has.

It felt like most of the call was us talking - to the point of lecturing. That wasn't very effective. She is doing a tiny bit better, but right now I'm not doing anything but waiting. She has shown progress for short times before, the real key point is to start showing it consistently. So for now we just wait, and work our own program. If things go like they have in the past, then most likely she will be in Orange before our next call with her in two weeks. I can hope that she finally decides to break this pattern - at this point though I can't really tell if she will or not.

And so we wait. . .

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Better week

This was our week to talk with the family rep. It was a good call, but then they always are with her. Katie is still out of Orange, and earning positive points. That is a good thing. Will it last? Is she going to start working? Is this time going to be any different than the last half dozen (or more) times she has gotten out of Orange, only to go back in a few weeks later.

Do I sound cynical? I am feeling extremely frustrated right now.

The rep always asks the girls if they have any messages when she is scheduled to talk to their parents. Katie mentioned that I had said I was going to write more, and hadn't. So at least she has learned something about accountability. I just feel a bit indignant that she would call me on a broken agreement (if it even was an agreement, I said

I do intend to write more, but while I’m at a +5 to see you through this program and have you graduate, I’m not there on writing letters.

So I'm not so sure I broke an agreement) when she is at such a state. That is my self-limiting belief, but it is still a huge case of calling the kettle black.

I did write her today. I would like to write more. It is very difficult at this point though. The idea keeps going through my head lately that I'm going to end up with 30 years of fairly oppressive student loans - all for nothing. This school is going to cost about $150,000 to get her to age 18. More than I make in a year. The loan payments are already approaching the mortgage payment for the house, and I still need to get loans for $66,000 more, as we only have enough to get her through March. And what if she wants to stay on after 18 even.

We have her Christmas list, as well as the 'allowable' list from the school. We need to get this together and shipped off. Not that I'm all that enthusiastic about that either. I don't know if that makes me a horrible father or what - to feel such resentment for my daughter.

I thought some of this would eventually get easier.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Back from Keys

We don't talk to the family rep until tomorrow, so we have no news about Katie.

Diane and I, however, had a fantastic weekend at our 4th Keys seminar "Living a Purposeful Life." I think that, of all we have attended, this was the best of the keys weekends. "Being in Relationship" was great, but not quite as good as this one.

It is interesting to me, how this seemed so much more a continuation of the process we started in Discovery and Focus, as did the relationship keys to a lesser extent. The addiction and Effective Communication keys, in contrast, were much more stand-alone, standard seminars. They didn't seem to build or continue on the others, and didn't seem to connect with them.

Is that because of the facilitators? Carol did this one, Lou did relationships. Carol did our Discovery (as well as the one I staffed), Lou does Focus. David did the two that didn't seem to connect. We were at first excited to hear he would be doing them, but now I'm much less enthused about him.

In May we should become keyholders, and it should be with Carol again at Styles of Communication. I don't know if the content will be as powerful (I've heard it is similar to Effective Communications, and more of a stand alone, with a lot of information, but less experiences) but I am looking forward to graduating with Carol.

This weekend was also special, because so many of the people we started with graduated. This was the largest keys graduation so far, with 40 people graduating. It was hard, because I wasn't able to personally participate with everyone's experience that I wanted to (they did 5 groups of 8, and that meant that several whom I wanted to be with were at the same time). Yes, this sounds confusing, but I can't discuss more without revealing too much - and one of the ground rules is confidentiality. And it isn't because this is a cult or secretive or anything - but simply because the key to a lot of the power of the seminars is experiencing it - you learn and grow by experiencing the process - and knowing what is going to happen ahead of time only serves to spoil the process. It isn't about what the answers are, but in how you find and discover the answers yourself.

So back to graduation. Four of the members of my focus family graduated, two of them being the firsts - one was the youngest ever to graduate (at 19), because before her they limited you to being 21 to attend. She was our focus leader, and is an inspiration to me. The other is a family rep at one of the schools, though not the one Katie is at. The schools send all the reps to Discovery, and some to Focus, but keys is all on their own. She almost didn't continue on this journey with us, but with our support early on continued on with the seminars, and is the first family rep at any school to be a keyholder.

I was saddended that I wasn't graduating with them. I still question how you are supposed to be +5 at everything, when they can conflict with each others. My committment to the Band Boosters at +5 conflicted with my +5 committment to the seminars, so I missed Styles of Communication in July - and we will have to make it up in May. Had we known we were going to miss it ahead of time, we could have gone somewhere else - but it has not been anywhere else except the bay area (again in July) since then. I wouldn't mind not graduating, but it will be tough going in May realizing that all of my family won't be there. Even my keys family will be different - as only one couple will be left (and they should graduate with us). So I'm saddened that I won't be with people I know to graduate. And I'm also saddened to think that I may not see some of these people again.

That is one drawback to these seminars - they provide wonderful support, but once you graduate then it is over. It would be kind of neat if they could have some type of ongoing seminar, once a quarter or something, to continue learning and supporting each other, that you could continue to attend as long as you had a kid in the program.

The one thing I really don't like about the seminars is the drive home - got in at 12:30 last night, and couldn't unwind to sleep until 2 am. So I'm a bit wiped out today.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

100th Post!

Somewhat by surprise, I realized that we had 99 posts in our journey so far, so I thought I would go ahead and add a special one for the magic 100!

So, after 100 posts, where are we on our journey? I guess it is a good time to review things.

  • Sept 23, 2005 - Katie was picked up by the escort service, and enrolled in the school

  • Dec 12, 2005 - Diane and I attended Discovery

  • Jan 15, 2006 - Diane and I attended Focus (I am an Intelligent, Worthy and Powerful Man! Diane is a Strong, Worth, Lovable Woman!)

  • February 2006 - Katie graduates Orientation on her second try.

  • March 7, 2006 - Diane and I attended Keys to Success: Being in Relationship

  • April 14, 2006 - Katie is put in Discovery to try and get her moving, and graduates.

  • April 28, 2006 - Diane and I saw Katie for the first time in six months at PC1.

  • May 7, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Addiction Awareness

  • August 4, 2006 - Mike Staffs Discovery, our oldest son attends

  • October 1, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Effective Communication

  • October 19, 2006 - Diane and I have a pass with Katie to see if she is making progress

  • November 18, 2006 - Diane and I attend Keys to Success: Living a Purposeful Life

  • When I look at these milestones - it is pretty amazing how far Diane and I have come in the past year. We have met some truly wonderful people, that have touched our lives in ways we never expected. At some point we have to be greatful to Katie, for we would not have grown the way we have were it not for her.

    She has progressed some as well, though she is not working the program, even after 14 months. There are positive changes in her, but still a lot of old habits and old patterns that she keeps falling back into.

    Life is but a journey, not a destination. And so we continue on ours, living, loving, growing and sharing as we go. When I started this I didn't know where it would go, if anywhere. I have heard that it has touched one or two people, and I'm happy for that. I don't truly know if any of this is ever read, but my hope is that maybe it will help someone else, let them know that they aren't alone, that they don't need to be alone. That was one of the hardest parts about starting this process, feeling that we were completely by ourselves.

    For anyone reading this - please feel free to leave feedback - either publicly in the comments, or privately emailing me or Diane. Thanks for reading.

    Tuesday, November 14, 2006

    Still sliding



    I don't know what to say. Katie has gotten out of Orange at least. So we talked to her last night on the therapy call. It wasn't a good call however.

    On Mondays, her therapist goes over with the group what they feel she has done to make level two - and is able to make this a qualified judgement of how much of the requirements she has met. A few weeks ago she had met 18% of them, this week - 6%. Not even trying. And when asked what the requirements were - now remember these are the goals she is supposed to be working on every day - she didn't remember what they were! At all! And one of the girls in her room said she thought Katie threw them away.

