Stress Bunny

Active Member
Just received a call from the jail that 20yo difficult child was arrested at 1:30 a.m. this morning for underage drinking and supplying alcohol to minors. This is his second underage drinking offense. His first was just over a year ago at college, before he flunked out. He's been in his own apartment for less than 8 weeks.

He actually has a decent job right now, so husband wanted to post bond so that at least he doesn't lose his job (just got off of his 90-day probationary period) on top of this mess. BUT . . . he is going to make difficult child immediately pay as much as is in his bank account himself (we would pay the balance), and then require him to turn over his tax refund, which he is expecting this week.

Vent Warning: I am SO sick of his reckless, stupid, defiant choices! I can't stand this any more. Every week, there is some new drama. Just Thursday night, he ended up in the ER for some supposed work injury. He can't make it 6 months without some major accident of some sort. He is arrogant, narcissistic, selfish, lacking in empathy, a braggart, and just plain difficult to be around for any length of time. He enjoys being completely different than husband and me. He is proud of it. We don't drink or have any alcohol in the house - ever. And few people in our family drink either. We don't smoke or do drugs, and we've kept our marriage strong for over 20 years. We have tried SO hard to give him a good life and rescue him from what would have been in his bio home, but he throws it all away. And laughs and smirks about it all the while.

I wonder if this will even phase him. I realize this is ultimately his problem and we need to detach. We have been working very hard on financially and emotionally detaching. I question whether we should even have posted bond, but we know that difficult child cannot replace a job like the one he has, so we decided to pay, with the requirement that he immediately repay us.

For anyone who has been-there-done-that, how have you coped with this sort of thing emotionally? And how do you handle the judgment from family, friends, and coworkers, and maybe even yourself, etc.?

I am disappointed, not just because of this occurrence, but because of the many, many things that have happened over the years that paint a picture of who difficult child really is, and it is not honorable at all. I don't like what I see. I don't think it is just a phase.

I am grieving. But how could I be grieving the loss of something we never had in the first place? I don't think difficult child loves us at all. He never did. He uses us. He enjoys hurting us. What am I grieving? I don't even know, but it feels like grief. Maybe it's the loss of what will never be.


Well-Known Member
Yes, it's ok to detach. It is actually better for you if you do. But I have a few questions as I am an adoptive parent too.

Do you know who his birthparents are? Substance abuse there? The reason I asked is because personality and a predisposition to alcohol/drug addiction seems to be inherited and nature often trumps nurture. I've been in an adoptive parents group for over twenty years and as a group of adoptive parents, many who know the birthparents, we are almost all in agreement on this. I see your son was adopted at age two. It is possible he has attachment disorder too if his first two years were full of chaos and major breaks and different caregivers. Is your son dangerous to others as well as to himself?

At any rate, he is of age and you have little control over him. What you can do is set boundaries, such as you will post his bail, but he is to pay you back pronto. Since he is succeeding at his job, I think that's a good choice as long as he is actually obligated to pay you back.

When we "lose" the child that we hoped to have, I think we all grieve. It's sort of like a death. You adopted an adorable little boy (I adopted one also at age two and he was sooooooooo cute). Then that little boy, whom you hoped to give a great life to and had hopes and dreams for, turned to drugs, something he has not seen in his home and that you don't do. Of course you will grieve. In our case, the two year old adopted boy has autism, but we knew that when we adopted him and he is a great kid. However, I have a biological son who I had hoped would at least be a nice person, and he isn't. And I did adopt a child at age six from another country and he walked out on us without a glance backward when he got married. Nobody even knows why. THAT was like a death. Or felt like one.

I leave you with my favorite prayer, although it is wise, in my opinion, even if you are an atheist.

"God grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I can not change,
the COURAGE to change the things I can,
And the WISDOM to know the difference."

It may help you and your husband to go to an Al-Anon meeting for support and also to learn how to take care of yourself and stay happy even though your son is struggling. Many of us had a lot of trouble letting go of our children's problems long enough to remember that we have our own lives to live and other people who love us as well as the struggling difficult child. I love Al-Anon. If you don't want to go to a twelve step meeting, I would consider a private therapist for both of you to help you deal with this.

I'm so sorry for your hurting mommy heart.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
I hope he pays you back. My difficult child made all sorts of promises to pay us back over the years and we never saw a penny.

