Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by 200Meters, Apr 8, 2019.

  1. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard


    Let's see here...

    I am 55 (for another few weeks). My wife & I of 30 (amazing & wonderful) years have two sons, 22 & 18. Both of our boys are adopted (public & closed; that's how it is here, private adoption is illegal). They are not biological siblings. We received our oldest when he was 4 months & our youngest at a wee 2.5 weeks. Our oldest has ADD & our youngest has ADHD and was also diagnosed with ODD.

    Oldest received a barebones high school diploma and did two years compulsory service in the army. The two years were not easy for him but he did it. He is now living with his girlfriend and working (in a restaurant & a bakery). Both my wife & I and his girlfriend's family are helping them. They live about 1.5 hours' drive away. That he does not live in the metropolitan area where he grew up is a good thing and has helped him to make a fresh start. Oldest had / has his issues but he seems to be on the right track.

    Youngest is why I'm here. He bounced around 5 schools from 3rd grade on before dropping out of the educational system altogether when he was (nominally) in 10th grade. He has no high school diploma of any kind. He became very adept at finding out where the cracks in the system were & then falling in between them. He learned how to do just enough at school to be sent home and did this repeatedly before dropping out altogether. My wife and I gave up on trying to find schools for him as he made it abundantly clear (by getting sent home repeatedly until he was expelled or asked to leave) that he would not fit himself into any educational / vocational track. He also blew off the military & says that he has been dismissed from compulsory service (which is not that difficult) although we have yet to see any documentation to this effect. As a juvenile, he had several run-ins with the law and saw the law enforcement system as one more system to be played to his advantage (like the military). Several of these run-ins involved minor drug possession (marijuana). In one run-in, he was suspected of breaking into a local house-of-worship in order to steal the charity change. He also broke into a friend's apartment and stole money from her. He would stay at our suburban apartment, or not, as it suited him. (He turned 18 this past November.) After one run-in, we agreed that he stay at home under house arrest. That meant that either my wife or I had to be with him 24/7 and he was not allowed off the premises. It also meant police stopping by 2-3 times a day, including in the wee hours to make sure he was actually there. Our dogs loved the wee hour part (not). This was for 1.5 weeks. (Luckily, I can work from home if I have to.) We told him at the time that this was a one-off and that if he f*%&ed up again, we would not do this again. He got off with a slap-on-the-wrist. Played the system, yet again.

    Eventually his luck ran out. Undercover police showed up at our apartment with a search warrant and an arrest warrant. The police have Youngest on camera breaking into a house-of-worship & they caught him with articles he stole from an apartment that he broke into. This was 4 weeks ago. Youngest was held in the local remand center for a while & is now being held in the remand wing of a large prison about 1 hour's drive away. At first, after being arrested, he was all anger, venom & non-cooperation. The welfare officer whom we met with said that if he kept that up he was likely going to prison. At our previous court hearing, the judge kind of read him the riot act and said that while there were many people who wanted to help him, he had to open up, want to be helped & allow himself to be helped. He has since become more cooperative (ferinstance he waived secrecy on his juvenile records).

    House arrest at home is not even an option as the police do not want Youngest back in our suburb & his public defender is not contesting this.

    My wife & I, and Oldest, went to see him this past Friday. We went in with other prisoners'/remandees' families and spoke with Youngest via a closed circuit phone through a reinforced glass partition, just like you see in the movies. This was hard. It was heart-rending.

    We are due back in court on Wednesday morning. Oldest & his girlfriend want Youngest under house arrest with them, at least for the interim period that Youngest is now in, until the court figures out what to do with him. (About that, everyone – the pd, us, the welfare officer & the judge – agree that Youngest needs help, guidance, therapy, etc. There are all sorts of options. We will have to be patient.) My wife and I were originally unkeen on the idea bit after seeing Youngest in the hoosegow (he has lost 4 kilos, which he really doesn't have to lose), we changed our minds. Oldest & his girlfriend met with the welfare officer but that didn't go so well. We are guessing that the welfare officer will recommend against the idea & then it will depend on what the pd can persuade the judge to do.

    Youngest appears to be at the stage where he realizes that he has much to lose and nothing to gain by not cooperating. He doesn't seem to be at the fully repentant stage but it's a start.

    Did I say that my wife and I are as depressed as hell?

