Looking for advice...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by Heavy sigh, Dec 26, 2013.

  1. Heavy sigh

    Heavy sigh New Member

    I have been hanging around this forum for awhile and have already learned so much thanks to you many veterans.

    A brief history -- my difficult child daughter (adopted) is 18 years old. Right after high school graduation, she moved out with her difficult child boyfriend (whom we met at graduation). As of July we kicked her out for good after she stole from us once again. She has ADHD, is bipolar and has Borderline (BPD) tendencies.

    She is now about 5 months pregnant; difficult child boyfriend has been arrested for domestic violence against her (he was quite drunk); he is out on parole and they are still together. She is now staying with a kind hearted friend of mine.

    Before all of this chaos, my husband (her dad) and I had committed that we would help her get an apartment if she was attending school. She is registered to start school in January and we have applied for SSI. She only has 2 more weeks about at my friends house and has nowhere else to go. I'm nervous about committing to the apartment but am not sure what else to do with her. I really don't want her to come home. But she is young, pregnant, mentally ill and needs help.

    Any advice ?
  2. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Neither coming home or you getting her an apartment sound good options. Would it be possible to find some other option? If we put it bluntly: She is young, unwed, pregnant woman with mental health issues in domestic violence situation about to give birth to in risk baby. Depending to where you live, she sounds like prime candidate to all kinds of government or charitable programs.

    It may be, that nothing is available, but I think you should try to find out. I'm afraid she will not be able to find out if these kind of programs could be available, but maybe you could.

    I do think that she could gain a lot from some type of program that would support young mothers to live independently and take care of their baby.

    Letting her move back home will unfortunately be likely to cause chaos to your house and make you primary caregiver to the baby (and later cause you lots of heartache, when she still has all the power over baby's life.)
  3. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    Hello, and welcome.

    Has the option of giving the baby up for adoption been discussed, Sigh? Could you tell us whether the young woman is working? Can you give us a little more information on why you are reluctant to rent the apartment for her? Are drugs or alcohol involved? Is there a plan in place for who will care for the baby while your daughter attends classes? Finally Sigh, has your daughter applied for help from Social Services?

    A few more questions?

    Would you be paying for the apartment, or co-signing the lease? Does daughter have a car and a valid license?

    Thank you, Sigh. The more we know about the backstory, the more particular to your situation our feedback can be.

  4. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Welcome Heavy Sigh. Great name by the way. I'm glad you joined us.

    You have quite the predicament.............brought on by your difficult child's poor choices. As Cedar has mentioned, more info would be helpful for us to offer healthy support.

    My first instinct is similar to SuZir, have you applied for food stamps, medical and housing through Social Services? Before you commit to paying for your daughter's apartment, it may be prudent for you to seek help in other areas.

    One resource that may assist you is NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They can be accessed online and have chapters everywhere. They offer excellent parenting classes as well as helping with providing resources for your daughter. You might try getting in touch with them before you make any monetary commitments you will be responsible for, especially with an abuser who will likely be living with your daughter. You will be responsible for any damages that occur to the apartment. NAMI may be able to provide you with the support YOU and your husband need now to make healthy and positive choices. They may also be able to help with options for immediate housing.

    You may also want to read the article on detachment at the bottom of my post here.

    While you go through this with your daughter, I think the best advice I can offer you is to seek out professional support for yourself and your husband. Most of us here need that support to help us learn how to detach and to learn tools, be heard and understood, to find a guide who can help us navigate this often treacherous landscape. It is very difficult to detach from our kids, but in most cases, that is the solution, not only for them,but for US too.

    You might also look into shelters in your areas for woman and children. In the interim, there are often low cost long term hotels and motels which may provide an alternative while you sort through the options.

    If you don't want her to come back home then don't make that choice now. If you are hesitant about paying for an apartment long term, then look into other options. Generally our first instincts are correct and then we override them with our doubts and fears.

