Our 19 year old daughter, adopted from Russia at almost 11, has not lived under our roof for about 8 months now. We have done all that could to help her with her abusive past in Russia. We have done years of therapy with a dozen therapists, wilderness therapy for 8 weeks, and residential therapy school for a year. This has cost us lots of time, energy and of course, money. But we’d do it all again to try to help her. (It amazes me when people ask if we regret spending all this money on her.) The therapy is there and sometimes we see glimpses of it. She will use it when she is ready.
Last May, we made a family contract with simple home rules for her to follow and we would help her graduate high school and then get her into a cosmetology school. One rule was that she had to come home on school nights. (I know, we are tough…ha!) She broke the rule and had to leave. She chose to go live with her boyfriend and his family. She has been there ever since.
We have told her that we still help her with future schooling if she can get a job and her GED. Neither has been accomplished. Sleeping until late afternoon each day might play a role in this somewhat. We do get along better now that she isn’t home with us. I have a hard time not doing the ‘lecturing’ about getting a job and an education. I try not to. She knows she needs to do these things to go to cosmetology school.
I am still her mom and love her. I wish she was making better choices…but am glad that many really bad choices she was making a year ago are not being done much any more…at least to my knowledge. I don’t get panicky phone calls in the middle of the night any more, which is a big relief.
It is hard not to think like a mom and worry about your kids though. My older 3 boys have all left home and gotten jobs after college. I still have my 13 yr. old son who has some learning difficulties but is a great kid. He seems to want to do the right things, most of the time. He takes his punishments willingly when he gets in trouble and seems to learn from his mistakes.
I pray that our daughter finds herself and finds the motivation she needs to do the things a girl her age should be responsible for. It is hard to say NO to her when she wants new expensive clothes or boots. We want what is good for her but she has chosen to live away from us and needs to learn how to fend for herself now.
Deborah Mumm, The Adoption Coach