She was the most beautiful baby her mother, Shawna, had ever seen. She hugged her newborn infant, Holly, to her breast and poured every ounce of love into she could.
Every day, Holly was sweeter than the day before. Mother and daughter had a special bond between them that only they could understand.
Finally the big day came. Shawna dressed her baby in pink lace and polished her tiny fingernails with a pale pearl polish. All their friends and family gathered at the church to see her christening. The baby was loved by many and she had a promising future.
Time has a way of passing in the blink of an eye and so it did. Holly was toddling all over the house and performing all kinds of stunts that made Shawna laugh. Life was wonderful.
Holly was a happy baby. She was clean and healthy and to her mother’s surprise, very well-behaved. Everyone described her as a little angel. Her first word was, “Dada.”
Shawna shot her husband a playful dirty look and said with her hands on her hips, “Hey, why is it, she says your name first when I am the one that feeds and changes her?” Her husband laughed and shrugged his wide shoulders to signal he didn’t know. He didn’t have an answer but he was thrilled.
Holly continued to grow. She did well in school and was loved by everyone in the community. She waved at her neighbors when she was playing outside and smiled at strangers in the grocery store. Her popularity in school grew and soon she was elected to be a cheerleader.
For her twelfth birthday, she was thrilled! Her parents had bought her a cell phone. All her friends had one! She immediately ran to her room to talk on it.
Shawna was beginning to get worried about Holly. They never talked anymore. Her grades were falling in school and she quit the cheerleading squad. She did not know how to help her child. Holly was moody, irritable, and exploded when asked to do her chores. They had become strangers.
Holly started disappearing and would not come home on time nor would she be where she said she was. Shawna was frantic. She didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to for help. One night, Holly disappeared overnight.
Things had gotten so far out of hand Shawna couldn’t believe it was happening. She did not want to get her child in trouble with the law but she was afraid. She talked to local law agencies and found that she had done the right thing. If she had not reported it within a certain time frame, she would have likely been charged with neglect or child endangerment.
With their help, she found Holly and took her back home. They discovered Holly had met a man on a social media site and ran away to be with him. Holly had stated she was much older than 14 on her profile. The man, who did not care what age she was anyway, had at first, declared his undying love for Holly. Over a period of time he introduced her to sex, drugs and prostitution. It did not take long for Holly to become addicted to meth.
Holly is a recovering addict.
Their family is not alone. This has happened to thousands of children. No child is immune to the mesmerizing hype of social media. Parents must take an aggressive stance to save their children from a life that is hard to exit.
If you know of anyone that is at risk, here are a couple of hotlines that can be accessed for help! There are many more. I urge you to hunt until you find one that fits your special circumstances. Our children are at risk!