    I am sorry you are going through this, it's a difficult path for all of us. There are options out there for you, begin doing some research. I'm glad you found us, keep posting it helps. You're not alone.
  5. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Does she qualify for Section 8 housing? Of course, to live there (and there could be waiting lists, but I think being pregnant puts her at the top of the list. Homeless as well). Also...there are things you can do to get kicked out, such as drug abuse, breaking the law, etc...they will go over the rules with her.

    If you do sign for an apartment, which she may decide to trash or not live in and then YOU are responsible, I would do a month-to-month arrangement and let her get assistance for food and other things. I would not go broke supporting her, the loser boyfriend...I'd be more apt to help with baby stuff, such as diapers and formula, although she can get assistance for that as well.

    For mental health issues, she has to want help. There are county services that work on a sliding scale to free, but you can't force it. There are no facilities that will totally wrap her in cotton. She will have to do the work and follow the rules. As she is of age, you will not be allowed to do that for her.

    I am an adoptive parent too and I don't know what age you adopted her at, but older adopted kids tend to usually (not always) have poor outcomes and my heart hurts for you. She may have attachment issues on top of her other ones, but that no longer matters. She is an adult and nobody will swoop down and care for her anymore unless she puts forth an effort.

    I think adoption sounds good as an option she should consider. Unfortunately few difficult children are willing to do this, although they pretty much realize the child will not have a stable life. Their impulsiveness and me-centric thinking usually overrides what they know would be the best in the backs of their minds. And being adopted, few want to do the same to their child, even if they are not equipped to care for the child.

    I hope it works out for you and your daughter. Please keep in touch.
  6. helpangel

    helpangel Active Member

    It's good you applied for SSI but if they don't deem her disabled that might not go thru - I recommend you check into social services also some religious groups have homes for unwed mothers BEFORE renting an apartment. Community mental health thru the county has housing options here also but if already have a roof they won't get it. I can't imagine what a bipolar person off medications (can't take many while pregnant) combined with the pregnancy hormones would look like, my Angel might need a lock down facility in that situation. Even if physically healthy this is a high risk pregnancy.

    Almost 30 years ago after living on my own for 3 years I had to swallow my pride and move back with my folks (6 months pregnant, malnutrition & threatening miscarriage) My dad had been paying for blue cross insurance & on first attempt at social services they couldn't give me any help at all.

    I had my dad cancel the blue cross and when I went back a month later with the big belly, no insurance and claiming my address was that suitcase I just sat next to my chair - all kinds of programs suddenly became available. Like being placed on waiting list for section 8 housing, and I don't think I went in at the bottom of list. Some times waiting lists that are closed will open long enough to add an urgent need person to it. Cars - if car is worth more then $1500 it's a good idea to keep it in your name DHS may call it a cash asset that needs to be sold before assistance given otherwise.

    Because of my dad's income I wasn't eligible for food stamps but was eligible for WIC, I received a small cash grant that I paid my dad rent out of (found out later he banked it for a security deposit for me) wasn't eligible for Pell grant for school but financial aid found a displaced homemaker grant that covered all my tuition & lab fees (all I had to buy was books). I got a little help from 5 different sources and it was enough that with my parents assistance got back on my feet.

    What it comes down to is if social services thinks they can get anyone else to support this person they won't help, but they know the strain on society sickly babies of mothers who don't get prenatal care cause so they will provide the help if no one else is. You can still help her but apply for assistance first and her attitude while applying has to be she has nothing.

    It was hard after being on my own going back to my folks house but I needed them more then then I did when I was 5yo. I knew how to work but if didn't stay in bed would have lost Danny I'm sure of it. I had babysat but when it came to full time care of a newborn I was clueless - I really needed my mother and all those parenting programs social services & WIC provided.

    Your daughter is so lucky to have your help and she needs you more now then when she was little. Keep us posted while on this journey and so glad you found us.

  7. Heavy sigh

    Heavy sigh New Member

    Thank you for your responses. I'll try to fill in some of the blanks.

    1. We have looked at homes for pregnant teens. While we live in a large city, there simply are not many options. And, because of her (our) background, the spots often go to "needier" girls, which is hard for me to argue with. While my daughter wandered the streets and couch surfed for days and weeks this summer and fall, she does have quite a village of support around her.

