My son is 20 and homeless

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by Bone Weary, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Bone Weary

    Bone Weary New Member

    I knew when we adopted my son there would be problems. He was 8 and had been in the system since he was 4. But I honestly believed that if I loved him enough and showed him life could be different he would be ok. I didn't foresee his dad and I divorcing because the dad had become an alcoholic. At age 16 he was back in the system because his dad pulled a gun on him. By that time my son was using and I found my little boy a scary angry young man. He was placed in a group home for treatment. I found a job and went to live close to him so we could be reunited. He manage to graduate and we went through therapy but there was no reunification as I had hoped. He could have lived with me but he chose to curse me out each time he was around me and begin using. I could not allow him to live with me under those conditions. He came back to live with his dad, his "real family". They kicked him out last week. He only calls when he needs money. This week he called from a homeless shelter again needing money. I feel sooooooo guilty for not giving him money. He could be telling the truth now. He could be sober. I gave him money two weeks ago to help him get to a job that never materialized. I feel like I have failed. But I don't think I need to give him money. I hate to sound selfish but I want a happy life. I want him to have one too but I can't give him that. He is 20. Why do I feel so guilty? I want him to have a better life. No drugs and a job!

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  2. dstc_99

    dstc_99 Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry you are having to go through this! It sounds like you have been more than accomodating during his youth. You shouldn't feel sorry for not wanting to live with someone who treats you poorly and abuses drugs. If you chose to do something for him it should be on your terms and what you are comfortable with. Many of the women here have chosen to give their homeless children things like sleeping bags and clothing with grooming supplies. They chose not to give money because they know that money could go anywhere. Of course he can always sell the sleeping bag but you can't be held responsible or even feel guilty if he does that.

    I am sure some of the mothers with more experience will chime in soon. Just remember to take care of yourself and that you cant fix this alone.
  3. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    As a mom who adopted five kids, two older ones, I can guarantee you that love will not help a child as damaged as an eight year old who has lived his life with both a dysfunctional, probably drug abusing birthmother and then the uncaring (largely) foster care system. Most kids who are in care that long already are too damaged to really attach to us by the time we get them. There are exceptions, but, sadly, your son does not seem to be one, is certainly not YOUR fault. You gave him the only love and stability he ever had. It is basically everyone else who failed him FROM DAY ONE, especially if bio mom used drugs and drank during her pregnancy. Your son is not going to do any better in his life if you hand him money. If he is sober and motivated to work, he'd at least be flipping burgers. My guess is that he is a big liar and that you can't trust his word that he is sober.

    My two children that I adopted who were considerably older than infancy were not able to adjust to family life. One was downright dangerous and sexually abused my two younger children for three years and he scared them so badly that they were too afraid of him to tell us. Yes, I feel guilty. As soon as we found out about that, he was gone forever. I don't miss him. But that's off topic. He was tried by the county and found guilty of First Degree Sexual Assault of a Minor although he himself was only thirteen because my daughter was six years younger than him. CPS took him and he was sent to a residential treatment center for young sexual predators where he admitted he never cared about us or anyone, really, and had no idea why he did the things he did.

    The other older child was adopted at age six from another country, an orphanage kid. He was very well behaved, but distant. His brilliance saved his life and now he is over a millionaire and doing really well, married with two kids. But he does not think of us as his family and will not see us. At least I know he is safe and will take care of himself, but my heart was broken by this. I loved him as if I'd given birth to him, as I love all of my children. I did give birth once so I know how it feels. That love for all of my children is as strong as that.

    My infant adoptions and m y two year old adopted son (who has autism) really worked out well. I feel blessed every day for all three of those now adult children. They are fantastic people. I truly don't believe it is possible, in most cases, to adopt a child from the system who has already lived his formative years in a form of hell and does not trust anyone in the world...and get a well adjusted, loving adult out of that. No matter how much we love them. Much evidence backs this up too.

    Whatever you do, do NOT feel any blame.

    Your ex-husband didn't help either (sigh).

    Do you have a relationship with your son that is mutual friendship, since you are both adults, or does he just hit you up for money? I have a great friendhsip with my three younger adopted kids, a shaky but ongoing relationship with my biological son who has always been a problem, and no relationship at all with the child who abused my other children or with the one who decided we are not his real family.

    You are an amazing person. Don't feel bad. Do something great for yourself and start focusing on YOU. Do you have other loved ones around you? That helps. Going to a Twelve Step group or therapy also helps tremendously. You get some balance when non-involved people are able to hear your story a nd weigh in. You in my opinion need to start taking care of yourself first. You are well worth it!!!
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  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Oh, just wanted to add that it is very lonely to adopt an older child, have him fail, and then have others thinking you didn't love him enough. Most people who have not done this truly believe if you loved even a terribly damaged child enough he will respond and be grateful. It is usually the opposite...they are afraid of love and it scares them. I felt very alone, except in my adoptive parent group where many families had similar experiences. People don't realize just how hard it is to parent an older adopted child, if, in fact, you ever can get the child to feel as if you are family. (((Hugs)))
  5. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Bone Weary, you may want to post over in the Parent Emeritus Forum for our kids who are over 18.

    Welcome. Your story is familiar to many of us. At 20 your son is an adult and is making adult choices. Often our kids blame us for their choices, but it's up to you to not take that on, it isn't your burden, it's his. It takes us time to let it go, but eventually, like you have, we become sick and tired of doing the same thing and having the same result, so we change.

    You may want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post. You may want to get a copy of Codependent no More by Melodie Beattie, it's helpful. You also may want to get yourself to an Al Anon or Narc Anon or Families Anonymous group for YOUR support. We parents get defeated, depleted and filled with guilt over our adult kids choices and it takes a lot of support for us to get out from under all of that.

    First thing we all usually do is to stop the flow of money. That's after YOU find a support system that works for you. Set clear and unbreakable boundaries based on what YOU are willing to do and enforce them. Learn to say no. Learn to step back and wait, give it time, usually because they cannot delay gratification, they will look elsewhere. Be aware that as you change, your son will likely up the ante and his behavior towards you will worsen because he isn't able to manipulate you with your own guilt anymore so he will try more hostile and ridiculous behaviors to get you to give him what he wants. Stay the course. In time it gets a lot better, but you will need to be the one who changes because the likelihood is he won't.

    I'm sorry you are going through this. Keep posting, it helps a lot. Sending you warm wishes for peace.
  6. Bone Weary

    Bone Weary New Member

    Thanks for the input. I really needed it!

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  7. Bertmery

    Bertmery Member

    i second what Dstc_99 said, Though it's hard, but what you did is the right decision.