10-26-2018 06:32 PM
10-26-2018 06:59 PM
Hey @sunflowermom, I really am sorry to hear about your daughter running away. I can't imagine how upset and worried you are feeling right now. I also feel for you daughter that she is in such a state where she wants to run away How are you going to pass the time while waiting for more information? I know this time period will be one of anxiety and stress for you. Sending positive thoughts to you and your family
10-26-2018 09:54 PM
Thank you @Taylor-RO I am going to work for a couple hours this morning since I feel so helpless anyway. I would say I am numb but there is too much pain. I going to keep pushing through until I hear from her. If anyone has any direction where I should go from here or a check list of things to cover when a teen runs away.....please send me a link.
10-27-2018 09:54 AM
Hi @sunflowermom I'm so sorry to hear that your daughter has run away, I can only imagine how stressful this must be I'm wondering if there has been any update from the police? It sounds like you are in a lot of pain, please know that we're here for you. I'm going to tag some of our members to see if they can provide advice on your question about a check list of things to cover when a teen runs away @Mumof1 @Schooner @taokat @Chalke5
10-27-2018 12:49 PM
Very sorry to hear that. I know the sort of pain you are feeling. Worried sick and helpless. I guess you've called people she might go and see; that's always hard. I know sitting around waiting is the hardest thing, but that's what you've got to do. Keep yourself sane and hope she manages to look after herself and come back. Maybe this will be a turning point for her. It's a difficult time for kids I think, that 14-15 year period.
Hang in there.
10-28-2018 04:47 AM
Oh sunflower mom,
I'm so sorry and, as a mom whose 15 year old gal ran away for a brief period, I am sending you a warm cyber-hug. I very much hope that you know more now. But, if you are still in the dark, I imagine you are terrified for her, feeling oh-so-worried about her, all while mending your own broken heart and keeping your family afloat.
My daughter ran away for about two weeks a number of months ago. We never would have predicted that we would have found ourselves in that position. But, I think many of us on these discussion boards have thought the same thing at some point.
The situation with our daughter was different in many ways, the most important being that our daughter had her phone with her and, as a result, we had intermittent access to her location. Also, she was still attending school and, after communicating with school administration, we had adult eyes on her (at least during day hours). Very different from your situation.
At the same time, I will share the things that we did as we tried to track her whereabouts.
1) Social media, most specifically snapchat. Is your daughter active on snapchat? Do you have her passwords? Do you have a snapchat account that follows her? Or, are you close to one of her snapchat friends that follows her? Does she do snapchat 'streaks' with friends? If so, then there may be the chance that she is logging on to her snapchat account through the phone of the guy with whom she left the facility.
Snapchat has that controversial/risky 'location sharing' feature which, in this case, might help. If she has that feature on, then you can find her location and, equally important, you might be able to figure out the identity of her 'companion'.
If you have access to her snapchat account (in that you have her password), can you toggle the location feature so that it is on? Can you contact any friends that might be trustworthy, and ask them if they have seen her location through snapchat?
2) We also tracked her location through other apps and this may not work if she doesn't have her phone. For example, our daughter has a particular coffee chain app on her phone. We communicated with her during the time she was away and said that we would keep money for this coffeeshop on her app so that we knew she had access to food. The advantage of this is that this app tracks purchases with time and location (which location was visited and when).
I realize that this may not be useful. Do you have any access to communications with her? Can you tell her that she can load up an app to a phone that is accessible--and then share the username/password with her of this app with her. Tell her that she can use the app to get access to food etc.
3) We tracked purchases/locations through bank card. I imagine that you may already be trying this if your daughter bought a bank card with her.
4) We sent her messages through social media (can you communicate with her through instagram or any other social media?).
a) We told her that we weren't mad. We were concerned. Could she send a selfie of herself so that you can see her face? Can she send some sort of message/evidence to you so that you know she isn't being held against her will?
b) We told her that she could come home whenever she wanted. She wouldn't be met with anger/punishment. She could home for a brief visit to get new clothes/take a shower. Our daughter took us up on this. She came home for just a few minutes to get some clothes. It broke my heart that she left again but I'm glad she did because we could prove to her that she wouldn't be met with anger.
c) I invited her for a meal away from our house. On neutral territory.
d) We told her over and over again that she was missed. As hard and as artificial as it seemed, we tried to send non-urgent messages as well...a story about something that happened during the day that made us laugh and reminded us of her etc.