    2. We have successfully enrolled her in nutritional assistance and medical coverage that will cover what my insurance does not. I can't drop her from my insurance until later next year, if I choose to do so. Will decide that when the time comes.

    3. She does not drink or use drugs (tried them -- didn't like them -- I still test when she is in my presence). Since being pregnant, she has been very careful. She does have regular prenatal care and has a healthy baby boy. She is not taking any medications because of the pregnancy but is doing surprisingly well. The biggest issue is the lack of ADHD medications which makes her impulse control difficult and scares her about getting a job. She is well monitored by a great psychiatrist. Nonetheless, we are headed out today to job search around the proposed apartment area. Where she is staying right now is in a rural area without buses. So, job hunting has been hard.

    4. Her schooling is paid for by our States vocational rehab program. She is one of the lucky ones that really does have a lot already in place. She just needs to buckle down and do it.

    5. We are meeting with an adoption counselor next week. She set that up and wants me to go with her. She isn't 100% certain that is her plan but she recognizes her limitations as a mom right now, particularly given how erratic her boyfriend is. I have not given her any opinions on the adoption because she hasn't asked, but she knows I'll help her if that is the way she wants to go.

    6. She was adopted at birth, connected with her birth mom at age 13, which has not been a good relationship. difficult child will be the first to say that she regrets ever getting in contact with her (via social media).

    7. I want to help but not enable. We have had counseling off and on but right now feel backed into a corner. Frankly, if there wasn't a baby at risk, we would not step in at all. Her age, the baby and her apparent attempts to do better (school, counselors, etc) make it hard for me to know what's right.
  8. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    She already has a child? If so...not a good sign.
  9. Heavy sigh

    Heavy sigh New Member

    MWM, no baby yet. This is her first pregnancy. Sorry for the confusion.

    Help angel - thank you for your perspective. She really does need help and at times does not seem that different from my friends' teens who have wandered the rough road trying to find themselves. My husband and I often debate -- mental illness or boneheaded teenager behavior? It is probably a mix of both. And, we let her do the homeless thing with no help when she left our home this summer. She experienced a much harsher side of life and it did seem to make her more grateful for the help we give her now. She is home for the holidays and has been mostly very pleasant and appreciative of small kindnesses. Our financial situation does make it harder for her to get assistance but we have managed to secure some help for her.

    My only hesitation about the apartment is that I want to give appropriate help. Coming home is absolutely not an option. I hate it but know it is for the best. We are simply more peaceful with her living elsewhere. However, I had no peace with her on the streets. Her financial aid with or without SSI will pay for the apartment initially. I guess my worry is the unknown of what happens down the road. The apartment feels like a good option for now, but I have fears of a 40-something still being reliant on me. That said, I recognize she is only 18 and 40 is a long way off.

    Sorry for the rambling -- just feels good to put my thoughts somewhere even if there are no answers.
  10. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    No need to feel sorry, Sigh. Posting here can be like thinking out loud. We see the situation from another perspective as we organize information to communicate it to someone else.

    I have learned that telling myself nothing has to be decided right this minute is a good strategy. Learning to say, "I hadn't thought about that. Let me get back to you." is a good thing to do. Or, "Oh, honey ~ I know it seems overwhelming right now, but I'm sure you'll figure everything out."

    There is a link at the bottoms of my posts (the McCoy link) which gives examples of how to interact with our adult children. That might be helpful to you, too.

    Wishing well, Sigh.