    I'm very frustrated. I eventually flat out asked if she just planned on sitting there for the next year and a half until she turned 18 and took her exit plan. At times she will tell her therapist that she wants to come home, but she doesn't act at all like it. If she wanted to come home she would be trying to work the program - and she isn't even trying.

    She asked to be moved to a different group again - that was shut down immediately. She isn't running from her issues. She said that she didn't want to be in the group, but just to work on her goals by herself. Well most of her goals are about interacting with others.

    She wants to be home for her senior year. She still has to complete Algebra before being at a full sophomore level - so she is behind there.

    I asked her if she realizes that Thanksgiving is only a couple of weeks away - and that she won't be here at home with the family AGAIN. And Christmas is in six weeks - and she won't be here for that either. And did she want to have a third Christmas at the school as well.

    We did get a letter yesterday as well - that talks some of what was going on as well. And has her Christmas list in it. I don't even know what I want to do about that. Maybe just send a huge lump of coal.

    I received the latest statement from the school - for the first time we actually owe money on the statement. The latest loan is being disbursed in installments, and will cover it by the due date. I then did some rough calculations, to make sure the disbursements would cover things, and they do. Then I extended this out - and we will need another $66,000 to make it to her 18th birthday. This on top of the $86,000 we have already taken loans for.


    The loan payments are already close to the mortgage for the house, the next one, assuming we can get it, and that is not a small assumption, will put it WAY over - and I'm not sure we will be able to make it. Yes, we will find a way - I just don't know how yet.

    Am I a horrible father because this concerns me? Am I not supposed to be concerned about student loans for $150,000 and not having her making any progress? I'll be paying for this for the next 30 years. By the time this is paid off, she will be older than I am now.

    Oh yeah, she still wants to be a vet. Admirable goal - never going to happen if she doesn't change. Vet school is what - 6 years on top of a bachelor degree - 10 years of school. We won't be able to help that at all - the best I can do for my oldest son right now is to co-sign his loan, and that may not be possible soon due to the sheer amount we may owe.

    We are heading to our next Keys seminar this weekend. It should be our last, but we had to miss one in July because of the marching band. So we won't be graduating with the people we started with. I look forward to seeing a lot of them on Friday night - I really miss my focus family - there are three focus sisters and our group leader that I feel really close to, and one especially. I'm saddened to think that I don't know when I'll ever see them again after this weekend. Right now it feels like it will be especially hard graduating in May (when the seminar we missed comes around again) because they won't be there - and even if they are they would be staffing, and there isn't time to catch up between staffers and participants.

    We never say things enough - but especially to my focus sisters L, T and K - I love you guys. And to A - you made my focus so special, I still tear up thinking about it - and still have my stick in my wallet. I hope I can support each of you this weekend.

    Wednesday, November 08, 2006

    Still 'in her crap'

    I (Diane had to work until 6, so she didn't get in on the call) talked with our family rep again yesterday. Academically Katie is doing ok, finished off most of here courses she was on except for Algebra. But she is still in Orange.

    Katie has recieved a lot of feedback from the group lately, most of which seems to come pretty close to home. But she isn't taking it to heart like she needs to.

    Apparently she had been talking to a high level girl about things, and got to the point where the girl basically asked for a break for a while, as dealing with Katie was just exhausting for her.

    So the frustration meter moves up a notch. And it doesn't help to hear our keys family talk about going to PC II, or their kids coming home. Everytime someone mentions that, or talks about how we want things to look when she gets home, I wonder if she ever will graduate. I'm not worried about her coming home at this point - I'm worried where the next loan is coming from!

    I need to write to her (I haven't since we got back), but at this point I really don't know what to say. Thanksgiving is coming up quick - two weeks from tomorrow, and it will be the second with her there. But looks like we'll have a dozen (thirteen counting the baby (our goddaughter)) over at the house, so that won't be so bad. Then Christmas.

    I'm not feeling so bad about Christmas this year as I was last. Last year it just sucked - big time. I didn't put up lights or anything. I had to sell the Trans-Siberian Orchestra tickets that were my birthday present because it was the same weekend as Discovery. Discovery was great, but Christmas wasn't quite the same (I took the 3 boys to seem them this last weekend - Ohio is at the beginning of the tour this year).

    Plus mom and dad are coming in for Christmas this year - the first time we'll have Christmas together in 18 years. (The last time was when my oldest son was a year old, just before we moved to Ohio). They come in late on Christmas Eve, and are here until New Year's Eve. Also last year I paid for the boys to see their mother, so not only was I missing them, but I had to pay for it as well (of course she didn't pay back any of it).

    Maybe just share some of that - make her miss home a bit. I just don't know.

    Tuesday, October 31, 2006

    And still there

    *sigh* Second week in Orange.

    Found out more details when we had our call with the therapist last night - of course Katie wasn't on the call as she is in Orange still.

    They did a room check, and she had some things in her room she shouldn't have. I guess it was a golf pencil they used somewhere, and she shouldn't have had it. Then she was putting all her pencils in something - I don't remember what it was, but something she shouldn't have.

    On one hand these seem to be some pretty stupid and extreme rules. On the other though, that is exactly the point. Don't we all have to live with some stupid and arbitrary rules. And the main thing is to learn to follow rules, period. And be accountable for all your choices, including when you choose not to follow the rules.

    They did review her support - and she is at 18% of what she needs to do to get to level 2. That was another eye openener for her, we hope.

    I just get frustrated, because she is so good at the 'program talk' but doesn't seem to do it. Bu as soon as I say that, I think back to the psychologist report, where it said that her communications skills were far above average, while the rest of her development was at or slightly below normal. So when you talk to her, she comes off much smarter and more capable than she may be in reality.

    Hmmmm - maybe I need to go back, re-read the report (and finish the part I haven't read), and see if I can then step left and find a different way to work with her.

    Wednesday, October 25, 2006

    Once more in Orange

    We talked with the family rep yesterday, and Katie is once more in Orange, but it isn't such a big deal this time. While not quite to the point where she is catching and being accountable for herself, she has made steps toward this. It was over a minor incident, but she did not fight it nor try to argue her way out of it. That is a huge improvement.

    It was also nice that our family rep now seems to be using email - we got a brief note from Katie through her, which I responded to. I know that other schools have email for their students. Not full access or anything - they get it like twice a week, but it is so much faster than the stupid snail mail, and so much easier to just send something off quickly. But each school is different.

    Anyway, I don't feel so frustrated this time, and believe she is learning. I doubt it will be her last time in Orange, but she sounds much closer to working things, and making some real progress, and that is what we all want.

    Saturday, October 21, 2006

    And we're back

    It was a very good, and hopefully productive visit.

    The logistics sucked. Our flights out were delayed, as well as bad traffic leaving Vegas, so we didn't get to our hotel until 4:15 AM. Then we had a red-eye back home, with a three hour layover in Atlanta, so we are wiped out (well I am - Diane is upstairs asleep).

    Katie was completely surprised by the visit. We talked to her on Thursday morning, more social than anything else to get started. Then that afternoon we had a session with her therapist, then went to her group session. He wanted to do it a bit differently though. Usually the girls run it themselves, but this time he did.

    Katie had taken level 2 on Monday, without support. She is allowed to do that, but he wanted to give her a bit of a reality check. She thought she met all but one of the requirements. He went around the group, and had each girl list the requirements, if they supported her on it, and if not, why not. Pretty rude awakening for her - as there there 3 of the 11 requirements that she had no support at all - none of the 16 girls. A couple she had full support of, a few that were a bit mixed, and the rest were generally not supported. Then we left immediately after group, but not before giving the girls a lot of hugs - most of them wanted 'mom' hugs from Diane - basically having her stand in as a surrogate for their own mothers.

