Friday, March 09, 2007

The Most Horrifying Day Ever.

This has been the most horrifying day of my life ever. I am still a nervous wreck and thanking God every moment we still have K.C. with us. This is how it started. Last night K.C. would not go to sleep until about 2:30 a.m. When he did get to sleep he woke again itching and itching at 4:00 this morning. I gave him the liquid the Dr. gave us to take by mouth which was for itching and supposed to make him very sleepy. I also put the cream on him for the Eczema but he was still awake when it was time for Big Brother to be off to school. Took Big Brother to school, K.C. fell asleep in the car and he actually walked into the house half asleep and headed for the sofa. He feel asleep. My Mom always told me, "when he sleeps you sleep so you can recharge." Well I did just that. I woke up about 15 minutes later and could not find K.C. I searched the house twice and then noticed the front door with a tiny bit of light coming through the crack and knew he had escaped. I ran out the door and looked in every direction and didn't see him. I ran back home and called 911 and told then I couldn't find him, he's Autistic, his name, what he was wearing. God I was so horrified my throat felt like it was closing and I couldn't breath. I cannot begin to tell you how many thoughts rushed through my mind. I stayed on the phone with the operator and told her there was a canal behind our condo to hurry to hurry and she said the police was looking as we were talking. A patrol car came and I signaled him. The officer stepped out and said we found a little boy about 7 years old with no clothes on near Dobson and Southern Rd. I thought he was dead I swear I did. He didn't bring K.C. to me but took me to where they had found him. There were three Police Cars and I seen K.C. standing with two male officers wearing an over sized t shirt and drinking a sunny delight. Before I could run over to him a female Officer asked me, "is that your son?" I said "yes" and she said he was found in traffic and a motorist had to stop to get out of his car and stop traffic from coming and another motorist took K.C. out of the traffic. The motorist took his shirt off and put it on K.C. and by that time neighbors had come out and the motorist who saved K.C. from getting killed on that street left. I thank God that motorist was there, I thank God he is still here with us tonight. God gave us a second chance. I thought about how I had named him Chance, my first son, my Autistic son. I could not find any words to tell the officer only tears. She was really letting me have. I deserved it I still deserve it, I feel now I don't deserve to have him because he almost got killed. I will never forgive myself ever. The male officers brought K.C. to me and K.C. just walked past me and was trying to walk to the flashing police lights. The female officer said, "he's getting away from you again." The male officer said he should have been wearing an I.D. bracelet. The officers drove us home and came inside with us and asked more questions. I did my best to explain that we were both taking a nap, we had been up most the night, I have the backyard pad locked shut, the front door has two locks on the inside and a security door on the outside. A total of four locks. The alarm WAS NOT ON. Last night College Boy went for his nightly run, when he came back I told him to be sure to lock the doors. I forgot to tell him to turn the alarm on. The alarm was off. The officer wrote as I explained and in the end she said she was forwarding this incident to a Detective and it would be up to him to decide if he wants to file Neglect charges against me. I was in shock. To think I could lose K.C. and send him to a foster home kills me. I was negligent. K.C. is my responsibility and I am supposed to protect him always. This is not going to happen again ever. The officer did tell me to go to Home Depot and buy these locks to put on each door. You have to have a key to get the lock open, only a key will open it. She said I would hear from a detective in about three weeks. Am I going to lose K.C.? Should I get a lawyer? Is there an Autism Advocacy group that can help if the Detective presses charges? I don't know what to do. I don't want to lose my son. I am getting an ID bracelet, I realized that when K.C. escaped he went the same direction we always take day after day and I should have known he would have went that direction as he hates to change routes. Thank God we are getting a second Chance. I am so grateful to the Motorist and to God.



Sam I Am said...

God is amazing. I have been super crazy lately and hadn't had a chance to get caught up with my autism mommies till tonight, and my heart told me I should check out yours first.

I was on my knees praying as soon as I read your blog. You and Chance are in my prayer box around my neck.

First though, As a teacher/mandatory reporter of child abuse, they would have taken KC on the spot if they were truly concerned. If you were truly negligent, to leave him in your care for 3 more weeks would then be negligent of them!!! They will have an investigator come out just to cover their "butts", to say they documented it, which means it won't show up on any records if there are no charges. At least that is my experience.

But...if you have a pediatrician whom you work well with, it might not hurt to have him write about Autism and the safety issues associated with it. You could even be so bold as to get the info from Autism Society of America. They have a great safety packet you can get that also has a sticker for your car and house that says an Autistic child lives there and may run away from help, etc... They offer trainings to police and fire on how to approach and help rescue autistic children. It may be worth it to have info ready to give the investigator when they came (he he), kind of to put a little on them, like they should know what to expect and that they should know our little ones can be escape artists!

