WELCOME to my PARTY!!!
The month of November is a special time for me:
my second novel and sequel to
the second in the unsavory heritage series,
will be available 30 November on Amazon
Clara Bess wasn’t raised by her birth mother. Nor was she adopted.
“Clara Bess read, with shock and no small degree of confusion, the line on her birth certificate where her mother’s name should be. It did not read Lily Isabella Mayes.
Clara Bess was adopted.
Where, then, were the adoption papers?” (excerpted from the back-cover blurb)
Posts this month address children who, for whatever reason, are not raised or cared for by their birth parents. Clara Bess faces the journey of not only finding out who her birth mother was, but why she was raised with the family she knew.
There’s not much in this world more terrifying than when your child goes missing. I know, it’s happened to me twice, one false alarm and one very harrowing experience.
My oldest son tends to brood, and when he does, he’ll go off on his own to sort through whatever is on his mind. One afternoon when he was nine years old was such a day. I had scolded him for something and he went off to pout. I later called him for supper but he didn’t come down, nor did he respond. Not in the mood for his ill mood, I went to his room, but he was not there. I checked the (tiny) back yard. No sign of him. Nor was he out front. No. Sign. Of. Him. Anywhere. I checked upstairs and downstairs at least twice, every nook and cranny I could think of.
There was a foot alley behind our apartment building and I checked there, even though the gate was difficult to swing. By this time, neighbors were in on the search, as dusk was falling rapidly. Someone drove to the nearby park, shining headlights into the retaining pond. No sign of my son.
I checked upstairs and downstairs over and again. A neighbor checked upstairs and downstairs. I finally looked one last time, and there he was, snugged under his bedspread at the edge of his top bunk, quite hidden by the railing. And running quite a fever. He wasn’t missing, he was sick.
I felt stupid for not having seen my own child; then again more than one other neighbor looked in the same spot and didn’t see him either. But he was safe.
My second experience was not so pretty, although it ultimately did have a happy ending.
My daughter was not one of those children who cried hysterically at being dropped off at daycare; she was one who cried when it was time to leave. She’s always been a social butterfly.
Shortly after she turned two, however, she had a cold and my fiancé offered to let her stay home with him. My kids adored him; this would be his first time watching one of my kids. Child number two was in Pre-K so I dropped him off on my way to work. Son number one was in kindergarten and rode the bus; he knew it was time to go to the bus stop after a certain TV show was over. (I worked Friday – Monday and was home the other three days.)
Here’s the uncanny thing. I was at work, and asked my coworker if she ever got premonitions about her son. I had the strangest feeling that when boy child left for the bus, the front door did not close all the way, and girl child was outside. (This was not uncommon with our door.)
When I went home on my lunch break my heart stopped—my front door was WIDE OPEN. And I knew. My child was not in the house. Fiancé was asleep on the couch—something I had done many times with the kids in and out.
Turns out she put on her coat and shoes (I’ll never forget that yellow hooded coat) and wandered down the street looking for her brother. The lady in the rental office was new and didn’t recognize her, and at two years old my daughter wasn’t verbal enough to say, “Oh, I just live down here.” Rental lady called the sheriff, who call DSS, who put my daughter in a foster home. A foster home!
This was on a Friday. A court date was set for the following Monday. The whole weekend was surreal, like a dream. Like my baby girl was asleep upstairs, safe and sound. I don’t know how I functioned for three days.
When we got to court, the caseworker told me the case would not go any further, there would be no hearing, and he would bring my daughter home later that day.
That was more than thirty years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.
It can happen so easily. No evil intent, no parental negligence. I hit the curb driving once because I sneezed; a child wandering off can happen just as quickly.
While no child missing is a trivial case, there are some cases that are more critical, or higher risk. The younger the child, the greater the risk. As with my daughter, who could not speak for herself versus a child even a year older, who could answer questions about where he or she lives, or where is Mommie or Daddy. Children with health risks like asthma or diabetes that require regular treatment or medication are at higher risk.
Autism presents a particular set of circumstances. Already high maintenance, nearly half of all children on the autism spectrum will wander off. One third of those are non-verbal. Immediate responders will need as much information as possible, for any child, but especially for a child with autism—unique interests or their favorite places, anything that might be particularly appealing to the child. Water holds a high attraction for children on the autism spectrum, and any bodies of water should be the first target areas for searchers to check.