    On Friday morning they were running late. But we got a pleasant surprise - a couple we had been going to seminars with drove up - there were there to see their son - for pretty much the same reasons as why we were there - except their son was turning 18 soon - so things were a bit more on edge as he had a possible exit plan looming. It was kind of amazing how I could run into my focus brother there - it is such a small world and there are no accidents.

    We had a good session in the morning with Katie, going over respect and not just showing it, but truly internalizing it and feeling it. We also practiced listening skills with her. In the afternoon we talked about integrity and honesty - again having a good talk. Then it was done. Surprisingly, there weren't any tears when we left (though there were when we got there!).

    So now, once more, it is a waiting game. Waiting to see how much of this she internalizes and takes to heart - seeing if she changes or not.

    We did see improvement with her. She is maturing a bit, though she isn't where she should be (she still doesn't act 16). She did seem to listen a bit more than on some of the phone calls in the past, which is also good. We don't see any need to change her group at this time - but then again we don't know where she would go otherwise, as she is already a the facility they send the kids who aren't moving to, and with the therapist they put the girls who aren't working with.

    They liked their shirts - her therapist put it on over his dress shirt on Thursday, and wore it again on Friday.

    We talk to the Family Rep on Tuesday, and we'll see if there is any change or not.


    Wednesday, October 18, 2006

    Heading out tonight

    We fly out to Vegas tonight, then drive to Hurricane - about five minutes from the school, but a two hour drive.

    We are still a bit nervous about this, but have at least a bit of a plan. Assuming that most of the visit is just her and us, we want to work on a listening exercise with Katie - have her repeat back what we say before she can say anything. We should be able to do this. Plus work on using the Bradshaw with her - there are no accidents that this is the homework from keys for this week. I'm printing off some extra copies of it to take with us.

    We don't have internet access in our hotel room, so I won't be bringing the laptop for once - one less thing to worry about. So I'll have to wait to update until we get back.


    Sunday, October 15, 2006

    No Call this week

    I got a message from the therapist today - we aren't going to have a phone call tomorrow. No big deal, as we will bit seeing him and Katie on Thursday. It sounds like he wants to structure the visit a bit more, as he wanted me to email him as well.

    Both Diane and I received letters yesterday from Katie, talking about her last stint in Orange. God, I hate snail mail. Almost everything in the letters was what we had already gone over in the previous phone call. That is one reason why I don't write as often as I sometimes feel I should - everything I try to say gets crossed in the slow mail. And with about a three week total turn around time it is so difficult to have any kind of ongoing conversation in the mail.


    Wednesday, October 11, 2006

    Weekly Call

    I talked with the family rep last night. She understands our frustration that Katie is not working. The interesting thing is that on the 'come clean' a couple of weeks ago she didn't quite beat her old demerit record - only scoring 730 instead of beating her high of 800!

    We talked about my apprehensions on the upcoming visit. It looks like most of the time will be just Diane, Katie and me by ourselves, to work on some of the issues. One of the main things I want to work on is getting her to actually listen. Nearly all the time, when we are on the therapy calls, she will go off on something, then Diane or I will say something, and then she will continue on as if we hadn't said anything at all. There is a simple exercise where you need to repeat what was said each time before you can add anything that I feel we need to do, repeatedly if necessary.

    It may also be very relevant that we are doing Effective Communications right now. There are no accidents.


    Tuesday, October 10, 2006

    Working again - maybe

    We had a special therapy call last night, and Katie was out of Orange so on the call. She says she is going to work with one of her roommates on a lot of her issues - especially having her point out when she is not working. I confronted her with this, wondering how this was different than what she had said every other time she got out of orange.

    I have a call with the family rep tonight, so I'll see what she says. Diane won't be able to be on that call unfortunately.

    We also had our first keys family call for this round, and after everyone updated on how things were going, we talked about the situation.


    Monday, October 09, 2006

    Support Group

    We have a very active parent support group in our area. It is a nice opportunity once a month to get together with people from the same area, who are or have been going through the same thing.

    This month we volunteered to host it. Unfortunately, one of the parents down south son, who graduated the program a few years ago, was killed last week in an auto accident. Because of this going on, and probably helped by the fact that the weather yesterday was simply beautiful (and yet they say it could snow by the end of the week!) we only had three people show up for the meeting. It was still good to connect, and gave us a chance to get to know one couple a little bit better.

    We talk to Katie's therapist again tonight - I don't know if Katie will be on the call or not - that depends on if she is out of orange. And then we talk to our family rep tomorrow night. Right now I'm more than a little concerned about this upcoming visit. I don't want to reward non-working behavior on Katie's part. I also don't know what we would do with her in the school for several hours at a time. I'm concered about the visit not being structured. We are going to try and bring that up with the therapist tonight.

    We got him a cute tee shirt as well from What On Earth Catalog, as well as a sweatshirt for the family rep. You can see them here and here. Since the seminars deal with the 'Magical child' within each one of us, we thought those were quite appropriate for them.


    Thursday, October 05, 2006

    Making Arrangements

    Well, we have our flights to go to the school and visit Katie. We leave after work on Wednesday the 18th, and then have a red-eye back Friday night, giving us that Thursday and Friday to be in Utah. At least there are lots of flights in/out of Las Vegas (the nearest decent airport), though it a couple hour drive from there.

    I'm a bit apprehensive about this visit. We are looking to see what we need to do with Katie, whether it be to keep her as is, change groups (which would mean changing therapist and family rep), or if we need to change facility altogether. Changing facilities worries me, as there aren't any others that offer the therapy that this one does. However, being realistic, how much therapy is she getting if her behavior is so out of whack? Can they really work on issues at this point?

    We did get an interesting letter the other day; it was the first one EVER (in over a year now) where she had mentioned any of the other girls there. That in itself is a very good thing - it starts to show that she is finally being a little less self-centered - possibly opening up and realizing that there is more in the world.


    Wednesday, October 04, 2006

    New Blog

    Welcome to our new blog site. I've had some issues in the past with the free web space provided by our ISP, so I figured I'd move this to a more 'permanent' free site. And this allowed me to back date the old posts, so the archives are all consistent.

    Everything from the old site should be here, but I have it archived as well just in case.

    Now to just get this to default to the correct time zone (it defaults to pacific, and I'm in eastern).

    Back to Orange, yet again

    Well, we talked to the therapist on Monday, as normal. Katie is back in orange again. She had so many write-ups that he couldn't go over them all. It sounded like she just went nuts - things like "Disrespecting peers - 70 times".
    So, her therapists wants us to come out and review her progress in person. I'm apprehensive, to say the least, about this, as part of me feels that it is rewarding her for bad behavior. We may end up switching yet again to another therapist/group, and will review all the alternatives, including changing facilities. The problem is that there aren't any other facilities that offer the therapy the they do, the rest just do the behavior modification.
    I hate the thought of all this time and money (and at $4200 a month, the money is not insignificant) and not having her get any better. But worrying does no one any good, so we will take it a step at a time.
    In other news, we just completed our third Keys seminar - Effective Communication, and are the Mom and Pop (our family is named SODA - so yes, I'm the Soda Pop!) for our keys family, and we are hosting the local support group meeting this weekend as well. Along with the band boosters I don't seem to have time to turn around.

    8:39 am edt

    Wednesday, September 27, 2006

    Progress - maybe

    Well she is still out of orange, which is a good thing. What was real interesting was apparently this past week she has been working quite a bit. Even to the point where her family rep remarked how she was actually responding appropriately when in group sessions. The example she gave was when the therapist had asked them about things they were ashamed of, and then after a girl talked about it, he asked others for examples of this in their lives. She managed to be clear, answer just the question honestly, and not go into stories or try to make it all about her. This is a good thing.
    We have passed the 1 year mark now, and I'm personally frustrated. But we have a Keys seminar this weekend, and I hope to get a bit more energized there. I just hope it is a good one, and not a lot of lecture.


    Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    Once more out of orange - for now

    We had our therapy call last night, and Katie got to participate as she was out of Orange. It went ok, not great. We challenged her a lot on working the program, and not expecting that doing one thing right would erase all the mistakes she had made in the past.

    She has finally said that she doesn't like it there and wants to be home. We are hoping this will help to motivate her to work he program. Since she changed groups she has already managed to completely alienate the new one, killing any trust there.

    I have a call tonight with my Focus family, and that will be good to touch base with them again. I really miss some of them. We also have our next keys seminar in a week and a half - that will be great to see people again and get our own program moving once more.


    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Back to Orange again - and not happy about it

    We talked to our family rep again this week, and Katie went back to Orange on Saturday. Too many Cat 1's again, though the others were down. The one different aspect though is she isn't happy about it. She has finally gotten to the point where she doesn't want to be in Orange (there was a time months ago when she asked to be put back in Orange). And she is finally starting to complain about the place a bit, and say she wants to come home.
    Why is this good? Before she had never asked to come home, never said she wanted to. We felt she was getting too comfortable there, working the system. Now she isn't happy there anymore. And we are really hoping this will motivate her to begin working.
    I'm really worried about he ongoing costs. We have another 6 month loan, but don't feel real comfortable about if we can get another after that. They dropped it down from a full year becasue of the amount of outstanding debt. We hope that a part of that was because we have a debt consolidation 2nd mortgage that we just took out - but the stuff we paid off haven't been closed yet. So we hope that in 6 months things will look a lot better as we are getting rid of most of our credit cards (keeping a total of 3, Sears (because that is so hard to get, and supposedly looks good), and two smaller limits general ones (Diane's is a VISA, mine is a MasterCard), one for each of us just to have. The big (14K) VISA, BP, Best Buy, Home Depot, Victoria Secret are all getting closed, plus the van was paid off as well. So we traded a bunch of revolving debt for a single mortgage debt, which is also supposed to look a lot better.
    With Diane not being able to get clients lately, and the Real Estate market around here in the dumpster, I'm really concerened about how much she can help out with the monthly budget. It's ok for now, but in six months when we need to get another loan - well I don't know what will happen.


    Wednesday, September 06, 2006

    Doing better, for now

    Well talked with the therapist and Katie yesterday. She is still out of orange at least. We are hoping she can stay that way. She wants to go to Focus - but has a long way to go, if nothing else just to earn the points to get to level 3. The call went well, we got into the issues she was having with her new roommates, which mirrors the rest of her life. To me it all boils down to respect for other people. Not just lip service, or kissing butt, but truly respecting others and realizing that you are not the center of the universe. We talked about how she would fidget during group and during PC1 when others were speaking - and I challenged her on how often she spent the time when others were speaking thinking of what she was going to say, instead of listening to them. I also challenged her in the next few weeks, whenever she was in group, to NEVER talk about herself when giving feedback - no comparisons to her life, no stories. To truly listen, and talk about the other girls.
    We'll see how it goes.


    Wednesday, August 30, 2006

    talking again

    We had a decent call with Katie today. Not as rough as the last few, she spent most of it trying to tell us why she wasn't in orange - and interesting change. She had some issues with her new roommates that stemmed from the same base as always, but hopefully is getting past them and stays out of orange for once.

    The key right now is just seeing how she handles some of the events that are happening - does she break down and quit again, or is she going to start being accountable and make some progress. I don't have a crystal ball - only time will tell here.


    Tuesday, August 29, 2006

    6 more months

    Well, we got our loan app back today - for 6 more months only. We will have to reapply after that - and probably get a co-signer. The good thing is that the payments are less than I expected, the bad is it is only 6 months, and the odds of her getting out by March 23 2007 are pretty slim. However financially we are doing ok - took out a second mortgage to get rid of a bunch of older bills, so once we get the rest of those accounts closed out then things should look better as well - cut our monthly payments in less than half, which gives us the money for this second school loan. Of course, I've also co-signed my son's loan for his first year of college.
    It looks like Katie has managed to stay out of Orange so far - a graduate visited the school the other day and posted that on the BBS for us, so I expect that I'll be talking to her tonight. Maybe she is finally going to start moving - who knows. I don't try to predict anything any more.


    Friday, August 25, 2006

    Well she says she's going to work the program . . .

    I got a letter yesterday from Katie, talking about moving to another group, and trying to start working now. She said she only had 35 demerits so far that week, so we'll see.
    It started with a list of resentments, and that triggered me a bit. I immediately wrote her back about it. I was good, and didn't go point by point, but I did have to talk about how most of them had to do with her lack of respect for others - expecting everyone (especially me) to drop everything else whenever she wanted anything. Things like being upset because I would be reading or something, and not stop to pay attention to her. Or being upset because I would be talking to her brothers when she was in the car, about things we did together that she didn't. And not wanting to constantly drive her around wherever she wanted to go. Or embarrassing her in front of her friends.
    That last one, of course, is a parents perogitive, and pleasure. Isn't that why we had kids in the first place, to embarrass them by being weird? ;-)
    Diane is sending her a song that reminds her of Katie - Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield. She is also making up some inspirational 'mini-posters' for her to help motivate her - kind of a turnabout - but we'll see if it helps. I like the one
    "Put Your Big Girl Panties On And Just Deal With It!" She needs to take that to heart.
    We'll see next week if things are better or not - we talk with her therapist then, and maybe Katie if she stays out of Orange, as well as the family rep.


    Tuesday, August 22, 2006

    Group Move

    We talked to the therapist yesterday, as normal. He has pulled the trigger and moved Katie from group 'N' to group 'B'. She still has the same rep and therapist, but different girls. He took her out of orange with the move - basically gave her a fresh start.

    He is getting as frustrated as we are. He joked with her the other day that her bus was here to take her to Jamaica - I'm just not so sure how much of a joke that truly is. With her not working for 11 months tomorrow, we have to find someway to get through to her.

    I'm applying today for a 2nd student loan - another 52K on top of the 58K we did last year. Boy doesn't that excite me. We are doing this again through TeenHelp, and hope it goes through.

    Feeling very frustrated and disillusioned right now.


    Wednesday, August 16, 2006

    in other news

    Oh yes, in addition tomorrow her big brother goes off to college. The house is sure getting bigger suddenly, and much quieter.

    In the next few weeks we have to do and re-do bedrooms and move the remaining two boys around - so that we can finally (I know it has been nearly a year) clean out her room thoroughly. Most of the stuff in it can go - keep some of the books (maybe) - but posters etc. will be gone. She can't fit into any of her old clothes any more, so that isn't an issue

    Still Orange - and struggling

    This weeks update wasn't good news. Katie is still really struggling - she got over 800 demerits again last week. She did manage to question Garth on whether or not her new rules were too tough - but the other girls all said that it was very do-able for someone who wants to do it. Yes, in Orange it is extremely easy to get a cat. But getting 3 Cat 3's in one day is ridiculous. (Out of area, major disrespect, and dropping the 'F' bomb).

    It was interesting that apparently they took group pictures again, and Katie tried to hide in the back this time - most likely so that her orange shirt wouldn't be seen. It didn't work - they ended up moving her to the front, but it was interesting how she suddenly wasn't mugging for the camera now.


    Tuesday, August 08, 2006

    Orange - and staffing

    Well Katie is back in orange and looks to be there for a while. One interesting point - her therapist will no longer let her participate in the bi-weekly calls with him if she is in orange, and they hold all her mail as well. So more incentive for her to work.

    I staffed Discovery this weekend - it was really great. I'm not sure that I got much more out of it staffing than attending, but it was really wonderful to watch my small group grow over the three days. The way the looks of despair, pain and sadness were replaced with hope, healing and joy was just fantastic. If it weren't for the logistics (since it is in Chicago - that is a six hour drive, plus hotel, plus taking off work for at least a two days (three if I don't try to drive home the evening after it is over) I would definitely do it again.