You did NOTHING wrong. Your mother is and was absolutely right. People who have children who sleep at night have no idea what it is like. We all make mistakes. I have forgotten to turn the alarm on many times, and Sam will just walk out the patio door straight into snow with nothing on.

You are one of my most inspirational moms I look forward to reading and learning from. You will continue to be.

Forgive yourself, God has already forgiven you.

Love ya dear. Prayers from the heartland!!!

kristina said...

Big, big hug. To you first of all. I'm making some inquiries with friends in the know about what to do.

Autism Reality NB said...


I had a very similar experience a few years ago with my now 11 year old son Conor who has Autism Disorder and is described by his pediatrician as profoundly autistic. I have no knowledge of the law in your jurisdiction but I would be surprised if one incident where your child got lose caused you to lose custody of your child to local authorities. Particularly since you acted immediately upon becoming aware of the situation and were not out drinking etc. I commend you for telling your story.

My experience with Conor is at the following url if you want to read it.

Mamaroo said...

Oh My God, Tina! I am so sorry!!! Thank God that K.C. is alright. Please don't beat yourself up about this. This is not your fault. If Roo was taking a nap and I had been up all night with him the night before, you can bet I would have been taking a nap also. You had the doors locked. This is exactly the reason that the law enforcement needs to be more educated in autism. To protect our children, not to place blame on the parents who are doing everything humanly possible every day to help and take care of their children. It will be alright, I am sure. I am sure if you explain the precautions that you have taken to protect K.C. the detective will understand. I will say a prayer for all of you. Thank God K.C. is fine!!!!

Jan B said...

I am so sorry that you had to go through this, but so happy that your son was found and is ok.

You are not the only one!!! Charlie is a stripper and he is a wanderer. He has gotten away from us too. Each time we end up having to ramp up our security. He has gone out windows to play in the snow buck naked. We fight this all the time. Just a minute ago he got out with no coat, no shoes, no hat and it is about thirty. I pray for rain because he won't go out in the rain.

We started our house security with slider bolts up high on the inside of the doors, that lasted until about two years ago when he got big enough to get a chair and open them. Since the last episode last year when a neighbor brought him home from way down the road where he had been in the highway, we have keyed deadbolts with the key never, ever left in them. It is a fire hazard, but frankly, the wandering is a worse hazard because he WILL wander. You can get locks which are keyed the same, so one key opens them all. Ask about how to find the codes on the boxes find sets keyed alike. They are easy to install, get a key installation set and you need a power drill. You can do it.

We also have window locks and a system installed in the windows themselves so that they only open three inches. That's a pain. And Charlie knows how to operate them, so we have to come up with something new. Those stupid alarms that sound when the windows open are useless. He just shuts the window fast. Charlie has gone out second story windows, he has been out on the roof. It is so hard to deal with. What's next for us, bars?

Please don't feel like a bad mother about this. You had a lapse in security, this will make you more conscious (paranoid) of it in the future, like we all are.

One time we had to stop on the side of the road when Charlie was three. We were retieing the Christmas tree which was falling off the car. Charlie was in his child car seat. Next thing we know he was in the highway. That was the end of trusting him to buckles and belts. Houdini. We are raising Houdini.

Oh, and he is sure that he knows how to drive the car and has been putting stuff in the microwave and turning it on. Lord help us all.

Jan B said...

I just went to this site:

and made Charlie a bracelet. You might want to check it out. I put our address, phone number on it as well as our names and "limited speech ability" and autism. I just hope that we can keep it on him.


Anonymous said...

you are a wonderful mother. you have the hardest job in the world. it is not easy being his mommy and to even think that they would take him away is crazy. if that officer files neglect charges, you have a whole lot of readers that I bet would bombard him/her with our thoughts. you DID not neglect him. we ALL have close calls with our kids. Now you know-you fix the situation and move on. An ID bracelet is a good idea-if he will wear it. have him finger printed at the police station, write the officer a letter, tell him to read about KC here and I am sure that you will be fine. Fingerprints are great for kids like him-they have him on record and that info can be shared all over the place if need be. You poor thing....glad KC is o but YOU need to be ok too.

Mom without a manual said...

Oh my! I am so sorry about that scary experience! Yes, thankfully it all worked out!

First off, you can't punish yourself. We are human and far from perfect. Dealing with Autism sometimes makes us think that we have to be perfect--after all we have less room for error.

Regarding the police. I don't know. I guess the key is to show that you learned from the experience. By getting the locks that need the key and a ID bracelet on KC you will demonstrate that you took the event seriously! I think what would lead to the legal and custody issues is if you just blow off the event and don't show that you tightened security.

However, in my opinion you do seem to already take his safety seriously with the 4 locks and the alarm. It was just an unfortunately series of events that allowed the escape(lack of sleep, alarm not on...).