    (My brother's two kids, who are Youngest's age, have just started college. SIGH)

    The local free weekly newspaper had an article about the case 2 weeks ago. The headline was something like "POLICE CATCH HOUSE-OF-WORSHIP BREAKER-INNER". There were no names but some of Youngest's friends in the neighborhood are aware that it's Youngest. I imagine some of our neighbors also know but luckily nobody has said anything.

    We spoke with the clergyman at our house-of-worship and asked him to contact the clergyman at the house-of-worship that Youngest broke into and say that we, the parents of said burglar/thief, feel awful (that's putting it mildly) and would like to make a donation to his house-of-worship. We have no idea how much Youngest stole.

    My wife and I feel so ashamed. This sucks all the energy out of you. I remember an old Peanuts cartoon where Linus asks Charlie Brown if he ever feels that life has passed him by. Charlie Brown replies that he rather feels that life has knocked him down and walked all over him. That's about right.

    I, for one, am not beating myself up and wondering where we went wrong. We didn't. Youngest has no one to blame for this but himself and the sooner he realizes that the sooner he will be on his way back.

    So, that's us, more or less.

    Why "200Meters"? Because 200 meters is (roughly) the boundary between light and darkness in the open sea. I have this recurring vision where I'm treading water at that boundary. I can see the light above me but know that I'll never reach it. Below me is the abyss. I keep treading water and just manage not to sink into the abyss and be crushed.

  2. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Welcome and sorry that you have to be here.

    More will be along but my initial thoughts are that your son possibly has a drug addiction to more than just MJ. I say this because that is what his behaviors say to me and you'll find these behaviors in many places on this board - including my own son. Usually as parents we only see/know the tip of the iceberg.

    Your son is still very young and I'm sure you did nothing wrong in raising him as most of us here have been loving parents only wanting what is best for our children; and many have been used and abused by the poor choices of our adult children until we create our own boundaries.

    We all know the confusion, shame and sheer madness that this creates in our lives. It can pull the entire family apart and make you question everything!

    My advice is to let your son suffer the consequences of his actions. Only then will he truly learn that these behaviors are very harmful to him and those that love him. He is now seen as an adult and society is not kind to those that break the law. My son took many years to learn this unfortunately but he finally is on the right track. I wish I had gotten tougher sooner. That is my only regret in parenting other than not taking him to church weekly and developing his faith.

    Good luck and keep posting and reading here for wisdom and strength.
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  3. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I have one question. What country do you live in? Most of us are U.S. and may not understand your county's system. But we would love to know more so that we can try to give helpful feedback.

    We adopted five kids, two at older ages, and those two are no longer with us. Adopted kids have losses and challenges that biological kids dont have. We are lucky that the three we got young are doing well, but that doesn't mean adoption issues never came up.

    Dont compare yourself to parents who do not have this additional challenge. Be proud of the good parents that you are. Home Environment is but a tiny bit of what makes up a person. There is DNA (different than ours and a huge factor in every person), school, teachers, the big one PEERS, health etc. But bio. parents have problem adult kids as well.

    Hugs and take care!
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2019
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Warm welcome!
    Your post made me tear up.
    I agree that you can’t compare yourself to others who don’t have adopted children. There are higher risks involved for ADD and ADHD for starters.

    Our difficult child is adopted.

    Very generally speaking, we have found that setting boundaries and letting her suffer the consequences of her actions has been helpful.

    But, there can be some grey areas here and there.

    Might he be using other drugs? Mightvhe be mentally ill and in need of medication?

    Please be sure to take extra good care of yourself and your wife. This stuff is profoundly difficult.

    Your “200 meter” analogy was brilliant and very touching.

    Please keep posting.
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  5. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    My son is not adopted which may be affecting your son others here have more experience with that issue. I am sorry for your need to be here but hope you can find the support you need from this forum of wonderful people.
  6. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Welcome 200Meters. So sorry you are going through it. We have all been through similar situations as well. It is good to come here because often friends and family don't understand the difficulties in dealing with troubled adult children. It is not fun, as you are well aware, and our options are limited because they are adults. I'm glad you aren't blaming yourself. Your son sounds like a handful, and I agree with other opinions that there is likely drug use involved. It's nice that your other son wants to help but I'm wondering if that's a good idea. Frequently these troubled adult kids function better for someone objective, who is outside of the situation. Maybe there is some type of halfway house or even an inpatient situation he could go to. It sounds like he would benefit from staying at a treatment facility if the judge allows it. I don't want to dampen your hopes, but I want you to be aware that the contriteness you are seeing is very common with these kids when they get backed into a corner. They will say whatever they have to say to get out of a bad situation and then frequently return right back to the same lifestyle that got them there when they get the chance. I think it's good he can't come back to your home. The hardest thing to learn when dealing with these kids is to focus on ourselves and let our kids deal with their own messes. If your love and concern could have "fixed" him it would have by now. Keeping my fingers crossed for a positive outcome. Sending peace to you.
  7. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    Thank you (plural) for your replies.