    Monday, July 24, 2006


    I hate computers some time - especially when trying to save this stuff. So try again.

    We had our call with the therapist and Katie on Saturday, as today is a state holiday so he wasn't going to be in the office. It went ok - nothing special. We talked again about how she needs to start working the program. She is real big on pushing any little improvement. She has gone from 300 demerits a week to 90+ - but that is like going from an F to a D-, it isn't good enough.
    We sent her a package of some new pajamas and new shoes - she is real hard on shoes so we got her some better ones instead of the cheapies.
    We are really frustrated that she has been there 10 months and isn't making any progress. We thought she was back in April when we saw her at PC1, but it just didn't happen. And now we have to go and get a 2nd loan to make the payments for another year. We really hope that happens, because there is no way we can come up with $4400 a month otherwise, unless we win the lottery. And we haven't had any luck with referrals - I don't even think anyone is looking at that web site - and I don't know how to generate traffic.


    Wednesday, July 12, 2006


    Yesterday we had our therapy call. It was a bit challenging - I know that Katie did not enjoy it at all. We definitely brought up the issue of her not working, and wanting to accept that minor improvement is good enough. She has gone from 300+ demerits a week to 150+ - an improvement but not nearly good enough. Nearly 10 months and still at level one. And all the extra points she had ever earned from Discovery and PC1 are soon going to be completely gone (she has like 200 merits last week - level 3, which is a Focus requirement , is 1000 merits).
    Her therapist has asked us to think about moving her to another group - to see if that changes anything. We really like him and our family rep - so we are really debating on if this will help or not. He has one other group he does - maybe move her there and see.

    Wednesday, July 05, 2006

    Not so sweet 16

    Katie turned 16 on Monday. We talked to the family rep yesterday - she got her package on friday and was going to get her cake after dinner yesterday - all decorated in red, white and blue.

    Still at level 1, still getitng 300+ demerits a week, still not working. We are still very frustrated. *sigh*M-

    Tuesday, June 27, 2006

    Still Struggling

    I had our therapy call last night - and things are still pretty rough. Katie has finally admitted to cheating on a test again, so the whole session was on honesty, and her needing to acknowledge that she has a problem with lying. Very frustrating. Her 16th birthday is next week, and she doesn't seem to be making any progress at times.

    Wednesday, June 14, 2006

    Working session

    I had our therapy call last night, and this felt like one of the best 'working' sessions we have had yet. We discussed the patten that Katie has of constantly asking for help with everything, and using the line "I don't know what I'm doing" for everything. She says she doesn't know how to get beyond level 1 at all.

    I talked to her about just doing it - she has very clear cut rules - and to simply follow the rules. There are no short cuts, no easy way our. She has to simply do it, or not do it and be accountable for that choice.

    I wrote her today and reiterated this as well Even when you are truly confused in life - just going through the motions every day tends to break through the confusion and allow you to focus. And she has the motions spelled out right in front of her.

    I hope something sinks in and we start to eventually see some progress.


    Wednesday, June 07, 2006

    Still Struggling

    Yesterday was our bi-weekly call with the family rep. The good news is that Katie is doing fine in school, and really working at PE. She is able to run the entire time now, without stopping to walk part of the way. And she is continuing to lose weight.
    The bad news is that she is still struggling with the rules. She got over 250 demerits last week, way above the acceptable level for being voted up to level 2 again. She just can't seem to stop bucking the rules. Arrrghhhh!!!!
    She got our box, most of which she can no longer have since dropping back to level 1. But she will get the razor and crochette stuff when she votes up eventually.
    Her birthday is coming up soon, so we are going to get her some colored pencils and coloring books. She is so limited in what she can have. Then we send the family rep a check and she will get a cake for her, and she gets to serve it to her group.


    Tuesday, May 30, 2006


    Had our bi-weekly therapy call. Katie went over what happened - she was cheating on an algebra test. She did take accountability for it, and handled it well. She has realized that this choice also chose her out of the next Focus, and in talking with her therapist he said that he didn't feel that they would help her this time, like they did with discovery. She truly needs to earn Focus to make it help her more. The good thing is she has done all her pre-focus homework.
    Then her grandma and grandpa had a chance to say hi. They were in town for her older brother's graduation. She cried a bit, but I think overall it was a good thing. It always helps to remind them of what is at home, as an incentive for wanting to work the program and come home.


    Thursday, May 25, 2006

    2 Steps back - again

    Well this past week was a bad one for Katie, she dropped back to level 1 again. A bit factor on this was cheating on an algebra test - I should be getting a letter from her about that one soon. We aren't sure if this has killed her chance to go to Focus in June or not - that will be up to Garth and Kathy to decide (basically does she have to start over on points again or not). She doesn't have much more time, it is in about three weeks, and she has to get to level 3 to attend.
    And this just as we got a box together of stuff she can have at level 2. *sigh*


    Monday, May 15, 2006

    Parents of a Troubled Teen - our Journey back to a Healthy Family

    I just got off our bi-weekly therapy call, and Katie is sounding really good. She is hoping to go up for Level 3 next week, and is scared of both succeeding and of failing, which I can understand. She has to be level 3 to go to Focus, and she really wants that.
    It is nice to hear her working and sincerely trying to improve.


    Sunday, May 14, 2006

    Updated - finally

    I have finally taken the time and got at least something up to bring the blog up to date with when it started. That is good, it has been hanging over my head for way too long.

    Wrote Katie today. I still find it so hard to write her. And then, of course, I'll be talking to her on Monday during her therapy call as well.


    Thursday, May 11, 2006

    Level 2 - again

    Well Katie has taken Level 2 again. She tried to get voted up, but didn't have the support for it. However she can take level 2 without support if she chooses.
    It was interesting, as apparently one of the higher level girls then said that they should support her, as she had met all the requirements, and that is how it is designed. Otherwise it can be a bit too much of personalities and back-biting, etc about it - and people can get held back by their previous impressions, not how they are in the moment. This is big for Katie, as she has had problems with all the girls there - just like real life.
    They uploaded a new picture of her group - and the most notable thing about her is she is in the very back row - not sticking out at all - a good thing.
    She wants to crochet her brother a blanket for his graduation, and while we are going to send her some yarn, we aren't sending a couple of cases like she asked for. She can make him a scarf for college - that would be good. Once more she is a bit over-reactive to it.


    Tuesday, May 09, 2006

    After Keys

    Well it was a good weekend. This being only the 2nd Keys we have attended, it is hard to judge it completely, but it was pretty 'dry'. A LOT of information, but that means it was mostly lecture - very little 'processes' to work through, which is where the breakthroughs come in.
    The next on in Chicago is, unfortunately, the same weekend that my two youngest sons head off to boy scout and band camp, so we won't be able to make it. Since I am the treasurer for the Band Boosters now, I have to be there to write last minute checks and take in last minute payments before the kids go off. We may look to do it somewhere else though - it is being held the week before in the Bay Area, and maybe in Atlanta as well (though I won't know that for another couple of weeks).
    They posted new group pictures yesterday as well. Amazingly - Katie is in the BACK ROW!!!! For someone seeking to be the center of attention constantly, that is a very good thing.


    Friday, May 05, 2006

    Keys: Addiction Awareness

    Well we are in Chicago for our 2nd Keys seminar tomorrow. One of the best parts of these is getting together with the people that we have met at the seminars - so far I've talked to several of my Focus Family, and we will be meeting for a drink later once they get to the hotel.
    I'm not sure about this seminar - Katies isn't in the program because of drugs or alcohol, and addiction doesn't seem to be an issue for us. I don't want to go through a beating on how 'everyone is an addict' etc.
    On the plus side, this one is being done by the founder of the program, who is supposed to be really good. So maybe it will be interesting.


