A Parent’s Worst Nightmare: A Missing Child


This past weekend we went to Ohio State University in Columbus, OH for our daughter’s track meet. Although we knew it could be a long day, we try to encourage our kids to support one another in all they do. So, we all packed up and left home around 5:40am, to spend the entire day at the track.

A brand new experience

We are completely new to the sport of track, so when we arrived we had no clue where to go or what to do. And it seemed people were everywhere. Fortunately we just happened to run into a friend of ours, and parent of our daughter’s teammates, as he was walking into the stadium.

He told us where the team was, and led my wife and two boys to where the other parents were sitting. Once I took our daughter, Jaicey, to her team and coaches I found our seats. Since we didn’t know what to do when we got there I left all our stuff in the car. So after sitting down, I asked our oldest son, Jackson, to come with me to get our stuff out of the car.

As we were walking out of the stadium I noticed one of Jaicey’s teammates standing in a line waiting, and looking lost. I remembered how it looked to us and how we felt, so I asked him if he knew where the team was. He said no, so I walked him to a point where he could see them on the track, and showed him how to get to down to the track.

Is this really happening?

As I turned back and looked down, I didn’t see Jackson. He was just right by my side as we were walking. I looked around my area and couldn’t see him anywhere near me. And all of a sudden it just seemed to be packed full of people. People were coming and going, people were standing in line, and it felt like one of those scenes from a movie when people lose track of their kids.

I began to get a little nervous and thought to myself, “surely, I could not have lost Jackson just walking to the car.” I’m sure the time that passed was less than 10 seconds, but it seemed like forever.

Then finally, I decided to walk in the direction we were walking, toward the stadium entrance. When I got close, I could see Jackson standing by the gate looking around for me. Phew! Thank God!

Apparently, in the midst of all those people he didn’t see me stop and he just kept going until he reached the gate and didn’t see me.

10 seconds is nothing compared to over 35 days

That was only seconds, I couldn’t imagine any longer. But as I type this post, there are over 200 young girls who’ve been missing from their parents for over five weeks! That is laying down at night not being able to kiss their daughter good night for 35 nights. That is eating meals at their dinner table and looking at an empty seat their child used to occupy for 35 days. That is going through a day without talking to, hearing from, or seeing their child…for 35 days.

Maybe you’ve heard about the school girls in Africa who were kidnapped from school. Maybe this is your first time hearing about it. I heard about it a few days after it happened, then kind of turned my attention to other news.

I can only imagine what those families are going through. Those seconds of my life seemed like forever and was definitely a living nightmare. But 5 weeks?? Over 35 days?? My heart is heavy and goes out to them.

What can we do to help?

Now, I’m no “political activist” or anything like that, so I really don’t even know what to do. On the other hand, I guess I am a “family activist,” and this situation is affecting hundreds of families. I know God has blessed me with this platform and the ability to communicate in writing, so I’m using it to share this story, which seems like nothing is being done.

Maybe some of you reading this are “political activists,” or know what to do in situations like this. Maybe alerting you, can lead to some action that will help the young girls be returned to their families.

At a minimum, I hope my story of losing my son for a few seconds, while the story of some families losing their daughters for weeks resonates with you and causes you to do what you can.

That may be to share my post with others, it may be to put your activist hat on and go to work, or it may bring you to your knees in fervent prayer to help bring back those girls.

Please share this post with others, and share any information you have about these kidnappings. When sharing on Twitter, use the hashtag #BringBackOurGirls.

photo credit: MegaBu7 via photopin cc

May 21, 2014