5) Do you have the password to her email address (in particular, the email address that may have been used to sign up for social media). If there is a log in to apple Id, instagram, and so on from a different device....then an email will often be sent to her email address alerting her to a new log in (and often gives the general location of the log in).
6) Her younger siblings did not know that she had run away. They just thought she was staying at a friends' houses. One of the sibling sent text messages and she replied to these messages. This has big risks, of course, and could easily have gone down a bad route. We didn't ask the sibling to send a message.
Sunflowermom...I know this is so hard...having a child whose decision making skews to the risky and dangerous, not knowing where our children are, not being able to keep them safe.
Are there people in real life who are supporting you? If so, please let them share your worry.
One thing that helped was writing to her in a journal. I would write her---about my love for her, concern, helplessness, frustration, sadness, fear...and, yes. sometimes, anger....
Please keep us updated, sunflowermom.
10-29-2018 11:26 AM
Thank you everyone for your kind words of support. @compassion your tips and list that you sent me was amazing.
She finally came home tonight. I was so afraid it was a trafficked situation because the man she was with was so much older. We have so much healing and planning to do to pick up the pieces but tonight she is home in her bed asleep with comfort and relief and her little dog by her side. I have never been to such a dark place in my entire life. My heart breaks for anyone who doesn't know where their child is. I will make it my mission to help other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.
10-30-2018 11:26 AM
I wrote you yesterday when I saw your post but I see that it never made it on to the boards. I will try again and hope that this message makes it through cyberspace and onto your computer screen where, I hope, all of your family is safe and under the same roof.
Thank you for updating us--I exhaled when I read that your daughter returned. I hope that she had a peaceful sleep and that you, in turn, had a chance to peak in and watch her while she was sleeping safely in her own bed.
Are you comfortable sharing any details about her return? I ask because the next few days will be unchartered territory, and I imagine that the next chapter will be partially shaped by whether it was a willing/voluntary return home versus a forced/involuntary return home.
I also imagine that you are skirting between many many emotions, sunflowermom. Yes, there is relief, but it may be mixed with something akin to terror (if she has done this once, will she do it again?) tempered with a dose of helplessness (what can i possibly do that will be slow down, if not turnaround, the danger).
Please know that I'm not trying to dampen the relief that she is home. I just know that when my daughter returned home (safe and somewhat willingly), I was terrified that she would do it again (and with fewer options of safe harbour) and, as a result, we walked (and still walk) on very fragile eggshells.
Well-meaning friends assumed that it was a 'happy reunion' and that we'd be falling into each other's arms in relief. But, that was far from the case, and I had to shed this sort of 'shame' that that scene was not our reality.
I will say this. You have been through a very traumatic event, and I don't use the word 'traumatic' lightly. Not knowing where our children are, at a time when they are the most lost and vulnerable...it's life-changing and soul-hurting. The terror and fear leaves its mark, sunflowermom. Please be tender with yourself and find support to help you deal with the ways in which this trauma has touched *you.
This board is testament to your tenacity. I see that you have surrounded your daughter with individual therapists, group counsellors, family therapists, DBT workshops, residential facilities and so on. I hope this community gathers around you, sees the healing that is necessary, and helps you plan next steps.
I am thinking about you and your daughter, and will be checking this board for updates from you.
10-30-2018 10:11 PM
Hi @compassion Thank you for your loving support! It was an amazing feeling having her home yesterday. We went to family counseling last night. She is engaging us with help and ideas to keep her safe. Of course our home is locked down and we are watching her but this is only for the moment as I really feel she doesn't want to run again. I am telling her this is a fresh start and I am saying all the things I wish I said to her before she left. Like it doesn't matter what she thinks her reputation is currently- she is worthy and loved and deserves those things. She never has to reveal any of her sexual past to a future boyfriend/friend etc. We have a fresh start and she can be anyone she wants to be- its not too late. In counseling me and her father said how much we love her. She has a voice and we will listen- we want her input, even on rules that effect her and defiantly on any feeling she is feeling. Today she will have coffee with a friend and I will leave them there alone. We are rebuilding trust but she understands it will be baby steps. We are planning to get away for a couple nights this weekend, my daughters and husband..... deciding between the ocean or the Redwoods. Our family just needs some quiet time together in nature to rebuild and enjoy each others company.