    Tuesday, May 02, 2006


    I meant to update this more often, this week, but technical difficulties prevented it, including not having the wireless internet work at the motel this weekend.
    We saw Katie for the first time in seven months this weekend. She looked great - she has lost 30 lbs and it shows.
    We were a bit apprehensive about this. First because of the expense - we weren't able to make any reservations until Monday, and we flew out on Thursday. This was due to two factors: the first was not finding out that she had graduated Discovery until two weeks before PC1, and the second was simply money. I had already decided to take out another 401K loan, and because of Easter it took over 8 days to get here - arrghh!!!!! And, of course, it ran quite a bit more expensive than we had anticipated (well, maybe that was the extra day in Las Vegas, or at least part of it).
    So we flew out on Thursday to Las Vegas. Her school is about two and a half hours from there in Utah, and the drive is just stunning. Especially the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona - absolutely spectacular. I guess since she is only level 1 we did not get invited to therapy on Thursday like some parents there did, so we drove around a bit, and got some great scenic pictures, including some from the local overlook (which just happens to be the local makeout point as well :-) ). We then met some other parents we had talked to on the BBS for dinner, and got to meet her therapist for the first time - he is great.
    On Friday we went to the school, had a couple of presentations from staff, then after we came back from lunch were greated with a scream as she saw us. Hugs, kisses, tears all around. I won't go into the seminar details, but there was some work done, we had dinner with her there, and then left.
    On Saturday we were back for more, working through the morning with her, then having lunch, a tour, and finally, at 3 pm it was time for farewells - and yes lots more tears.
    Meeting our family rep and therapist really helped, as did the tour of the facility, and talking to some of the other students. Seeing everything first hand really helped to bring things back in focus - Katie is doing great. She was so much like the little girl I used to know. There was no anger or exploding at all. She was still very clingy - and that is something we know to work on - part of the whole 'attention seeking' thing.
    We did spend Sunday in Vegas, and just got back at 8 tonight. Then on Friday we drive back to Chicago for the next Keys. Barely time to breath - and my oldest graduates high school on 3 weeks!


    Thursday, April 20, 2006

    Confirmed for PC1

    Well, we finally got our confirmation for PC1. This has had us on pins and needles, as we have had such short notice for this whole thing. Usually parents are invited a month before hand, but they did offer to let us go just a few weeks after Katie became eligible. In fact, I won't even talk to her again before we see her (our therapy call will two days after the seminar).
    We are very excited, and nervous about this. Now we just need to get tickets and reservations etc so that we can actually do this.
    Unfortunately, the school itself isn't the only cost - these seminars and travel are wracking up quite a bit as well, especially when you have little notice.
    But it will be great to see her in 8 days!

    Monday, April 17, 2006


    Yes!!! She did it. Katie graduated Discovery!!! I'm about shocked. A week ago I never expected this. And that means we are going to PC1 in 10 days, and will get to see her for the first time in seven months. We are also going to take advantage of this and do a little vacation time as well, relaxing a bit afterward.
    Katie is a Pure, Passionate, Beautiful, Caring and Worthwhile young woman!


    Friday, April 14, 2006

    Discovery ?!?!

    Wow! I had our bi-weekly call with the family rep and got some huge news. Katie is in Discovery, right now. She had made it over half way so far, was in the afternoon of her second day. She will graduate tomorrow if she doesn't choose out.
    Apparently her therapist thought it might do her some good, kind of kick things into gear. And since Discovery is at the low end he could do it, and did. This is great. If she makes it through, then we may be going to PC1 at the end of this month - in two weeks!!! I am trying not to get my hopes up too much, but the idea is simply fantastic.
    I'm a little worried because I had promised my oldest son to take him to a game tournament that weekend, but this has to override that, if it happens. I've just been so frustrated, and to now have this, it is simply fantastic.
    She was so gung ho after orientation, so excited to push forward and keep going. I hope this does the same thing, but a bit stronger and longer lasting. It would be nice for her to actually start making more progress. And she is at a level 2 - her therapist put her up there. She has also improved in the last two weeks - two weeks ago she got about 300 demerits, this last week about 30.
    I talk to her therapist on Monday, so hopefully there will be great news!!!


    Tuesday, April 11, 2006

    Some thoughts

    I got a letter off yesterday. Of course, as soon as I sealed the envelope I remembered things I wanted to add. We want to get a snapshot of the family and dog to send her, but forgot to have a friend take one on Sunday when they were over.

    My 'focus family' had a reunion call last night - that was good. I miss these people. Focus (and Discovery) had such a strong effect on me, much more than the Keys seminar we went to did. There was such a bonding there, having shared and cried with these people. The group we are in for Keys, who are all local; well I just don't feel that bond with them. None of them were in our Discovery or Focus - in a way they are still such strangers to us.

    As part of our local parent support group they are great, but they don't seem to be 'family' to me, yet.

    But the focus call was really good. One of the men has a son who is nearly 18, and is expecting to come home on his birthday - we all talked to him about that and if that is what he wants. That went well. There is a lot of caring in that group - it always leaves me feeling better (even if the call did last two hours.)


    Sunday, April 09, 2006


    I got another letter yesterday from Katie, which is great. I just wonder why I have such a difficult time writing her myself. I think about it a lot, but there always seems to be something coming up so I don't just sit down and do it.
    I'm frustrated by letters for one. The mail system is so slow, taking close to a week for mail to get from here to there or back. So I find it very difficult to have any type of on-going correspondence through the mail because of this two-week delay. And if I try to write more often, it gets worse, as I write the next letter before I've gotten the response to the previous one.
    Also, I do talk to her every other week as well, so I feel a lot less urgency about letters.
    I know I need to write more, and I will try.

    Wednesday, April 05, 2006

    Frustrated with Technology!!!!

    Ok, this is my FIFTH attempt in two weeks to post to this blog - every time I try to submit it I get a timeout on the server, both from work and from home. I was thinking it was firewall issues from work, but when it happened again last night from home, I figure it is server issues.
    Katie is doing ok. She lost bunk leader last week, but I actually expected that as I don't think she was ready for it. She still hasn't gotten voted up to level 2 yet, and is still getting written up quite a bit. It is a two step forward, one step backward type of thing.
    I'm frustrated, but that is my problem. I'm also worried about the cost as she has now passed the six month mark, and it definitely looks like she will need a second year, and I worry about how we are going to do that. We assume / hope we can get another loan or extend the one we have, but we aren't sure, and don't know how we can make double the payment that is strapping us already. *sigh* But I'm worrying about things that haven't happened yet.

    Tuesday, March 21, 2006

    Two steps forward, one step back

    I talked to Katie and her counselor on our bi-weekly call. Unfortunately she seems to be slipping back a bit, though at least she recognizes it.
    Everyone says not to get caught up in levels or points or advancement. It just gets hard hearing how it seems that everyone else is moving on, and getting invitations to PC1, and knowing it will be at least July before that can happen (since she has choosen out of Discovery next month already, then the earliest she could finish it is June). I miss her, and I'm worried about paying for the next year, or even the year after that.
    She is still resisting the program. She gets written up for things like not cleaning or not following directions. She isn't in Orange, but she is still level 1 and not going anywhere.

    Monday, March 20, 2006

    Forums - finally

    We have finally got forums set up. Please go and register and share your experiences and your issues with your teen. This is not program specific, so you can to talk to people at any school. ParentHelp Forums

    Sunday, March 19, 2006

    Site improvements coming

    One of my major goals has been to expand this beyond just me (and occasionally Diane) sounding off into the dark. And that is finally one step closer to fruition. The new BBS for this site has been created. At this point it kind of looks like crap, as nothing has yet been set up (default across the board), but it is almost to the point where I can start to play with it to get it set up!! So watch this space, and soon there will be forums for people to discuss the issues they are having, ask questions, and share what is happening in their lives.