    We are letting him suffer the consequences of his actions but it still sucks.

    I think he is learning (the hard way but that's the only way some people learn certain things) that his behaviors are harmful to him. About him learning that they are harmful to us, I am not so sure. Empathy has never been his strong suit.

    I think that a lot of his frustration stems from realizing that his luck has run out and that for the first time in his life of delinquency he will have to pay unpleasant consequences for his actions.

    Your son has to make his own way to God. If he has a spark of faith, it will eventually be kindled. (See Song of Songs 5:2)

    Thank you and that's why I'm here.

    Let's pretend I still live in the US. I think that our system is pretty similar to what goes in the US.

    I know but it's hard not to sometimes. We see our kids' peers and what they're doing & it's hard not feel envious, sometimes.


    1) Possibly. I've never seen him drunk, high or stoned.

    2) I don't think so. But ADHD, ODD, acute adolescence and adoption-quest-for-identity angst are a helluva witches brew.

    I try and you're not kiddin'.

    Walking the hounds helps. They are my animal therapy.



    Triedntrue, good luck with those upcoming legal issues.

    He phoned earlier in quite a state. He is very worried about his brother. My wife & I also wonder how good an idea this is but as a for-the-time-being measure until the court decides what to do with Youngest, we think Youngest might be better off with his brother & girlfriend (the latter being a rather tough cookie).

    This is exactly what both the pd & welfare officer have talked to us about. There are in-patient residential options and out-patient options where he might get therapy & counseling, have to work & do community service, etc.

    We know.

    I agree x 2. Though focusing on ourselves and letting our kids deal with our own messes can be difficult sometimes. But when someone is falling, the best thing you can do, hard as it may be, is to step out of the way & let them hit. Hopefully they will learn something from the impact and be in a better position to begin healing and growing.


    I never thought of it this way before. Well put. Thank you.

    I'll take all I can get. Thank you.

    Well, we're due in court in just over 2.5 hours. I will keep everyone posted.

  8. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    Well, we were in court yesterday. The welfare officer's report was not keen on Oldest & his girlfriend watching Youngest. The judge blew off the pd's objections but then suggested that if Youngest were fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet it could work. He ordered that this possibility be checked out & we're back in court next Wednesday at 10:30. Meanwhile Youngest stays in remand. He looked OK yesterday in court. We will go see him again tomorrow.

    Regarding the ankle thinggie, I called the phone company & had them install in Oldest's & his girlfriend's apartment (they did this this morning; they work quick) a special dedicated phone line just for aforesaid thinggie. Apparently that's how these it works here. If it falls through, we'll have blown the (inexpensive) installation fee.

    The e-signature of a cyber friend of mine from way back said: "Stop asking when things will get back to normal and realize that chaos is normal."

    That's about right.

  9. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    I went to see Youngest in the hoosegow last Friday. Oldest & his girl friend met me there. I brought him clothes & a carton of cigarettes (you had to buy those from the prison canteen). Apparently Youngest used most of the latter to repay various "debts" he had racked up in the remand center from other remandees. He was in a good enough mood.

    We were back in the Jerusalem (yeah, we live in Israel) Magistrate Court yesterday morning at 10:30. The judge accepted the welfare officer's report & said that Youngest could not be released to house arrest with Oldest and Oldest's girlfriend, pending the decision on what to do with him, even with an electronic ankle thinggie. He said that we should all meet again on April 30 and see if the residential treatment program for troubled teens that he is thinking about moving Youngest to has place for him. If not, his honor said then he would reconsider about sending Youngest to his brother while some other option is explored. He asked about alternatives for house arrest & the pd reminded him that there aren't any. I wanted to jump up on the effing table and shout that my wife & I moved here (over 30 years ago) and have absolutely no family here except for Oldest & Youngest.

