Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Missing

Here is a frightening statistic: " A child goes missing every 40 seconds in the U.S, over 2,100 per day." Per DAY! That is unbelievable. How many of these kids are actually found? I tried to find a statistic on that, but couldn't. I hope there are many happy endings and that many are found, but I know many of these children never are.

A three year old neighbor girl, who lives just down the street, was missing for about two to three hours on Tuesday afternoon. With my heart in my stomach, a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes, I watched out the window feeling helpless, as the police combed the area with the dogs, sniffing around for any scent of the girl, and as a helicopter circled above. The blonde little girl wandered away from her yard (which just so happens to have retention pond behind it) while playing outside. Many thoughts entered my mind and I tried so hard to stay positive, full well knowing there was a possibility she was at the bottom of that pond, or that someone had snatched her away. Fortunately her ending was a happy one. . . she was found a few houses down in a neighbors (fenced in) backyard. Neighbors who were NOT home. She was assumed to have been in the house at one point as the police had already searched that yard once and didn't find her. How she got in is anyone's guess. An unlocked door maybe?

Let me just say this was a GOOD time to remind the girls of some important lessons. I have lectured them many times on never leaving the yard without me or Bill, not even going outside WITHOUT us, not going near the ponds, etc. We've had many talks about "don't talk to strangers" and how they should always be within reach in public places, and within my eyesight at all times, even when just in our backyard.

Some may say I am paranoid or over protective, but how can you be in this day and age? Here's another statistic: "In excess of 800,000 children are reported missing each year and another 500,000 go missing without ever being reported." So if I want to stick close to my children, can you really blame me?

I have to say it was nice to see people in the neighborhood pulling together for her. Teenagers were riding their bikes all around looking, construction workers repeatedly circled the neighborhood, etc. Bill was working from home that day and walked and drove all around the neighborhood. I almost took the girls out and went looking myself. Instead I stayed put, thinking someone should be here in case she came to our house. I called every neighbor I knew, knowing the more people looking for her, the better the chance was that she'd be found. Kiki was worried and spent much of the time looking out her upstairs bedroom window, in hopes that she might somehow be able to find her. Boo looked out the back and side windows too. And of course we prayed. Over and over again we prayed. When she was found, Kiki jumped for joy and said "Mommy our prayers worked!" If only it were that simple, if all kids that went missing had this same happy ending.

So. . . keep your children close, and pray that they stay safe. I know I will.

2 comments:

Mandy said...

That IS so scary. I'm SO glad that her ending was a happy one. It just makes me want to gather the girls close, and not let them go.

LizC said...

You really, really, really must read this book: Protecting The Gift by Gavin De Becker. It came highly recommended to me and I read it over and over again. We have implemented some things from the book- like teaching Teagan that if she gets separated from us, she needs to find another Mommy (a woman) to help her. Women are more likely to follow thorugh on a lost child situation until it is complete- where a man is more likely to pass the lost child off to someone. And the "don't talk to strangers" thing doesn't work because we contradict ourselves everyday in front of our kids. They see us talk to the cashier or a friendly man in the mall or a waitress or store clerk or whatever. What they need to know is HOW to interact with people they don't know... It's an amazing book and it really has left me feeling like I can take action, feeling empowered, etc.