    Wednesday, March 15, 2006

    Two steps forward, One step back

    I had our bi-weekly call with the family rep yesterday, and (as always) it went well. Katie is doing well in school, that isn't an issue for her. It should never have been, she is a very smart girl, just unfocussed there. This past week has been rough for her, falling back a bit into old habits. She didn't get her Discovery homework done in time, so chose out of the next Discovery in April. She talked to her therapist, and asked if there was a way she could do extra work and get back in, and he said no. She went all the way to the head of the program but still got the same answer - that she would have to live with the results she created - no one was going to rescue her any more.
    She took it hard, but this is such a pattern in her life - not doing something then trying to avoid any consequences for it. Well she is definitely in the right place to learn that actions and choices have consequences - good or bad.
    I think she is most upset because on Friday, during our therapy call, she really started to go on about missing me, and missing home. It has been long enough that this is definitely starting to sink in. I plan to write her and let her know that she has to work her program to get the results she wants. It is hard to think that she won't be in Discovery before June, which means that there is no possibility of us seeing her before July or August, and that only if she doesn't choose out again. It really looks like she might be there a full year before we see her again.
    One good note - she has lost 37 pounds so far! She actually weighs less than I do right now!!! That is wonderful. Just the fact that she is back into 'normal' sizes - so that when she does come home we will actually be able to find clothes for her to wear.


    Monday, March 13, 2006

    One down, Four to go

    Diane and I attended our first "Keys to Success" seminar this past weekend, "Being in Relationship". It was really good. Not nearly as powerful as Discovery or Focus, but I expected that, being only two day seminars instead of 3 and 4 days, respectively.
    I really enjoy these - it is great seeing the other the other parents, and this was a bit more interesting as people who had previously been staff for our seminars were now attending these instead. Kind of like the first time you saw a teacher in the supermarket or anywhere outside of school - it is weird the first time to see them as ordinary people.
    One thing we have learned is that you can't plan anything during the seminar - from when it starts to when it ends just keep thinking of yourself as in the seminar. For both Discovery and Focus we tried to plan dinner with other couples - doesn't work. We have thought that next time it might be fun to see who can come in early, and maybe go out the night before (right now we are thinking about seeing Blue Man Group).
    I had a therapy call Friday afternoon with Katie that went well. I had to tell her that her grandmother had died in December, and she handled it really well I think. I waited so long because her mother wanted to tell her (it was her side of the family) - but she never did - and Katie deserved to know. I'll talk to the family rep tomorrow night and see how she did with it this weekend.

    Friday, March 10, 2006


    In my last letter to Katie, I mentioned in her life story that she didn't mention the lying or stealing. Well I got a letter today admitting both, though I don't know how 'factual' it is. She didn't mention her mother in it, and said she had stolen over $100 from her younger brothers - which I find hard to believe because they never had that much missing. But the amounts don't matter as much as that she is coming clean with it.
    Tomorrow we head to our first Keys to Success seminar. I sure hope I feel better, or it will be an exceptionally loooong drive to Chicago. I am looking forward to the seminar however - so far they have always left me with such a strong feeling - the seminar high. I also look forward to talking to one of the members of my focus family - she visited her facility this week after what she read in 'that book', and I'm very anxious to find out what she found out.

    Thursday, March 09, 2006

    A bit nervous...

    Well, it's Thursday 3/9/06 and tomorrow Mike and I drive to Chicago for our third seminar. He's been sick the last couple of days so I hope he's up for the trip and the stress of the seminar.

    He's been good at doing homework, but I haven't. I feel very nervous about being confronted about it by Lou. With my focus family call on Tuesday, it seems over half have their homework done and are really working it. When Mike and I tried to discuss it last week, I got real defensive and I'm not sure why. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out why I am having such a hard time with it this time. Well, to be honest, I haven't been real good at any of the homework. Is it because she's my "step" daughter and not a blood relative? Mike says to "do it for the family" and I understand what he's saying, but for some reason I still don't want to do it. I don't know. Just not feeling very worthy lately, though other parts of my life are doing well. Hope I can get this figured out.

    Tuesday, March 07, 2006


    Talked with Katie's therapist today. He sounds like a great guy. He actually called early because he needed to move our appointment. I was at the store, but called back when I got home.
    First I discussed telling Katie about her grandmother. He agreed she needed to know, and we wouldn't wait for her mother to call. So I'll do this on Friday when we have our counseling call.
    I then talked to him about his credientials. BS from BYU, MS from UNLV, both on Social Work, and fully licensed by the state of Utah. Personally, I feel that a Social Work degree is a bit weaker than a psychology one, (kind of like an MIS degree vs. Computer Science degree), but some of the best therapist I've had were social workers. But he does have credentials. We talked about the book, and he remembers something about the visit, but doesn't remember if he talked to her or not.
    He did say that because of the therapy, their program was different than all the others, and they had to have state licensing that other schools did not. The others were just behavior modification programs, not residential treatment centers. Of course, he also said that while Katie was making progress, she was "quite a project" - yet another of those highly technical terms.
    Diane and I talked, and we feel better. I'm very curious how my friend that told me about the book is doing, and what she will find out at her school.


    Monday, March 06, 2006

    The Book

    Well I finished 'the book'. It is Help at Any Cost by Maia Szalavitz. I have very mixed feelings about this. But I did want to start this as a source of information for other parents in similiar situations.

    The author is very strongly against any of the 'tough love' programs, and focuses on three of them, one of which is the association to which my daughters school belongs. She is going to Cross Creek Manor - which of all the places she talked about came out the most favorable. It does have certified therapist working with the girls (and boys in the other side). Which is also why it is the most expensive.

    If my daughter were out of the country I would be much more concerned. In fact, we first looked at Jamaica because of the significantly reduced cost, but decided against it.

    There are other alternatives out there - but these are difficult to find, and even more difficult to get information on - again why I started this. So as a source of information this book is out there.

    I don't agree with some of it. I have attended both Discovery and Focus - two of the seminars that the schools provide, and have read her report on a couple who left in the middle of them. I would challenge the author to keep a truly open mind, and try experiencing these herself before declaring how damaging they are. I did not see some of the things described here, and where the seminars do work to question your values, they do not attempt to impose any on you.

    I do believe that the seminars are valuable, and I'm heading to my third this weekend. I think my daughter is in a good program, and while there are questions, the growth I can hear in my daughter leads me to still believe I have made the right decision.


    Saturday, March 04, 2006


    I picked up and am reading the book "Help at Any Cost" by Maia Szalavitz. I'm not halfway through yet - but it is an expose' on the "tough love" program - including the one my daughter is in. I haven't gotten to the part about her program yet, and I'm not looking forward to it. One of the members of my focus family pointed me to this book - she is going to her program this weekend to question them directly about it.

    I'm very mixed on this, as at this point I don't know what I would have ever done with Katie except what we did. We could not control her, and the therapy she was in wasn't helping. I really hate second guessing myself about things as well.

