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A letter from a Team HOPE volunteer

We too are the parents of a missing child, recovered child or an exploited child. We truly know what it means to miss your child and be worried about your child so badly that you ache inside, to cry until it is impossible to cry another tear and to feel guilty that the tears won't come. We have also felt the guilt that comes with laughter and the overwhelming aloneness that no one ever understands.

We live with a deep, deep sorrow that threatens to overtake us at times. We feel that if we cannot hold it at bay we will cross some invisible line and simply never make it back.

And yet, we have survived. In spite of the fact that sometimes we wish we would not. We simply do. Finding a balance between the unbelievable pain and sadness and the ability to survive becomes our life issue. To fight for our children we have to survive. In spite of the pain. In spite of the sadness. In spite of the offenders who live and breathe when we do not know if our children live and breathe. And if by some chance our children do not make it home, and there is no hope for them, then we fight to convict the person who stole them from us and the person who exploited them.

It is for all of these things that we must survive. We must also survive because if we don't, then the person who took, enticed or exploited our child wins. And it is our firm belief that the person who took our children and their innocence will not steal one more thing from our families.

We are proud of you for hanging in there as long as you have. You are not crazy. You are not alone. We wish that all of us weren't here, but we are. And now, we are all here for each other. We understand the feelings, the anger, the sadness, the need to laugh and the out-of-control ride of this huge and powerful roller coaster.

If you don't already, we would encourage you to make a journal of the things going on around you, both good and bad. When the lovely, warm memories surface, write them down. When the terrible thoughts, feelings and events overtake you, write them down. Writing things down gives you some control over events that otherwise seem to be beyond your control.

We are sharing our HOPE with you today. We want you to use it until you feel strong enough to stand on your own again. Please remember that you are not alone anymore. We are here. All of our volunteers at Team HOPE are here for you. We are only a phone call or an email away.

Sharing in your hope,
Team HOPE

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