My former neighbor’s son is autistic, and he is fascinated with trains. A track runs along the edge of our neighborhood, and an inland port was built not long ago. For this child, that would be a primary target area for searchers. Some things that can be triggers for autistics, can also be attractions for them—bright lights or traffic lights, fire trucks, busy roadways or signs—the more detail searchers have about your child, the greater success in locating him or her.
A key preventive measure in bringing about a successful search is to let those closest to the child know specifics about your child, favorite color, favorite food, particular interests, or things they’re afraid of. Not only will neighbors be well-informed when speaking with searchers, but they will be better equipped to assist in the search.
One of my favorite authors, Marian P. Merritt, has written a story about a son missing. For twenty years. Yet his mother never gave up. All common sense and logic urged her to let go, to move on. But she knew in her heart he was not dead. She knew she would find him some day. Some day. The Moon Has No Light was my second read by Ms. Merritt, and I highly recommend it, an intense and gripping read.
As in Ms. Merritt’s story, a missing child is just as important to the parent after ten, twelve, twenty years, as he is the day he goes missing. The place in a parent’s heart that belongs to that child will never be filled by anything or anyone else.
I found my information at http://www.missingkids.com.
As of April of this year, the NCMEC, National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has assisted in recovering nearly a quarter of a million children. Hard to fathom that many children missing, and that is their recovery rate.
As much as no one wants to think about it, it is best to be prepared in the event that your child goes missing. NCMEC provides a checklist in the initial stages.
First thing is to call local law enforcement immediately.
Then call the NCMEC at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678) It’s a free call.
Check closets, piles of laundry, in and under beds—especially under the covers—inside large appliances, vehicles, basement, attics, under the stairs (there was a closet under the stairs in the apartment where we lived when my son went “hiding.”) Check anywhere your child could crawl or hide.
If you are in a store, notify the store manager.
Be prepared to provide law enforcement with your child’s name, date of birth, height, weight and descriptions of any other unique identifiers such as eyeglasses and braces. Tell them when you noticed your child was missing and what clothing he or she was wearing.
Request law enforcement authorities immediately enter your child’s name and identifying information into the FBI’s National Crime Information Center Missing Person File.
This has been a long post, and a not fun post, but a vital one. A sneezed and I almost wrecked my car. A sneeze while at a park with my kids and my child could be snatched. It can happen that fast. And cell phones! Don’t even!!! If you’re out with your kids, BE with your kids. Don’t text or Facebook at the playground. The results could be as deadly as any wreck on the highway.
Awareness and preparedness are the greatest defense against anything happening to our kids. I hope my post has helped you in some way to understand, or to be prepared. Be involved with your neighbors. Be aware of kids on your street or your apartment building. Be part of the solution.
This month has been about family. Tragedy happens, the unthinkable happens. And life keeps going. We are resilient creatures, we find our way back. We rebuild, we recover. We thrive. Not all stories have a happy ending, but we can make our happy ending. We grow as families, and we become the strongest and the best we can.
If you haven’t already, be sure to stop by and like my Facebook page, follow me on Twitter, on my blog! Please leave me a comment, let me know you’re here!
“I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!
Ms. Mason has been writing since 1995, and began working in earnest on her debut novel, Tessa in 2013. Meanwhile, she cranked out a few dozen poems, and made countless notes for story ideas. Ms. Mason lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; she didn’t want to be who she was and struggled with her own identity for many years. Her characters face many of these same demons.
Ms. Mason has lived in the Upstate of South Carolina since 1988. She lived in Colorado for sixteen years, during which time she: went to high school, got married, had babies, got divorced and went to college. Her “babies” are now grown, two have babies of their own. She currently lives alone, with her five cats.
Ms. Mason writes Christian-worldview–in other words, there’s no salvation message, but there are plenty of characters who know the Lord and share His perspective with those who are struggling.
#CLARABESSRELEASEDAY, #robinemason, #unsavoryheritageseries, #tessa, #cissy, #missingchildren, #NCMEC, #autisticchildren, #themoonhasnolight, #awarenessandpreparedness