Yes…that’s right. School started a month ago and I am just getting around to writing the summer blog posts I’ve had in my mind for two to three months now. What can I say? I am a VERY good procrastinator.
First, let me tell you what I thought summer was going to look like. I thought that Jerilyn would stay in Arizona for two weeks with my mom and attend a summer camp while I was driving out to Florida to spend the summer with Daniel. That was the original plan but like I always say…I literally believe God laughs when he hears plans come out of my mouth, because they very rarely become reality.
With about a day or two to go before I was set to leave Phoenix I had an appointment with one of Jerilyn’s therapists. After describing our current family life, which I have to tell you, was not a cheery description in regards to Jerilyn wanting to even BE in our family, the therapist suggested I let Jerilyn stay in Phoenix with my sister, Kim, for the summer. Many of you are aware that I adopted Jerilyn from my sister when Jerilyn was almost three.
Kim had been asking to spend more time with Jerilyn and Jerilyn had been making it very clear to me that she would rather be with her “real” mom, so the therapist suggested letting them spend some time together. Sometimes letting people experience the “greener” side they believe exists, is the best way for them to discover that it’s not as green as they imagine. That is the short version of it all, but trust me, it wasn’t an easy decision to make.
Jerilyn stayed back with Kim in Phoenix for the summer, I called it a “social experiment.” These were the things I was hoping would come from it…
Jerilyn would realize how much she does want to be a part of our family.
The experience would open up opportunities for her to attach to us.
My sister would accept that the best place for Jerilyn is with us.
My sister would go get a mental health evaluation for herself.
There would be some healing in the relationships between Kim, Jerilyn and I.
Initially, Jerilyn was super-obedient at Kim’s house, so everything went peachy keen. That lasted for three to four weeks, after which, she started giving Kim the same daily opposition she gives to me. As the list of oppositional behaviors grew, the experiment started to show some signs of cracking. In the end, all of the things listed above that I was hoping for, did actually happen. Unfortunately, it was a little more than Jerilyn could handle. She ended up spending two weeks with my parents in California and then with just a few more days to go before I was due back in Phoenix, Jerilyn ran away from Kim’s house.
I’m not sure if I’ve written this before or not, but Jerilyn is a runner. She has disappeared or given us the slip more times than I can count. It’s always scary, but she tends to stay in our neighborhood, however this time she didn’t. She decided to walk the six miles back to my parents house, in temps over 100 degrees. The police were called and eventually Jerilyn arrived at the house driven by a stranger. Praise God that when she was out walking she came across a teenage girl walking her dog whose father actually worked with autistic children. This girl took Jerilyn to her mother who then drove her to our house. I believe God does have some special guardian angels around this child…and even they are probably tired!!
Jerilyn was admitted to St. Luke’s again where she spent a week and tried to come down from her manic state. I wasn’t surprised that she wanted to go back to the hospital because, for her, it is a familiar predictable schedule and she needed the structure they offer to calm her emotions down. It would have been a highly emotional summer for anyone in her shoes, but even more so, with someone who struggles so much to try and make sense out of our very social world filled with convoluted and confusing relationships. We are still struggling to have some balance.
I’ll end this post with a request for prayer. Please pray for Jerilyn “to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that she may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:18-19) Thank you my friends!