The call came while I was getting ready for a business trip to Denver. J had been staying with friends while we worked through getting her psychological testing done. Staying home was not an option; she had admitted to our not being safe from her actions. My husband and I had been called into the doctor's office several times to discuss the bizarre behavior, her history with bio-families and being jerked back and forth between bio mom and dad and a great-aunt, and the "stories" J had begun telling. Stories that went beyond "cameras in the bedroom." These were stories about having been in the car with her mother during a store robbery gone bad. Someone had been shot. The only reason J was still alive was that she hid behind a Dumpster. This was just one of a new list of about 15.
Of course none of it was true.
We brought in our paperwork. Our proof, if you will. We poured our hearts out, expressed our concern. Our love. Our desire to see our little girl get whatever treatment she needed so she could come home.
And then the call came. J's aunt had asked to take her shopping two days earlier. I'd said yes, told the aunt where she could pick J up from, and then asked her to stop by and pick up some money. "She needs jeans," I said. And so the aunt, who happens to also be my dear friend, did so. We shared our hopes that this nightmare would soon be over. We had no idea...
The day after the shopping spree, she called. J's arms were covered in cuts. She asked J about it, and J claimed she fell while going over a fence. But the aunt was wise. Persistent. "Did you do that to yourself?" she asked.
J admitted she had.
Self-mutilation. This was new. I called the friend J was staying with; she confirmed that J's arm held somewhere between 30 and 50 cuts, elbow to wrist. She'd just been told by her daughter and was about to call me, she said. She took a photo and mailed it to my phone.
My next call was to J's therapist.
"That's it," she said. "We have to do something. I'm having her Baker Acted."
I spent the rest of the day forgetting about packing and, instead, talking on the phone with the hospital where J had been admitted just five months earlier. Ironically, the admissions clerk said to me, "I knew she'd be back."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"I just knew. I knew she wasn't really ready to go home back in August." She then said I may want to think about residential. Not that it was her call, but I needed to prepare myself, based on what she knew about J previously, added to the current issue.
My only question: would it bring J back to us? Not just physically ... but emotionally and mentally as well.
I was scared. And I missed my baby girl.
It was a call that changed everything, but it didn't hold a candle to the one that came a few days later.