If it happens again I think you should let him sit in jail. We made the mistake of bailing out our difficult child after her DUI and I regret it now. We did it because she was in school and we didn't want her to miss classes but she ended dropping out of college anyway because of her drinking.

And how do you handle the judgment from family, friends, and coworkers, and maybe even yourself, etc.?

Has anyone said anything to you? I have found just the opposite. Everyone has been supportive and I was surprised to find out that just about everyone that I opened up to about our difficult child has gone on to tell me about their son/daughter, brother/sister, parent, or other relative with problems. It seems like a relief for them to open up about it.

Keep posting. You will find a wonderful group of supportive people who understand and in many cases have experienced just what you are going through.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
MWM - Thanks for your response. I am just sitting here at the computer, as I can't seem to figure out what else to do with myself. I am worried sick about my husband, driving up there and dealing with this alone. I am at home with our youngest, who, mercifully, doesn't know.

Yes, we know the bio family. Birthmom lost parental rights after years of attempted interventions by DHS. She was extremely neglectful, lived in horrendously unsanitary conditions, left her children alone and unsupervised as infants/toddlers, and ultimately, abandoned them. She did have an alcohol problem at some point, and I know she has smoked cigarettes, and she is incapable of housekeeping of any sort. She has managed to hold numerous low-level jobs over the years.

JT lived with a variety of caregivers as an infant, due to his BMom's constant absence. He stayed the longest with an aunt, who eventually realized BMom was not coming back, and this aunt couldn't raise him. So, he ended up with us in foster care, and we wanted very much to adopt him after a couple of years living with us. The adoption was finalized when he was four.

Growing up, JT did not have much contact with his bio family, however, he has seen them on occasion as an adult, including his half brother, who is four years older and much lower functioning than JT and still living with bio mom. It's not a good situation. Nothing has really changed in terms of their living conditions, and bio mom's husband (not JT's father) passed away in an accident a number of years ago. But I have never spoken poorly of his bio mom to him or discouraged him from having contact as an adult.

About genetics, JT lives like a complete slob in the same sorts of conditions as his bio family. Even his truck is full of food garbage and is very unsanitary. This is interesting considering we raised him in a very clean home. Also, he exhibits the same lack of cause-and-effect thinking that his bio mom has and refusal to accept responsibility for his actions. He doesn't learn from experience. He is very stubborn and strong-willed like his bio mom too. He is not cooperative or teachable. Never has been. And, so often he is just unable or unwilling to modify his behavior to meet expectations in his jobs, relationships, or school settings. I don't know the extent of JT's current alcohol and drug use. He operates equipment at work, and they did drug test him. I'm not sure if they do that regularly or not.

I see that you understand the special sort of heartbreak involved with this. I'm sorry for the pain you have surely experienced with all of that. How sad and difficult this really is.

I hadn't thought about seeking counseling for us. That shows how much I am focused on difficult child, versus the toll this is taking on us. I think I will seek out something. This has just been so difficult. It would really help to talk to other parents who understand. This board is really helpful.

I also very much want to shelter our youngest from the toxic behavior of our oldest.


Well-Known Member
Well I can sympathize..... my son has been arrested numerous times. We have bailed him out and after a couple of times we stopped doing that. Eventually he got in enough trouble and then violated probation so he spent 2 months in jail waiting for them to get him into a treatment program through drug court. Although that was really hard on him, it also I think made him realize that is not where he wants to spend his time. He has now been in a program for 5 months (after many other programs in the past) and is doing pretty well.

Anyway it is hard to be the sort that never gets in trouble with the law and to find yourself with a son in jail. It is better than having a son who is homeless (I have done that too!). I agree with Kathy that people who know you and how supportive you have been will generally be supportive to you. However you get to decide what you are going to tell people and how much. It might help to come up with something you say to those people you dont know well who you dont want to tell.

Where we live the jail is in the county of our community college ... so I came up with if people asked about difficult child... Well he is studying criminal justice at X (the comm college and the name of the county) and he is living in Y (the name of the town where the jail is at) with a bunch of guys!!

Now in actuality I never actually used that except to make light of it.... but it helped me to make light of it.


