Confessions of a Heartbroken Father: When doing what’s best breaks your heart

I have some news to share.  While this news is heartbreaking, it’s also going to give us a glimmer of hope.  It’s a tiny glimmer but a glimmer nonetheless.

This will probably be a short post because it’s been an emotionally draining day, filled with challenges.  Some we bested and others we didn’t.

Here’s what you need to know..


We met with Dr. Pattie tonight and we’ve come to a decision in regards to Gavin. This decision is the result of a culmination of events and circumstances that are very quickly getting out of control. 

I’ll provide more details at another time but here’s the long and short of it. 

We are going to be placing Gavin in residential treatment

This isn’t the first time that this has been on our short list of potential options. Most recent was our attempts to get him placed last year. The problem we ran into was Gavin’s physical health.  At the time he was experiencing frequent Autonomic Crises.

Here’s what we realized tonight. 

It’s not fair to Elliott, Emmett, Lizze and myself to be forced to live in constant turmoil and dramatic chaos as a result of Gavin’s antisocial behaviors.  Likewise, it’s not fair to put Gavin in situation where he’s expected to coexist in a way that he’s simply not capable of doing. 

The goal with residential treatment is and has always been to give Gavin the tools he needs to overcome or work around some of the challenges associated with Reactive Attachment Disorder (which will later be changed to antisocial personality disorder once he’s 18 years of age).

He needs to learn how to interact with the world around him in a healthier way.

There are things broken in Gavin that cannot be fixed.  However, he can learn new ways in which he can reduce the impact these things have on his life. 

I’m not exactly sure where we start this process again. 

As you recall, we were involved in Stark County Wrap Around several times already and that is the precursor to securing funding needed for the almost $800/per day out of pocket expenses associated with this type of treatment. 

Unfortunately, the Wrap Around experience hasn’t been a productive one and at the end of last school year, they sorta just disappeared, never to be heard from again.  We never really pursued them after that because we were getting nowhere with them and Gavin’s health was so unstable that we couldn’t find a treatment center that would touch him, 

Now that he’s relatively stable, his doctors might be willing to sign off on this and that would open so many doors. 

At this point that all we really know. 

I’m going to try and get some sleep because I’m really not in a good place and we have to meet with the school in the morning to discuss whether or not Gavin will repeat the 8th grade. 

I’ll let you know how that one goes….

This site is managed almost exclusively from my Samsung Galaxy Note 3. Please forgive any typos as auto-correct HATES me. 😉

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Rob Gorski

Full time, work from home single Dad to my 3 amazing boys. Oh...and creator fo this blog. :-)
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Nicole Davies Smith

I read every one of your posts. My son Aaron is very much like Gavin. Painfully similar. We made the decision to place Aaron in residential treatment in February. I never thought things would come to that. Aaron is 11 and we have a 7 year old daughter. We had to think of her well being also. But things were escalating to the point where he was getting more and more aggressive (since he was 5). It’s so hard for a 7year old to have to have a safety plan in her own home. I do have to say that aaron is getting the help he needs and we’re getting the break we needed for our health. I will tell you that the first phone calls are hard as well as the first visit. My thoughts are with you during this transition.


HUGS I know you will do what’s best for your family and Gavin and right now this sounds like this is for the best for all of you. <3 Hugs again

Lost and Tired

I’m a little behind on responding to comments but I just wanted to say that I’ve read all your comments and thank you all so much for your kind words of support. 🙂


Hugs for you.

I actually work in RTC for kids and still this breaks my heart.

Val Cross

Sending hugs and prayers to your whole family.


First of all, *HUG*. This is such an exhausting road to go on, but you never give up hope. As a parent, it’s just physically impossible. Even when you SAY you’ve lost hope, when you throw up your hands and declare that you’re done, everyone knows deep down there is that microscopic bit of hope that nothing can extinguish. I was watching my favorite summer show last night, So You Think You Can Dance, and there was a young man auditioning who got turned down after not quite impressing the judges with his attempt in the choreography round. He broke down and cried, but then when the show moved to the next city for auditions, he was there. The judges were a bit surprised to see him, and one of them said, “You don’t give up, do you?” He replied, “You can’t call yourself a dancer if you give up.” Not “you don’t”, but you CAN’T. That’s true for parents, too. It’s not anything we can control, it just IS.

Secondly, my brother spent time in residential treatment when I was a senior in high school and part of early college. It was a heck of a trying time for my family, not the least because of the guilt I felt b/c I wasn’t there for a lot of it, being in college an hour away. But we made it. You can too.

Finally, I recommend that you read “How to Be A Sister: A Love Story with a Twist of Autism” by Eileen Garvin, if you haven’t already. I know, I know, you’ve got SOOOOO much free time on your hands to devote to reading books, but it’s really a good story of how one woman survived her family putting her sister in residential treatment and it worked out for the better. You might get criticized for your choice but don’t EVER let anyone tell you how to run your family or that you don’t know what’s best. It’s not like you guys decided to do this right off the bat. Y’all have tried and tried and tried with other options, explored every other avenue, and now you’re just trying something else. That’s how autism works. That’s how LIFE works. You try something and then you try something else and then you keep trying until you find something that works. You know you’re not doing this to get rid of your son; you’re doing this to try to make everyone’s lives better. This is not forever. This is what ya’ll need right now. And when tomorrow comes, you’ll deal with it then. One day at a time. One HOUR at a time, if you have to. It’s just what you do. It’s what i do when my husband is deployed; it’s what every family does when hit with something that would tear you apart if you let it– you DON’T let it. We’re here, cheering you on from the sidelines of the world wide web, for what it’s worth. Good luck and y’all will be in my prayers!

Val Cross

I read Eileen’s book also, really taught me a lot.

Mom of three

I am sorry you are all going through this. We have gone through similar treatment with our son. He spent 15 months in a treatment center, but then return home when funding ran out. After another rough year and another psych admission, we took him off all meds. That helped a lot and we slowly re-introduced minimal meds.


My thoughts are with you and your family. Some of the toughest decisions are sometimes the best.


I have feared that this day was coming for a while now. I know it is going to be a huge change for your family, but a change that seems to be nessecary at this point in time. I know this is going to be yet another rough road for everyone involved and please know that you will all be in my prayers. Stay strong and know that you are doing the very best that you can at making the best choices you can with the options you have. I will be praying for all of you. Keep your head up!