  11. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    We have an adopted difficult child daughter. She is in her mid 20s. Same diagnoses. Moved out around 19, as soon as we got her on SSI. She had a long history of seeing the psychiatrist, psychiatric medications and a psychologist....she got SSI immediately, which is almost unheard of. Don't worry one bit if you are turned down and need to hire an attorney to help her get Disability. We give her little treats of some kind for taking her BC shot. Weird as heck, but something to consider for the future. I would secure low cost or govt assisted housing for her now, if possible. Perhaps you can help pay for it until her SSI kicks in. But once she receives funding back off, maybe just give important items for the baby now and again. Our personal lives improved once she moved out. If she can get some training for a job that lends itself to part time work, that would be ideal. While on disability, she can earn (not sure of the exact number) something like $850 a month and still receive disability income. If she gets SSI and a good PT job, she can make it on her own....a good goal. I'm so sorry to read of your heartache. husband and I had our lives turned upside down with this adoption....not many fully understand. Set up BOUNDARIES! Sounds like you are already doing pretty good at this! Stay strong! And it sounds like you have been through the wringer. Take extra good care of yourself!!!!!!!!
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
  12. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    PS in my humble opinion, it is a blessing that she might be open to the idea of adoption and consider speaking with her about this even if she opens the door a little for discussion.
  13. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I understand how blankin' complicated it is and am sending support your way. Life is not exactly how we envisioned it but even in an alternate universe...you have to believe that it will work. Hugs DDD
  14. Heavy sigh

    Heavy sigh New Member

    Thank you so much for your kind encouragement. I am trying to hold true to the advice from so many to wait until a solution feels right. We have told difficult child we will move her to her apartment the weekend before school starts. Also, we are only signing a 6 month lease to limit our exposure. She seems so focused on getting a job and starting school that it is hard to discourage that. That being said, she has begged for us to do it this weekend, but that doesn't feel right -- so we wait.

    My reason for holding my opinions about adoption are two-fold. 1. I want both my daughter and her baby to have the possibility of a life without her boyfriend. And, my difficult child is a troubled 18 year old girl -- not "quite" ready to be a mom. That makes adoption the obvious solution 2. My difficult child, for all that she appears to ignore what I say, still can be influenced by my words. And, I honestly have no idea how I feel about this baby. I see him in the ultrasound and can imagine him as my grand baby. So for now -- I remain silent.

    I continue to lurk around other posts and I have to say seeing others "walking in my shoes" makes me feel less alone. "Everybody" seems to have an idea of how I can be doing better, but they've never been here.

    We have had a lovely, mostly easy week with my difficult child home. She is reluctant to return to our friends home for the week, but that too feels right to me. More to come in this journey I'm sure.
  15. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    That is an excellent reason not to take sides in the matter. Whatever she decides, it is huge, life changing decision. And as young or immature as she is, it is her life and has to be her decision. Of course it may be the best to talk with her about the possibility and what does it mean if she chooses either option, but actually influencing her decision is almost bound to backfire.
  16. Scent of Cedar *

    Scent of Cedar * Well-Known Member

    The six month lease is a good idea. We co-signed, too. When everything feel apart for difficult child daughter, we were liable for rent for remainder of the lease, damages, and cleaning expenses.


    There is a new, free app for Smartphones for women in danger of physical abuse. It is available through: www.whengeorgiasmiled.org Susiestar began a thread about it on Watercooler last week. If you check there, you can learn more about it.

    The app comes from Robin McGraw's Aspire Initiative Program to help battered women. The app will automatically dial family members and 911, and will, upon being activated, begin recording every sound in the room immediately, so there will be proof of the abuse when the matter is brought to court.

    My daughter was involved with a man who beat her. She too, had a child by him. The child is now 14. Because they remained involved through the daughter, the parents came back together last Fall. Just a few weeks ago, the male beat our daughter almost to death.

    So, you are right to counsel her to cut all ties, now.

    The Verbally Abusive Relationship, by Patricia Evans, will map out the damage and the reasons behind why some of us take satisfaction from being nasty, abusive people. There is almost always verbal abuse, if there is physical abuse in a relationship. Your daughter may not be aware of the effect the verbal abuse has had on her ability to believe in herself enough to break away from her abuser.

    If you can keep her away from him now and while she learns about the dynamic behind the abusive relationship, do it.

    We all believed our daughter's abuser that he had changed. They do not change.


    I have seen that whole we don't think they're listening but they are with my kids, too. Mostly, it comes back that I said this or that good or bad thing, and they used it to work themselves out of one trap or another. So, always better to remember that we are the moms, and that what we say matters, whether the child seems to be listening, or not. For me, I try to hold a better image of the difficult child child as the true person. I speak lovingly to that one. As I am getting healthier myself, I find it easy to condemn the behaviors of the addict, the liar, the manipulator.