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Well-Known Member
Hey...did his birthmother drink when she was pregnant with your son? If so, he could be suffering from poor functioning due to alcohol or drug effects before birth...fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. And she may have suffered from the same thing if HER birthmother drank while pregnant. It's not unusual for this to be generational. My autistic son's birthmother was a drug abuser. He tested positive for crack at birth. We were lucky with him...he just has high functioning autism and is a really good young man. Maybe his birthmother was a good person, but so poor and desperate that she was a slave to her drugs. I don't know. He was her fifth child and Grandma had custody of the other four, but she did not feel capable of raising another child. My son, who I call Sonic, did not have chaotic early years though...he had one very good foster parent who was schooled in medical foster care...see, Sonic had open heart surgery as an infant. His cardiologist said the surgery was done so well that his heart isn't even a concern. Sonic is not one of my children that I angst over.

I have one ex-son we adopted from Hong Kong. I call him an ex-son because in no way will he have anything to do with anybody except my ex-husband and my ex-husband had to wait a long time to get that contact from him. That particular child is brilliant and successful, but always felt very inferior because he had spent six years in an orphanage and he felt money was the key to gaining status. He has plenty of money, but he wants more thus he will talk to my ex who inherited some money when his mother passed away. This child does not want to miss out on that money, no way, no how. When that adult child met his wife, he changed quickly and no longer hung around with anyone but her family and other people who were Chinese. He dumped ex too, as I said, for a while. I did grieve the loss of him in my life as I loved him as much as any of my children and would have died for him easily. It has now been six years though and time is a great healer. But I did have to grieve.

Anyway, I am rattling on. Just wanted you to know I understand, and that your son may have brain damage due to alcohol-before-birth. Although nobody can prove it, the neurologists who saw Sonic believe that his birthmother's drug use and drinking contributed to his autistic spectrum disorder. It is common for the offspring of those who indulge while pregnant to have forms of autism.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Regarding detachment, I definitely think it is critical that we do not enable JT. If he ever finds himself in jail again or some other situation resulting from his own poor choices, we will not bail him out literally or figuratively, even if he does lose his job. In all likelihood, he will lose it anyway, because he does not take direction well, and he is very irresponsible. So, this is probably just prolonging the inevitable. But I wonder what will ever become of him.

husband called to say that JT had only $100 in his account right now. But, he made JT write out checks that we will cash this week for the remainder, when his tax refund clears. JT did apologize robotically and also smirked as he went to enter husband's vehicle. I can't stand that smirk, so I am glad I wasn't there. It makes me think he is enjoying this in some stupid way; that he is sociopathic or something. How can he smirk when he's caused everyone, including himself, so much grief?

Does anyone know if a landlord is notified of something like this? I'm wondering if he will also face eviction from his apartment. That's where the drinking was going on. Of course, if not now, that will also likely happen in the future anyway, as he will miss paying his rent. It is just a matter of time.

It's like he is a speeding train on a track, and there is no way that the track can be changed before the track runs straight off a cliff. In the worst irony, I envision JT one day living with his bio mom and half brother again, surrounded in filth, and strung out on drugs and alcohol. I know I don't have control over this, but that doesn't make it any easier.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
MWM, I don't know if JT's bio mom drank during pregnancy. JT is extremely smart, which is surprising given the IQ of both his bio mom and half brother. He is not autistic like our younger boy. But . . . I realize FASD is a possibility. Who knows? We'll never know for sure. His bio mom claims she did not drink during pregnancy but smoked cigarettes. Also, bio mom refuses to share with anyone who JT's bio father is, so we don't know that either. It's all very upsetting that things are unfolding this way. husband and I have come to appreciate the significant role genetics seem to play in all of this, despite JT's adoption as an infant.

Our youngest is high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), and we adopted him at birth privately. His bio mom chose us to adopt him and stated that she did not drink alcohol or take drugs, but that she did smoke cigarettes before realizing she was pregnant. She was still nursing her newborn, when she became pregnant only two - three months later with Bubby. He struggles with sensory issues and inflexibility, but he is a very loving boy. His tantrums have decreased a lot since his younger years, but he does behave inappropriately in social situations sometimes. I pray that he will be alright. I will be devastated if he gets into so much trouble like JT. So far, his teachers love him and he behaves very well at school and home also.


Active Member
I bailed my son out of jail ONCE. Swore I never would, but similar situation where he had a good job and I didn't want him loosing it. Ends up he lost that job shortly after, for stealing. Needless to say, I never bailed him out again. But I'm glad I did that one time as now I'll never wonder if things would have been different if didn't bail him out that one time. My son is looking at 3 years 7 months when he gets picked p and I think it's where he needs to be. Safe from himself. At least I get a good nights sleep when he's in jail. All this not knowing is exhausting.


