Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Delivery to Open Sky - A Kidnapping Story

I wasn’t able to get Jack to Durango in time for him to be received and “processed” by the Open Sky staff on Friday, which meant I had to spend the night in a hotel with him. This was a risky proposition. He was not a willing participant. The evening was filled with Jack’s condemnation of our parenting seasoned with expletives and threats of running away. He warned me that if I fell asleep I could expect him to have left in the night. I managed to stay awake until about 3am but finally surrendered to me need for sleep. I took the comforter off of the bed and laid down in front of the door, cutting off his only exit.

I don’t sleep well on the floor, especially when in the throes of what was essentially a kidnapping. I can understand Jack’s defiance. We had removed him from his life and friends. He left behind the comforts of home, his dogs and beloved guitar and piano. He was plunging headfirst into the great unknown. He knew that he’d be involved for at least 65 days. I’d oppose this scenario as well. I imagine his regrets were weighing pretty heavily on him too.

It took considerable effort to get Jack out of the hotel and moving towards the car. Every step of getting ready seemed to take forever. When we finally got outside he stopped in the parking lot, looked me in the eye and ran. There is a bike path behind the hotel and by the time he reached it he was 30 yards ahead of me, and pulling away. My 53 year-old body was unable to answer the call of sprinting fast enough to catch his youthful effort. As we ran down the path I removed my phone from my pocket and dialed 911. Through my labored breathing I described the situation to the dispatcher. She assured me that officers were on the way. The path rounded a corner and as I watched Jack disappear I feared that it would be the last time I ever saw him. He was terrified and seemingly desperate to elude authorities.

Upon rounding the corner myself I spotted two homeless guys exchanging cigarettes. I asked them if they had seen someone running down the path and they calming indicated that the runner had slid down the bank towards the Las Animas River. Following their direction, I too headed down the bank. There was Jack, hiding behind a bush.

When the first officer arrived on the path above us Jack agreed to talk with her. She was a specialist in negotiating and quickly talked Jack down. While they spoke I called Open Sky. Two of their intake experts were quickly dispatched to pick Jack up. I separated myself from the discussions to allow the experts to do their thing. I sat on a rock and sobbed uncontrollably. The stress of the last few months came out in a torrent.  My comfort and counsel came in the form of the two homeless guys that helped me find Jack. It’s odd how comforting a hug from a homeless man can be.

The Open Sky staff was successful at helping Jack reach a place of compliance. Together, the four of us went to a nearby restaurant and exchanged questions and answers. After 30 minutes or so we all went out to the parking lot. For five minutes Jack and I hugged and cried then said goodbye. I stood there silently as I watched Jack and the Open Sky team drive away.

Please help those that can't afford to save their own kids.


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At December 8, 2015 at 8:41 AM , Blogger Sarah Schwartz said...

Rick (and Lindsay and Kate),

I've seen these blogs posted through Margaret on FB. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope it is in some way an inspiration to other parents. I cannot imagine what is going through your hearts and lives, but want to give you guys a hug, high five, and thank you for fighting for Jack! Working in emergency medicine, I see parents just give up on their kids and throw their hands in the air. Having my own little boy now, i know i would go to th ends of the world for him. Help and blessings can indeed come from unexpected places and people. I hope and pray that your family is surrounded by the love of friends, family, and God and that this is an awesome new start for Jack.




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