Wednesday, July 19, 2017

When the Lost Don't Want to be Found

Trying to find my brother is like playing a horrible game of hide and seek.  He's hidden out there somewhere with no evidence of where he's been.  There are no signs that he's moved or that he was in the location we think he's been.  He hasn't left traces of himself to lead us to where he is.  Being the seeker means taking on a detective role without any clues.  Or very few.

I've been reading the book Falling Free by Shannan Martin.  Don't read it unless you really want to be challenged by a family who simply followed God in ways that look so foreign to us in the middle-class but has resulted in learning more about who God is.  (In other words, go read it!  It's a quick, amazing read.)  As I read about the kids brought into her life through different circumstances, I kept thinking of my brother Jim.  We have continued to pray for him every night.  I've continued to think about and look at various websites that might lead to finding a trace of him.  Until today.

Today I did a google search for 'feeding homeless savannah ga.'  I simply wanted to get a contact number of someone I could talk to about Jim.  The Old Savannah City Mission came up and after looking through the site, I decided that I needed to call them.  I said a quick prayer that I wouldn't cry through the entire phone call.  And dialed.  The conversation went something like this:

P (person):  Hello.  The Old Savannah City Mission.  How should I direct your call?

M (me):  Hi.  My name is Jessica.  I have an odd circumstance and am honestly not sure who to talk to.  My family is looking for my brother Jim and we know he was in the Savannah area at some point but we don't know where he is and are trying to figure out where he might be so we can contact him.

P:  Ok.  Let me get you to other person.

Transfers to OP (other person)

OP:  Hello.  This is other person.

M (me):  (repeats similar statement)

OP:  Let me give you to another other person.

Transfers to OOP (other other person)

OOP:  Hello.  This is other other person.

M:  (repeats statement again)

OOP:  Well, let me at least look in our database online to see if he is possibly in the local detention center here.  (I give him Jim's name and info)  He's not registered in the detention center here - no record found.

M:  I know that he was in one of the tent cities in Savannah at one point.

OOP:  If he's in the tent cities, then he is likely not at a shelter.  Most of the people in the tent cities don't come into the shelters for a variety of reasons.

M:  Oh ok.  That makes sense.  I know that many shelters require people to be sober and detoxed.

OOP:  Not necessarily.  They do require that the people are not intoxicated or high.  It doesn't mean that they don't do things.  They just don't do them while at the shelter.  There are shelters that are wet shelters where they don't turn away people who are intoxicated or high.  There are liabilities and such things.

M:  That makes sense.

OOP:  I would recommend calling the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless.  They will likely not be able to give you any information, but may be another helpful source.

M:  Thank you.  (Get number and info)

OOP:  Our records here are still paper forms and it is tedious and time consuming to go through them to find someone.  Especially someone that you haven't seen in several years.  However, I'd like to help you.  Let me go through our files for the last four months and look to see if he's at least been here during that time.  Call me on Friday to let me know what the Authority says and I'll be able to let you know if he was ever here.

M:  Thank you.  I know that God has a plan for him and that as long as he's alive, there's hope.

OOP:  Yes ma'am.  I pray you find him.  I can only imagine how I would feel if it were my brother.

M:  Thank you.

**Deep breaths, teary eyes... I call the Chatham-Savannah Authority before I think too long about it.

CSA:  Hello.  This is the CSA for the Homeless.  How may I direct your call?

M:  Hi.  My name is Jessica and I'm trying to find my brother.  I know that he is homeless and I'm trying to figure out where he is.

CSA:  We can't give out information about the whereabouts of your brother.  His information is confidential and we are not allowed to give out any information regarding homeless people.  Unless it is local authority, police who are looking.

M:  How do you find someone who is homeless?  How would I go about finding someone who is homeless?

CSA:  Well, I guess the homeless person would contact their people.

M:  Oh.

CSA:  You might consider searching for him as a missing person.  Have you made a missing persons report?

M:  Oh - I hadn't thought of it in that way... we haven't.

CSA:  That may be a way to find him.

I thank them and end the call.  It's such a tricky maze.  If a homeless person doesn't want to be found, they are protected and no information can be given out.  Do other families have homeless family members that they can't find or are we alone in this crazy situation?  How do you get in touch with someone who doesn't want to be found?  Or does he hope to be found, but can't get to us?  And does that even make sense?

Thankful for these people that gave me more information about the system.  Now to continue pressing forward to finding him and accepting that he may not want to be found.  Doesn't everyone want to be found?

Friday, July 7, 2017


Song: Vacation by Dirty Heads

Talking to Riley at lunch about how I want to put together a short clip of us to this song after our vacation next week (without the use of the two cuss word parts).  I begin dancing to it and she makes a face at me.

Me:  I think that'd be neat!
Riley: Yeah that's cool
Me: yeah cause I'm cool
Riley: No, You're like the total opposite of that

Time to dab.