    So it is important that we take care of ourselves, that we strive to become healthier ourselves, as we go through these really terrible things with our kids.


    Though the baby does not seem real to you, now? If she keeps him or her, you will come to love him so much that you will wish you had cherished every moment of the waiting until he got here. If your daughter decides to give him up? You will be the one who understands the courage in her decision, the one who interprets the meaning of that decision.

    You are her mother.

    Whether she shows it or not, what you say matters to her more than anything anyone else says. You will be the one who helps your daughter know the baby was cherished from the beginning of his existence, and was given up for someone else to raise and love and cherish out of love.

    I know how hard this is, how unbelievable it seems that your child could be pregnant and you could be a grandmother. I know how different it all is than how you envisioned it.

    I am sorry this is happening, to you and to your family.

    I think you are making clear-eyed decisions. That is the best you can do, and that is a good thing. Try to stay open, try to choose the loving response, try to stay healthy yourself.

    How is your husband handling things, if you don't mind my asking?

  17. Heavy sigh

    Heavy sigh New Member

    Thank you so much Cedar, SuZir and all the rest. I have such a hard knowing how to regard the boyfriend. Through these last very difficult months, I have gotten to know his mom pretty well. She describes a sweet boy that has many of the same issues as my difficult child. She said he has always been kind to girls. Then, the boyfriend hurts my daughter. He has never hit her -- he just pulled her off a couch when he was drunk because he wanted her to go with him. He caused her to slip and fall and then ran from the police. Is that abuse? I don't know, but I would rather he just go far away. He most certainly has a drug and alcohol problem, and his parents are done with his behavior. Amazingly, my difficult child is the reasonable one in the relationship -- the problem solver, the motivated one... but still can't see past this relationship with him. He talks of leaving town (if his parole will even allow that), and I keep saying it is not a bad thing -- my daughter does not agree. Thus the nature of the co-dependent relationship.

    From the moment my daughter announced she was pregnant (called me as I was walking into a budget meeting, God love her...), I have regarded him as a blessing. I believe God only creates life for a purpose, so I hold onto that thought each and every time I see his tiny form on the ultrasound. I have absolutely no idea what the "right" path is for him and my daughter, so I simply love on her, talk to her about the baby, encourage her to be healthy (which she is doing so well) and help her think through her options. We meet with the adoption counselor on Tuesday. She asked me to join her, so I will.

    You ask about my husband. He is the more sensitive of the 2 of us and has been deeply hurt by our daughters behavior. No surprise that he blames himself for many of her issues, even though we know her stuff is more about her nature than what he did or didn't do. We made mistakes I'm sure, but mental illness just makes things so much harder. Her behavior has taken its toll on his own self-worth, which I hate. He is a good person, just so black and white in his thinking, that he had a hard time understanding our free-spirit child. And, the fact that much of her theft in the last months targeted him and things he loved, took its toll on the already fragile relationship.

    I think there has been some healing with her home for the holidays. He still doesn't trust her (AT ALL), but he is kind to her and does love her very much. He holds me steady through the manipulation. I don't always appreciate him pointing it out to me, but he is often right about what is going on. I think he has detached to a point that he sees things so much more clearly. I try to remember that even when this mama bear is trying so hard to protect her baby cub. We seem to balance each other well -- I bring grace while he brings clear (and sometimes hardline) thinking. We are blessed to have weathered this storm together, but it has not been easy. We've had good counselors along the way who have helped.

    I appreciate all of the kind advice -- that's why I finally posted, and I am pursuing some of the ideas mentioned along the way. This board has provided much practical help, and emotional support, at a time when there are few in my circle that get what we are going through. So, thanks...
  18. Nomad

    Nomad Well-Known Member

    Please keep in the back of your mind that there is a better than average chance that the grandchild will be a difficult child. Your daughter seems to suffer with a mental illness and the birthfather might very well suffer as well.

    Prayers and good wishes.