I have had a lot of heartache in my life but when my 17-year-old daughter went missing it just about drove me over the edge. I found out that she was on the streets doing whatever she could do to get her hands on crack.
I went to the courthouse wanting to talk to a judge about getting a warrant to have her arrested, but they do not let you talk to a judge. They gave me an application to fill out explaining why I thought she needed to be arrested. With tears running down my face I had to write what I thought she was doing. No mother ever wants to write the words her daughter is selling herself for drugs. Even though this was 20 years ago, I am fighting back the tears by just writing this. I also told him I thought she was in danger.
The judge issued a warrant for her to be picked up and what they call Baker Acted. It took over a week before they found her. They told me her car was impounded and she would be held in a place for rehabbing people with this problem or mental issues. But they will only keep her for 72 hours.
My husband had gone fishing and I had no one to go with me to get her car. I did not want any more charges for it staying impounded. I drove to the impound and got her car out, they would not let me leave it in the parking lot until my husband came in. So I drove it down the road, parked it and walked back to the impound and got my truck, drove my truck past the car and parked, walked back to the car, and drove it past my truck. I did this until I reached the fish house where I left my truck and walked back to where I left the car and drove it home. Later my husband took me back to the fish house to get my truck.
Besides the Baker Act the judge ordered her to be what they call a Murphy Act where she was to be placed in rehab for 6 months.
I spent every minute I could talking to every rehab I could get a number for and when I would get turned down they would give me another number to try. I had never done so much begging and getting turned down in my life. The problem was the adult places would not take her because she was not yet 18 and the juvenile places would not take her because in three months she will be 18 and the court order was for 6 months and she would be too old to spend the entire 6 months with them.
In the 72 hours, she was kept I also had to work. While I was at home I tried to not cry all the time because my husband saw how much I was crying on the phone with the rehabs so I would hold it in but on the river, I would cry uncontrollably. One time I was running in the channel not paying attention, crying and turned my boat and at the last second got my wits and saw I was just about to turn in front of a huge yacht. I then knew I had to do something to get control of my crying and pay attention to what was around me.
The 72 hours were up and I had to bring her home and still did not have a place for her to go. I picked her up and all the way home she begged me not to send her to rehab. She promised she would never do drugs again, I knew this was nothing but twisted truth and anyway, the judge ordered her to go.
I kept her with me every second of every day and every night. I was still calling rehabs and getting turned down but they would give me other numbers to try.
She was acting like a princess sitting on a marble pilar doing everything I asked. I still had to work so I took her fishing with me. I was afraid she would take off at night while I slept so every night I took duct tape and taped our wrists together, I put her on the couch and I slept on the floor. This was hard on me but I did not know what else I could do.
I had the key to her car and after a few days she asked if she could get some things out of it, I had already gone through it, even though I figured the cops did the same. I told her I would unlock it but was not giving her the key. I handed her a garbage bag and told her to clean it out.
It was weeks before I finally got a place to take her, by then I was as run down as I think a person can get. This place was only two hours away.
I took her to it and all the way she was pulling at my heartstrings telling me she will be good and please don't do this but it was not my choice. When we drove to it the first thing I noticed is it was not in a very good area. I guess with her being on the street she could spot drug dealers and would point them out to me and telling me yea mom this looks like the place for me, sure. Which pulled harder on those damn heartstrings. This was hard enough for me without her adding to it.
We pulled into the parking lot and it was not what I had expected, it was in no way a steel fortress but looked like several offices, the building was all one story and linked together, the living quarters were small with four girls to the room.
It was my first night back in my bed but I still could not rest, my heart was still hurting and I can remember silently crying myself to sleep.
I went to see her every Sunday and she would tell me what all they have been doing. They have an obstacle course where you need to trust others to be there for you, they went on a survival camping and hiking trip in Georgia. They canoed the Peace River. I thought she was liking the things they were doing.
Then I get a phone call from her, she only had a couple of weeks left and she said she was sitting at the store closest to the rehab and I asked why was she there, she told me she left the rehab. This is ten at night and knowing it was not a good area for her to be in I jumped in my truck and drove the 2 hours as fast as I could go.
It was after midnight when I got there, she was sitting at the corner of the store, I was scared all the way there that all I could do when I saw her was give her a big hug. Then I told her I was taking her back to the rehab and she told me if I went that way, she would jump out of the truck and take off. I agreed to take her home.
I thought the rehab would turn her in for not staying the entire six months but no one ever came to get her. She got a job and did well for several years.
She had the personality that everyone enjoyed being around. Always laughing and very happy. I was so proud of the person she was until four years ago.
She started dating a guy who makes and sells meth. It has done something to her mind. She is no longer happy, she rarely smiles and is afraid everyone is out to get her. She says I am in the wall of her room. She has jumped in a canal with gators at night trying to get away from me and I was not there. She has been Baker Acted but it has not done any good. I am told since she is an adult there is nothing I can do other than having her Baker Acted. All I can do is cry and pray for her. Damn the tears.