Thursday, July 6, 2017


Riley had one of her closest friends over today.  They've been giggling, talking and playing on their iPads in her room.  It's times like these that make me thankful the walls in our home are so thin :)
I knocked on her door and then entered to tell her friend that her sister was on her way.  Riley was pulling her screen low so I knew that she was listening/watching something she didn't want me to see.   I gave her the 'mom look' and asked her to show it to me.  She pulled it away, but I caught the picture of a mom and her daughter.  She finally showed it to me and the title was '8 parenting fails you should not do.'  She then gave me the 'tween look' and smiled/smirked.  Oh boy... I walked out of the room.  Not sure what she's hoping to learn about being a parent but I'm pretty sure she's thinking I've failed something and she's trying to figure out how to tell me.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Fourth of July

We participated in the Sparkman neighborhood festivities for the first year since moving two summers ago.  It's such a special place to live and we love the community.  Each street decorates and builds a float for the 4th of July parade and has a street party at someone's home.  The kids fill up tons of water balloons and have a huge multi-street water balloon fight.  This was Riley's favorite event and she can't wait to do more in it next year.  She loved the planning, plotting and filling of the balloons.  Julia just wanted to hang out with me, but I think she'll get into it as she gets older.

On the 3rd, we went to the Garland's house down the street and met tons of neighbors.  Kids set off small fireworks while we watched and grilled out.  The float was "the Marquis of Marquis."  It was a castle made of cardboard boxed with Guy Mitchell as the Marquis on the trailer throne.

The morning of the 4th, we walked down to the clubhouse for the Kid's Parade.  Riley's friend Vivian had been asked to hold the banner at the front of the parade and she'd invited Riley to hold the other side.  They took two loops around and had a great time leading the bikes, scooters, strollers and kids around the block.

The next parade was the neighborhood float parade with a fire truck, old cars and various street floats.  Julia rode in the truck on one side of the castle and Riley was on the other side.  The girls threw candy to the other kids on the streets.  Jeremy and I walked down to the Neuschafer's home to chat with them through the parade before returning to the start to get the girls.  Regent street did an amazing Star Wars Theme with this massive Darth Vader head, storm trooper golf carts and music blaring.  It was awesome.  My other favorite was 'the world's smallest float' which consisted of this teeny cart being pulled.

It was really special to meet so many neighbors and spend time with new friends.  As I was leaving the party on the 3rd, I went to say goodbye to a lady I had met that night.  I tried to remember her name.

Me:  So nice meeting you!  Is it Nikki?
Her:  No - Linda.  Rebekah?
Me:  No - Jessica.

Then total laughter erupted.

Bunk Beds

The girls have decided that they want to share a bedroom.  And that they need bunkbeds.  They conspired together to draw up an outline of the set-up of the room.  Julia said she would be the thinker and Riley could be the draw-er.  They had an art wall, combined clothing closet, and planned to use the spare bedroom closet for all their games and toys.

To prove to us that they can sleep in the same room and to show us how much they want this, they decided to pull out Julia's trundle bed and sleep in her room every night this week.  They also shared with us that they are pooling their allowance money together to buy the bunkbeds themselves.  Can't tell yet if these are threats towards us or collaboration between them.  Or both.

Their current rooms are linked together with a full bathroom (Jack and Jill set up).  Julia likes a nightlight and sound machine on each night.  Riley likes her changing color iHome station.  Julia likes the fan on high and Riley prefers it to be on medium.  Julia wakes up around 7:00am and Riley likes to sleep in past 10:00am.  Three nights in and they've reached some good compromises that have made it work.  The sweetest part has been that they talk to each other for a short time before falling asleep and truly enjoy being together.

The first night was the hardest.  We said read books, prayed and said goodnight.  Julia was cold so she asked Riley if she could snuggle next to her on the trundle twin size mattress.  The two of them were packed like sardines together and could not get to sleep.  Jeremy and I were watching our new favorite show 'Scandal' and had assumed they were sleeping as all was quiet.  An intimate scene between a couple on the show began and towards the middle of it, we heard sounds near the gate to the hallway.  Bug-eyed and staring at the tv were our precious girls who had never seen anything like that.  Riley whispered "Oh wow."  Julia said nothing.  Jeremy and I were wide-eyed as well.  They had come to ask if I would serve them breakfast in bed in the morning.  I told them I would.  They went back to bed and we heard a little giggling.

When the show ended around 11:15pm, I went back to our room and saw that there was a light on in the bedroom coming from Riley's iPad.  They were laying side by side watching Liv and Maddie and hadn't yet fallen asleep.  I took the iPad away and the girls laid down once again to sleep.  Riley looked particularly tired in the morning, but they insisted that they had slept well.

The second night a compromise was made that Julia had to sleep in her own bed and Riley would sleep on the trundle.  Last night Julia came into bed with me in the middle of the night and tonight Riley wants to sleep in her own room.  The bunkbed conspiracy may be coming to an end.