Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Visit to Jouster

Saturday we were allowed to see Jouster for the first time since we left him at his Treament Program.

Two weeks was a long time. I missed him terribly. Many times during the wait, I cried. Then I prayed, and cried some more. It's just not right not having all of my children under the same roof.

But on the other hand, I have such a sense of peace. I am comforted knowing that he is safe. I no longer lay in bed at night wondering if he is going to sneak out, or if the Sheriff will be knocking on my door in the middle of the night bearing bad news.

We had wanted to take Jester to visit his brother, but he woke up with the flu. The other kids were going to go play with cousins, but two of them were sick as well. We ended up taking Squire, Duchess and Prince Charming to visit.

When we arrived at his building, we rang a doorbell and the door was unlocked for us to enter. (This is a lock out, not a lock in facility.) As we walked up the stairs to the visitor's desk, I could see a number of teen boys standing and sitting along the walls. No one was talking. All eyes were on us, trying to catch a glimpse of whose family was arriving.

When the other boys saw we weren't there for them, their eyes shifted to the clock on the wall and then back to the stairs to watch for the next family to arrive. I could tell they were all anxious to see a familiar face.

We checked in and Jouster's name was called. He smiled when he saw us. He immediately grabbed Prince Charming and carried him as we were led to a room at the back of the building. This is the room we will be in for two hours each week. For the next four months, this is the only place we will see our son.

We brought him some Chinese food for lunch. If a boy has visitors, he is not served lunch in the facility. We were the first family to arrive, and while we were sitting at our table, we could hear the doorbell announcing the arrival of other families. One by one, the other boys with their visitors, came into the room. Every family brought food and....pop. Apparently this is not a readily available beverage.

Along with the lunch, most every family brought a bag of snacks. Each boy has a small snack bin he is allowed access to each evening at a certain time. Whatever doesn't fit into the bin, gets tossed. I watched as the boys opened their bags of treats, laid them on the table and sized up what would or would not fit within his container. Some things got handed back, "This won't fit, maybe you could bring it next week."

We enjoyed our time. It flew by too quickly. Jouster seemed so humble. He was clear headed and he looked good. The last few months he was home, he always hiding under a hood or a stocking cap. It was good to really be able to see him, to see a clear face and clear eyes.

He told us that as he was waiting for us to arrive, he was concerned we might be late. Then he talked about a boy whose parents had arrived 1/2 hour late the week before, and how disappointed the boy had been.

Irony. The very reason these boys are here; drug and alcohol abuse, trouble with parents/family, trouble with the law, trouble in school; they are now concerned about their families being late. Or worse yet, not showing up.

Before they arrived at this facility they probably saw their parents as the enemy. The people holding them back from 'fun'. The people who were nagging them to straighten up. These boys, like Jouster, probably did all they could do to avoid their parents. Now, they want their parents to come and visit. They don't want them to be late. They sit and hold hands with their moms. They openly hug and kiss their family members in front of the other boys, their peers. Their eyes tear up when they say goodbye. They ask, "Will you be here next week?"

Once we said our final goodbyes, we watched the boys. They all carried their bags of goodies to the stairwell which led them back to their rooms. No one looked back. They seemed renewed by another visit from family.

I am so thankful we had such a wonderful time, and even more thankful that we live close enough to visit every week. Only three more days and we get to see him again. I can't wait!


  1. I'm so glad that you had a nice visit. I can only imagine how wonderful it was to see him again. I continue to pray for your family.


  2. I love his hair cut!

    So glad that you had a good visit with him and things are going well for him too! He looks really good (and you and the king do too)! How great that he was anxious to see you....sounds like things are looking up already.

  3. Hi,

    I am visiting for the first time and I hope it is OK to comment on this post. I am glad that your son is doing better and that he was happy to see all of you. I am sure this a tough time for all of you, but this is obviously something good for him. God is so good!

    I have teens also and I know that things can get really tough. Sometimes I just hold on and hope that God knows what He is doing, because I certainly don't feel like I do! ;)

  4. I'm glad you had a good visit! Life is so hard sometimes! Stay strong! Thanks for visiting my blog.

  5. You posts about Jouster are so near and dear to my heart. I've spent so much energy trying to protect my boys, but I know I am not in control. It's just so comforting to see you and the King and the rest of the family surviving this trauma, too. Was Jouster sorry he missed the bloody finger drama?

  6. I am so happy for all of you. I am grateful for a good visit and for the apparent working that your son is doing on walking a straight and narrow path.

    I will continue to pray for all of you.

    mama to 6
    one homemade and 5 adopted

  7. Michelle, so happy for you and your family that you were able to see your son and that he has a smile on his face. God is good!! We will continue to keep you all in our prayers, Love the Utecht's

  8. ((Michelle)) I'm am so glad to hear about this wonderful visit!! Praying for your entire famiy.



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