Wow! My pulse just picks up thinking about it. Yes, thank God for the motorist! But promise me that you will only spend a few minutes lecturing yourself and then move on. You don't need punished! You learned what could happen and now know that you have to increase your vigilance. Make some changes to the home security and hug your son!!!!

Please give him a hug for me! Give yourself one as well!

mcewen said...

Dear Tina, [yahoo thingy doesn't work with Firefox] so I wanted to let you know that we are all thinking of you and your family today. We have locks on windows and doors, chains, alarms...I have fallen asleep with my arms wrapped around a child to ensure that he couldn't escape, but as you sleep you lose that grip. I am so glad that he came home safely.
Best wishes

Anonymous said...

You really need to get a good attorney to fight the district in order to get him a high number of hours and an intensive program with appropriate services. The district is responsible for all of this and they are getting away with not paying for this child's appropriate education. Please, see if a special ed attorney in your state does cases pro-bono or if there are state funded attorneys who could take on your case. You could easily win this with the right kind of person (advocate or attorney) working on your case.

Anonymous said...

My dear friend Tina, I am going to write to you right now, I had no idea that you had gone through such a traumatic event. You need tons of support, you deserve it too! We love you so much and send love and hugs to the three of you. I hope this comment sends, I will explain my problems with it in the letter.
Lora and Griffin

Melissa H said...

OH my gosh, Tina. I was sick all weekend and just read this. I started crying as I read it because I know how scared you were. Remember when we first moved and Conor found his way out our door, opened the garage and was out in our neighborhood somewhere? You did nothing wrong. Our kids don't understand, and it is obvious that those officers didn't understand, either.
I have no wise words beyond what everyone else has written, but I am praying and praying over your family. My heart is absolutely breaking for you. As a mother, we beat ourselves up enough. As the mother of a special needs child, it is a wonder that the bruises don't show from the mental beatings that we give ourselves. So much love and hugs to both of you.

MileMasterSarah said...

This made me so sad to read this. I am sorry about your terrible experience. I hope you know that you did nothing wrong. Please do not be so hard on yourself. Sandis was quite the wanderer when he was younger, and more than once he wandered out of the house at 2 or 3 am only to be returned to me by police. I hadn't even known he was gone! I used to nap at the same time Sandis napped during the day because of his crazy sleep habits at night, and I was told by child services that I was not allowed to nap! Sandis was not diagnosed until he was six, so if he had been diagnosed when he was two, I think that things would have been less troublesome for me. I do agree that I doubt they would have sent him home with you if they were truly worried about his safety at home. I hope you find your peace with this, and give your KC a big kiss and hug. We all know you love him and you do your best. And yes, your best is good enough. KC is lucky to have you

Anonymous said...

TINA!!!!!! I am such a boob as in doof as in I AM SO SORRY I have not been by before this. K.C. will be just fine. Do you remember a few years back maybe more then that by now but a young boy in Mesa was spotted ontop of one of those BIG POWER TOWERS well his big brother climbed up after him they were stuck there for hours!!!!! Police,, choppers,,, and fire all took so long to get them kids off. BOTTOM LINE THEY DID GET DOWN AND NOBODY WAS EVER CHARGED You will be fine. Hey here is my e amil if you need anything I am just around the corner email me and I will give you my fone number. hang in there kiddo everything will be jsut fine. Thanking God right now,,, it is me jaye tina your thing is messed up

kyra said...

oh my god, what a terrifying day. i CAN NOT imagine how frightening this must have been for you! i am SO relieved that kc is back with you, WHERE HE BELONGS! of course, you weren't negligent. i don't believe it. you are SUCH an incredible mother to him, there for him, with him, loving him, protecting him, teaching him. this happened but you are not at fault. life happens. they can't take him from you. the police officer doesn't really *get* it. they can't or there would have been more compassion and understanding.

i'm just glad kc is with you. i wish i lived closer. i'd bring over dinner for the entire week.

Joeymom said...

I am SO GLAD that K.C. is OK. We have had to install double-keyed locks on our doors because my little guy will also walk right out. He keeps running into the street, and it is driving me bonkers, since I also have a younger guy to hold onto. I can't imagine how terrifying it must be to have K.C. actually disappear and wander like that. Praying hard I never know, and you never have to go through it again!

I think those police officiers, giving you such a hard time, need some training. Serious training.

Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

Oh tina that is HORRIFIC! I'm so relieved he's ok! What a nightmare for you!!!


Club 166 said...

Just found your blog from a comment you left somewhere else.

Glad this worked out OK.

I echo that the police by you need a serious dose of training.

And if someone wants to take him away (trust me, they won't with one incident), tell them they need to take him to their own house for 24 hours before they make a decision. They'll be begging you to take him back before the day is done. This is not to say that our kids are bad or undesirable. But other people really don't get it when it comes to what is involved in taking care of little expert escape artists.