    The pd told Oldest & his girl friend not to drive back to where they live but to stay in Jerusalem since he was going to appeal to the Jerusalem District Court, which is the next higher court. He also said that if we had another magistrate's court judge would have certainly approved it. We were at the district court at 15:00. I got the impression that the judge there was not so keen on the magistrate's court judge's ruling. However, he wasn't unkeen to overturn the lower court's ruling.

    I know that Youngest is a thief & a burglar ans that stealing and breaking in to places are unacceptable. And that if Youngest weren't a thief & a burglar we would not be in this predicament and we / he have no one to blame but him. I get all that. But I really do not understand what the welfare office & the magistrate's court judge have against sending Youngest to his brother's during this interim period ahead of his sentencing especially if he has an ankle thinggie with an effing GPS in it!! They can follow his every move. It cannot be to punish him since he has not been sentenced yet. If he violates the house arrest (kinda hard to do with a GPS on his ankle and with Oldest's tough cookie of a girlfriend) then they can throw him back in the slammer.

    This means that Youngest will be spending the whole of Passover (starts tomorrow night) in the clink! Passover is an extremely big deal among Jews in general & among orthodox Jews (like Mrs. 200Meters & me) in particular. Holiday joy? Passover spirit? Yea, whoppee. Four cups of wine? (We drink four cups of wine on Passover eve.) Give me four cups of effing vinegar! Actually, I'll drink four cups of wine. You can drown a lot with four cups of wine. What kind of Passover will Youngest have?

    So Mrs. 200Meters & I and, and Oldest, are all kinda depressed. Just serve me a double helping of bitter herbs! (See this.)

    I went to the postal bank and put money into Youngest's account at the prison canteen.

    When Youngest was about 4, Mrs. 200Meters went off to Europe for a week for work. Youngest and I were sitting on our bed playing cards. We played "War" which is a great game to teach very young children about numbers, sequences, etc. At one point, I threw a king & he threw a queen. He went to take the cards. I said, "wait a minute. Those are my cards." He said, "The queen has more power." I asked him how he figured that. He said, "You listen to Mommy."

    Ouch; nailed by a 4-year-old.

    I let him take the cards.

    I want that sweet kid back. Mrs. 200Meters says that youngest is like a lemon. No, not in the automotive sense. In the sense that lemons actually have a lot of sugar in them, more than watermelons relative to their size. But the sugar is hidden by all the acid. When you cook lemons, the sweetness comes out. We know that sweet kid is in there somewhere. If being in the pokey & then going to wherever the court sends him help cook the acid out, so much the better.

  10. DoneDad

    DoneDad Active Member

    Sorry you’re going through all this, especially at Passover. Your son is still young, hopefully he’ll learn a lesson from this and turn things around.
  11. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    How cool to live in Jerusalem! I go to bible study and it sounds like a fascinating place. WOW.

    Yes yes we suffer for our children's sins. The heartbreak for us is horrible.

    They may seem to be treating him harshly but maybe that's what he needs?? I don't know. Just a thought. Maybe he will remember this. That he had to spend his passover in the slammer and maybe, just maybe he'll know he doesn't WANT TO LIVE like that! That is what I would hope for your son. Until they get sick and tired of it all, there isn't much we can do as parents.

    We were on this road for many years watching our son self destruct. I cannot imagine anything worse to witness in one's life. Thankfully now he is on the right track and I wish I could say all the pain was worth it. I am overwhelmed with joy that he is now wanting to do the right thing. Of course it came the hard way but maturity has helped and of course the faith based program he was in taught him more than we were ever able to. Of course, I will never be the same.

    Good luck.
  12. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    1) Correct.

    2) It is frustrating as hell to watch someone you care about so much & who has such potential fritter away their lives doing male bovine excrement.

    3) Youngest is not at that point yet. He still has so much anger, at what exactly I am not sure. But he is his own worst enemy.

    Passover is supposed to be a holiday of freedom. We mouth that every year but having a son whose freedom has been taken away from (entirely due to choices he made) gives it a whole new perspective. A rabbi here once noted that Passover is not so much a holiday of actualized freedom as it is a holiday of potential freedom; the first Passover was celebrated while we were still in Egypt and still not free. Which makes it all the more relevant.

