Question: Dear Luise: We were unable to have children so we had the opportunity to adopt 2 teenagers from Russia, when we were in our mid 50’s. I was SO HAPPY to finally be a mother. It was a different part of life I had never encountered before. I also discovered a different part of ME…it was great. We spent so much money for the adoption and then for language classes, tutors, private schools, counseling. We dipped into our retirement. The relationship has not worked out. He never liked living with us. Our son is very happy living with another family in a nearby city. The family has made him part of their family. Our son is almost 21 yrs old. He has been gone from our home almost one year. I see their family pictures on social media sites, professional photos as well as just fooling around photos. They have bought things for him and done things for him we would not do, like a car, because we wanted to help him learn responsibility by ‘helping’ him to purchase a car not giving it to him. They make no demands of him. They are even paying for his college (he refused to stucy in High School and almost did not graduate). His sister (our daughter), left home about 2 months after he did. She will not speak with me. She is living with a man who is 9 yrs older than she is. She is 19 yrs old. These children convinced my extended family that we were emotionally abusing them. It is not true, they have a condition called Reactive Attachment Disorder. They lie so much they start believing their own lies. We had rules and expectations in our house & they felt we were being unfail. My extended family no longer communicates with me, but they are trying to keep their relationship with our children. Seems like I have lost my children and my family. My husband seems to have recovered his broken heart but I can’t seem to get over it. I feel like such a failure. Especially when I see pictures of my son with this other family (mother). I do not understand how they can both just walk away from us, like we never existed. I pray non stop that God will help me to accept his will. I want to feel better. This is affecting my health. Do you have any words of wisdom for me? Thank you. M.
Answer: Dear M.: My take is that your teenagers acted a lot like of other people’s biological children. Parenting is a really tough job for most of us…teaching kids to be responsible can be interpreted by them as abusive when they want to be indulged. You deserve so much better.
It is very, very hard to get, I know, but it isn’t about you. You gave them an opportunity of a lifetime and they blew it. They are making poor choices and seeing no consequences. What they eventually do with all of that is what maturing is all about. Again, it is about them not you.
I would suggest you join my forum: www.WiseWomen.Unite.com You will find a loving, understanding, supportive community of women there who are struggling with issues with adult children. Blessings, Luise