Last night, about 12:30 am, I heard a loud rapping on our door. When I came into the living room, flashlights were shining in the window. The police were at our house.
At least a half dozen police cars were on our street. Our front sidewalk was filled with men in uniforms. And they asked for my youngest daughter's name. My heart sunk.
An officer asked me to describe my daughter. Hispanic, five feet, long, dark hair. They took me to the back of a squad car to identify her. Yes, that's my daughter.
We stepped away for a bit. The police were searching for two men seen breaking into cars. Ms. D was hiding between our cars in the driveway. After midnight. She was wearing a red belt. I had been easing up on the no gang colors rule lately, since we haven't had birth family contact and Ms. D doesn't go anywhere without me. At least I thought.
More police came. They cuffed her and put her in the back of a squad car. Then they knocked on our door to see if her story matched. "Is she our daughter?" "Yes." "Does she have a friend named M.?" "Yes." "Is M. a good influence?" "So, so. M. is Ms. D's only friend. We homeschool her. Ms. D is mentally retarded, even though she doesn't look it. She is very gullible. She has fetal alcohol."
The police were understanding. They explained that they technically couldn't book her, even for being out after curfew, since she was still on our property. They warned us about even having a red shoelace, since we are in Norteno territory. The police took her out of the squad car and walked her back to our house, where we were talking to other officers. They took the cuffs off Ms. D's arms. We hugged.
The story was that Ms. D's friend, M., had told Ms. D it would be fun to sneak out of the house at midnight. Ms. D was nervous about it. She had even told us before bed that she was stressed and was plucking her eyelashes. She put mascara on, explaining that that helped her from pulling them out. She wouldn't tell us what was bothering her. So we all went to bed. At midnight, she climbed out of her window. We have alarms on the doors, but we didn't put one on her window. Guess who's window is going to get one now? She waited for M. on our driveway, but the police found her first. They thought that she was a gang member because of the red belt, so they were stern with her, had her lean against the van while they cuffed her, and put her in the squad car. I thank God that they were there to keep her safe. A girl in our area has disappeared. There were burglars out. Our neighborhood is relatively safe, but a silly girl, even two silly girls out at night...Well, it can be a parent's nightmare.
After the police left, Hubby went to M.'s house. M.'s parents were concerned. M. was in her room, but had makeup on and was dressed to go outside. She has used Ms. D to meet up with boys at the park before. M. is the same age, is overweight and boy crazy. Ms. D attracts boys and doesn't pick up that she could be used by her friend like that. M's parents and we have restricted the girls' freedom, knowing that their judgement wasn't the best. We didn't suspect they would sneak out at night. Ms. D is normally afraid to go out after dark. But it doesn't surprise us at all. I am so thankful we got to identify her at the back of a squad car, instead of a morgue or jail. I pray she remembers this, and will ask us in the future if something doesn't seem right.
FAS affects people's judgement. There is a reason that most are in jail or have teen pregnancies. They need "external brains", people around them who can tell them if they are making good decisions or bad ones.
I am so glad for God's protection for my little girl. I'm thankful that the police found her before the burglars, some other criminals, or even boys. I'm thankful she got caught, and learned that sin will be exposed. I'm thankful that the police were a bit rough with her, thinking she might be a gang member at first, so that she will stop wearing red. And I'm thankful for this opportunity to show unconditional love and that we will do anything to keep her safe.