  13. elizabrary

    elizabrary Active Member

    Hi 200- Sorry but your recent update made me laugh in several places. You sound much like me- find the humor in everything to keep going! I'm sorry a damper has been put on your holiday. My daughter, who as you know is not the sharpest crayon in the box, once told me something when she was young that made sense and I try to remember it. It definitely fits your current situation. She said when she couldn't do something she really wanted to do she figured it was God saving her from a bad situation. For example, if she couldn't go to a party it was because she would have gotten arrested. I'm not religious, but I remember her words when things happen in ways that I don't appreciate. I figure there is some greater power watching out for me. Hopefully, that is why your youngest can't be released to your oldest. At any rate- chag Pesach samech to you and Mrs. 200. (I hope that is correct. I tried.)
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  14. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    So we hope.

    One of the (many) cool things about living here (I've been here for 32+ years) is that the Bible isn't just a book, it's a travel guide. You can drive or hike just about anywhere, pull out your Bible, look something up & say, "Hey, this happened right here." This never gets old.

    It's a good thought. I think I agree with you.

    Stories like yours give me hope that as gloomy & depressing as things may seem now there is always hope & I mustn't allow myself to be overwhelmed by the moment or succession of moments.

    Yeah, this is the part that fazes me sometimes.

    This is good, I think.

    Finding humor in everything is how we keep going. Not finding the humor in everything is how we go under.

    If you rearrange the four Hebrew letters that spell the word for "coincidence" you get "G-d has woven." What may appear to us as sheer chance or fortune is all part of a greater plan. A Catholic friend says that it's like looking at a tapestry from underneath. All we see is a crisscrossed jangle of threads that seems to have no rhyme or reason. But when viewed from another perspective, one we may find it very difficult to appreciate, the design & plan become apparent.

    Yeah, about tjhat. Youngest called us this morning breathing fire. He learned / heard / figured out, though we're not quite sure how, that Mrs. 200Meters & I were initially unenthusiastic about him going to his brother's and now blames us for why he is not since what we told the welfare officer figured in her negative recommendation which the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court judge adopted. (by the way, we changed our mind because a) we learned that Oldest's girlfriend will be home for at least a month getting worker's comp for an injury to her hand, b) we thought Youngest would be wearing one of those ankle thinggies with a GPS in it and c) we saw him lose weight he doesn't have while in remand, where he has been since March 12.) I cut him off and said, "Youngest, you're where you are because you are a thief and a burglar." I told him that he must take responsibility for himself and realize that he and he alone is responsible for his situation. He said that if we come visit him later this week, he'll refuse to leave his cell. No effing problem; it'll save us the gas. And with a two-day holiday coming up (the last day of Passover on Friday & then the Sabbath, back-to-back), we'll have plenty to do.

    So today was...challenging.

    I'm impressed. You win a cookie. Oh wait, Passover...cookies are bad. Um, you win some wholewheat matzah (unleavened bread, the cracker-like stuff we eat for a week).

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  15. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    Youngest called from the pokey this morning. I told him that we would come see him Sunday (even though it is a work day here, first one after the long Passover holiday, and monstrously inconvenient for both Mrs. 200Meters & I) at 10:30. He said that we needn't bother. He called again this afternoon & repeated what he said this morning. I said we knew that and put the phone down. Effing brat! :mad:
  16. RN0441

    RN0441 100% better than I was but not at 100% yet

    Well you have a free day then and go enjoy yourselves!!! Let him sit in it.
  17. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome, 200M

    Our kids seem to have these things in common: a sense of entitlement and the belief that nothing is ever their fault.

    Let him stay in jail a while. It may do him some good.

  18. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    No we don't. Sunday is a work day here. It will be back to work for both Mrs. 200Meters and me and since it will be the first day back after a long break, we will be swamped.

    1) Correct.

    2) And it's frustrating as hell.

    So we hope. But he needs help / therapy badly however much he refuses to admit it or realize it. I am afraid that a prolonged stay in the clink will just make him angrier.

  19. 200Meters

    200Meters A real bustard

    We went to see Oldest & his girlfriend yesterday. He agrees with us that Youngest is still blaming everybody but himself for his problems & that he is his own worst enemy. This is good.
  20. Triedntrue

    Triedntrue Well-Known Member

    It is a difficult minset to change i am afraid. Mine does the same and if you try to point it out that it is his fault he gets angry and takes it as a personal attack. I too wish i knew the solution to that one.