Active Member
P.S. my sons birth father hasn't been in the picture since he was 6 months old and he is exactly like him. I believe Genetics play a huge role! I


Active Member
Stress Bunny, you are not alone. This forum has compassionate souls who truly feel your pain. My difficult child has avoided jail so far, but one day she may attack the wrong person and end up there. She was also adopted as a baby. I am stunned at how many of our difficult children are adopted. She was raised in a clean, loving, stable home but we had a falling out today bc she is too lazy to pick up her clothes or put dishes in the dishwasher! Prefers to live in filth.

(She is staying with us only bc she tried to commit suicide 3 wks ago and her boyfriend kicked her out after she threw things at him just before she overdosed. We are giving her shelter bc she is fragile and we're trying to launch her asap-while she gets job, gets apt, etc. She is bipolar and can be violent if she gets off her medications. She will NOT move in here ever again!!)

I an thinking of you tonight. Saying a prayer for all of us loving moms who have been wounded by our sick children.

Stress Bunny

Active Member
Carri - That was our thinking exactly. This is the only time we are bailing out difficult child. Never again. We'll never have to wonder again either. If we hadn't experienced it ourselves, we probably wouldn't believe the role genetics really play in personality development and behaviors, mental health, etc.

tryagain - Thank you. Everything you said is very helpful. I am so glad to know we're not alone. Looking back, as I recall the beautiful blond-haired, blue-eyed boy with the green tennis shoes and a paper bag with all of his earthly possessions in it, I never would have believed it could turn out this way. We tried SO hard. It breaks my heart.


one day at a time
Stress Bunny, I am so sorry this is happening to you and your family. Yet another family.

We did bail our son out of jail once or twice (honestly can't remember) and we did hire a lawyer a couple of times. We have also paid for rehab twice. I have spent countless hours sitting in court. I have made many phone calls and have been to the courthouse to pay fines. I have driven him all around town on countless errands and trips and have loaned money I have never seen and will never see again (with many unkept promises).

I don't do those things anymore, but I stopped doing them little by little. It certainly was not overnight and it took me months and even years to stop, and it took my ex-husband (his father) even longer. We can only do the best we can, and I believe you are doing way more than I could have done at the point where you are, as far as I can tell by the information you provided.

I understand why you bailed him out of jail, and about his job. I hope your actions make a difference.

Stress, what you are going through right now is awful. And then his response adds insult to injury. I don't understand the arrogance either. My son was very arrogant early on. Today, he is saying he knows he is responsible for all of the things that have happened. My son seems different today, but he is 24.5 years old. There is a lot of water under the bridge. He is homeless right now and has been since Feb. 14.

My son has lost his license (has it back now), wrecked his car multiple times, lost his insurance, has felonies now, plus many misdemeanors, has spent multiple times in jail, once for 7 months, etc. etc. etc.

No matter what we did, said, or made happen, he just kept spiraling down. Today, if he gets arrested one more time, he will go to prison for four years. Will that be enough for him not to get in trouble again? I don't know.

I only know that he has had to get to this point, himself. I honestly don't believe anything I have ever done or said has made any difference. And I have said it all and then some. I used to think I could reason with him enough to make him see. Didn't happen, no matter how much time I spent, how many words I used and how much I cried and begged him to stop.

Maybe later, he will reflect back on it all and realize we gave him a good foundation for life, but it didn't slow down the destruction one bit.

Here is my best advice for you right now while you are in crisis:

1. Take a little time for yourself every day and do something nice for YOU. Take a bath, take a nap, take a walk, buy yourself some grocery store flowers.
2. Write a gratitude list every morning---just five things. Take just five minutes. Miraculously, this can change your day. Don't ask me how, it just does.
3. Go to an Al-Anon meeting. Then go to five more before you decide if Al-Anon is right for you or not. I have experienced amazing support, strength and hope from this program and it has literally saved my sanity.

Keep coming back here. There is tremendous support, regardless of what you decide to do or not do. We respect the fact that you can only do what you can live with. You are the only one who knows what is right for you. But we can share our experience, strength and hope and you can take what you like and leave the rest.

I am praying for you and your family tonight.


Well-Known Member
While many people are going through the same types of situations, every parent has to decide how to approach the situation based on their own set of beliefs on what is bet for their them. It can and does change over time.

((((HUGS)))) Be kind to yourself. We do the bet we can at any given time.