    But at least I seem to be able to get some of the old information up. It isn't quite the way I want it (would be nice to all be blog entries), but it is 'close enough for government work'

    Wednesday, March 01, 2006

    Darn Tools

    Stupid computer tools. I went in and re-wrote some of the links and added pages for prior months, so that even though I didn't start this until January, I could put in old entries for September through December. But as soon as I used the tool, it overwrote all I had done darnnit. Have to find a way around that - there is probably a file that controls this I'll have to hack a bit.
    Well, I got links that will do what I want, but managed to lose all I had written about in September - but it is still on my home PC. I'll have to fix that tonight. *sigh*

    Getting better . . . one day at a time

    Had our weekly call with the parent rep last night. It was good. She wanted to emphasize how much improvement she was seeing in Katlyn, although she is still not making progress. She did not get voted up to level 2 yet. She is still struggling with the rules - getting written up for things like not cleaning her room, talking when she shouldn't, etc. It is huge improvements over when she started, but she has such a long way to go.
    I get a bit frustrated (which is my problem, not hers) listening to other parents whose kids are going through much faster. One family who we have met at the seminars had their daughter go in the same time as Katie, and she just graduated Discovery. Katie is hoping to go to Discovery next month, but she had procrastinated on her homework to prepare for it - and if she didn't have it ready by her meeting this morning then she wouldn't be going this round at all. I want her to succeed and graduate, but I do worry about he cost. Not right now, but when we have to take out the second loan for September (assuming that we can get the loan). If we don't get a loan then we will be hurting big time. And the references aren't happening yet either.
    On a more positive note, met the Dayton / Cincinnati / Northern Kentucky support group this past weekend - this group is even bigger than the Columbus one we went to the previous weekend. Several of the people there will also be at our Keys seminar next weekend, which is good as well. I think there they break you out regionally, not randomly like the others. But we'll see. Not looking forward to the drive back and forth to Chicago, but flights didn't come down in price this time - and we can't afford $600 for plane tickets. That is one expense we did not anticipate - attending these seminars in Chicago every other month. By the time we are done it will have been 7 weekends (one of those 3 days, one 4) in Chicago, two in Utah and one in California. *sigh*.

    Tuesday, February 21, 2006

    Smiling Faces

    They posted a new group picture today, and there is Katie's smiling face, front and center. It is a shame she is so shy around the camera :-). Actually this is part of her issues - always wanting to be the center of attention. It is nice in her Orientation picture - for once she doesn't stand out - she is just part of the group. It is nice too - they won't let her wear bangs at all, and her face really opens up when half of it isn't hidden by hair!
    We talked on Friday (her therapist had president's day off, and I was out of town taking my oldest son to see his new college for next year). A good conversation, brought up a few issues. She is saying now that she really wants to graduate the program - so that is a little encouraging. It will be more so to see her really working it - she still gets lots of demerits. But one thing she set as a goal was to be back home so she could actually attend her prom like normal - a good goal if you ask me.
    She did put together a list of questions for Diane and I to fill out that she sent us - so I have a bit of homework to do. We also got her some more paper and crayons, and a care bear. Some of the things she wants, and needs. But we don't want her to feel entitled either.
    It is nice to get these pictures and see her smiling.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2006

    The more things change . . .

    We talked with our family rep last night. Katie is doing very well. However she broke her glasses again. And she brought up that she wants contacts, and her older brother got contacts at 16. Hmmmmm.....
    Just because we see a little progress doesn't mean things are fixed. We all fell this is a deliberate manipulation attempt on her part - break her glasses so we 'have' to get her contacts. Well this won't work, sorry.
    One of the big points for contacts with her older brother was responsibilitiy. He had to show he could take care of them. I think Katie needs to show the same thing - but she can't begin to do this while she is in the program. So, after she graduates and shows us that she is responsible enough for them, then she can get contacts. Until then, a little tape doesn't hurt anyone. We will check into getting new glasses for her (it is time anyway) though the options near the school are, well limited is putting it midly. So we'll see what the insurance will do with it.

    Friday, February 10, 2006

    One small step

    I just got off the phone with Katlyn and her therapist. The great news is she finally passed her Orientation, and is going up for Level 2 next week. It isn't a lot, but it is progress, and progress is always good.
    It was one of the more emotional calls, as we are now getting started doing some therapy on the phone. Up until now it has just been talking, but no real depth, and that is what we are starting.
    She said that she has completed her autobiography and I should get that soon. This is the 'dreaded' confession letter - the one where she tells us everything that was going on, and it is supposed to be everything. Other parents I've talked to have simply been shocked when they get these, not realizing all that had truly been happening. A vital and necesarry part of the process, but not one to look forward to.M-

    Tuesday, February 07, 2006

    The anticipation . . .

    talked with Katie's therapist yesterday. Things are looking good. She had was still in Orientation during the call, which is a good thing - she had made it nearly half way through. Now to hope she graduates today. I call him again on Friday to see if she made it, or hear why she didn't. He wants to actually get started working on issues with her, which is a good thing, and means she is making progress.
    But the wait, and not knowing --- very frustrating.

    Wednesday, February 01, 2006

    Sure and Steady

    We had our semi-weekly call with the family rep last night, and it was very positive. Katy has been soliciting feedback from others and working on her issues, and several people have commented that she is making good progress. Things look very good for her to actually finish orientation this weekend, which will be great! She says she wants a stuffed animal, and so far I have acknowledged her request, but I have not said that I would do anything about it. We are waiting for her to graduate, then she will get that as a present. But we want to help to break that idea of entitlement - such that just because she wants something means that we will get it for her. So things are looking good so far - now just to wait until Monday to hear how she is doing in Orientation.M-

    Tuesday, January 31, 2006

    From Diane

    Well, I finally wrote Katie a letter. I was very honest and didn't "sugar coat" anything, but was not mean either. I did include that I was very proud of her for finally starting to work the program and that it would be hard, but anything worth having is usually hard to get. I have received two letters from her and they've been very sweet and almost apologetic but not going quite that far. She says she wants to work on our relationship and I truly hope so. I think these seminars have really helped me also, and I hope I can get past the hurts and "be the adult" as I've been told. Not sure what she will say in her next letter. I hope she stays in the orientation for the whole weekend and not give up. Not sure how she'll do when she gets to Focus but hopefully she'll be much stronger by then. That's a tough one, but totally worth it. Other than that, I am slowly working on my Focus homework and have another one of my "Focus Family" small group calls next week. We are all keeping in touch by email and that's nice to have those contacts. I spent a couple hours today dropping off pamphlets to some of the area police departments and talked with the inpatient place Katie was at last a few times last year. They want me to drop off 20-25 of them and think it sounds like a great thing. I also talked with her last therapist and she took 2 copies of the pamphlets, and also thought it was great information to know.

    Sunday, January 29, 2006

    Getting Ready for Orientation. Again

    I talked with the therapist on Friday, and with Katie. She is trying to prepare to go back to Orientation next weekend. I'm hoping that she will graduate this time, and not 'choose out' again. I know they say not to get hung up on levels or advancement - but after four months you want to see something, some tangible movement forward. She has been asking for a stuffed animal. I hope to get her one as a present for graduating focus. I don't want it where she just gets things without earning them anymore. I haven't told her that is what I want to do, so we'll see.


    Monday, January 23, 2006

    Coming back to reality

    Well, as all things do, the buzz from focus is fading. My 'focus family' had their first call last night, which went well. The first week afterward is the easiest, it is now going to get a wee bit more challenging to keep everyone working on our goals etc.

    I have a semi-weekly call with Katie's therapist, every other Monday at 7:30. Well he just called me, and we'll do it on Friday this week because he has some family obligations. Not a big deal, though I was hoping a bit to talk with Katie. I'm having a real hard time writing letters - simply running out of things to say in a letter. It seems so formal and stunted - hard to get any real communication going. And so far her letters haven't had much in the way of substance.

    Friday, January 20, 2006

    So it begins - somewhere in the middle

    Like most weeks, this has been fairly normal, nothing special happening since we got home late Sunday. The Focus seminar was fantastic. When we went to Discovery in December, I thought that was powerful, and came back feeling great. But I'm not sure how much I was changed there. This time wasn't like that - I feel different inside and out (of course, being completely clean shaven for the first time in twenty years may have something to do with that :-) ).

    I talked to our Family Rep on Tuesday - Katie is doing well. She isn't resisting, but isn't working the program either. She seems to be in that middle state of just waiting right now. She did set herself for three Cat3's this week - I'm not sure if she ended up with them or not. She is balancing precariously on whether she is going back to orange again or not. I do hope she decides to start working for the next Orientation - it would be nice for her to graduate.