Worried about my daughter.


New Member
Hello everybody, I've been reading these forums for a while and would like to get some perspectives on our situation. I have a 16 year old daughter who was adopted as a 7-months-old. She always struggled with being adopted, and feeling rejected and abandoned by her birth mother. We would talk about it a lot, and it was also addressed at the heritage camps we attended, and she was in counseling for a while. She's always been a smart, hardworking, and genuinly nice kid.
Then we moved, she started at a new school and we started seeing behaviors we've never seen from her. She made friends with a group of kids who are essentially a bad influence. Started skipping school, talking back, starting arguments over basically nothing... we tried stopping her from seeing these kids but she snuck out. No kind of punishment seemed to convince her to change her behaviors. And almost daily phone calls from school.... I started dreading answering the phone. We've been through detentions and suspensions. Eventually at the end of the last year we got a notice for an expulsion hearing (daughter hacked the school computer to change her grades - she was failing a lot of classes because at that point she was barely showing up). We managed to get through that without a formal expulsion on her record but she still had to leave the school.
So this year, we decided on a fresh start and enrolled her at a private Christian school where the principal is a family friend. They just reopened and daughter is again skipping school and spending time with that same group of kids. Counseling doesn't help. Punishing her doesn't help. It's like she couldn't care less.
Last week we found a small nylon bag of white powder in her room. I feel like she's getting involved in more dangerous things and it's as if there's nothing we can do to help. Right now we've reazlied that we just have to get her out of this environment, she's not improving here and things are just getting worse. We considered therapeutic boarding schools but I'm worried that would lead to her being stigmatized in the future with college and jobs. Another option is to send her to live with our relatives but then what if she just does the same things over there?
Not knowing what to do feels horrible. I know she's suffering and I just don't know how to help her.

good vibes

New Member
It's tough and many of us have been there before. The teenage years of 14 to 16 can be the worst. If it's any consolation, most of the issues dissipate as you get into the older teenage years. The tough part is likely to be getting through the next year.

A couple of words of advice - keep loving her; letting her know that you're there to talk, that you support her. Try to avoid arguments; when the time comes, she might come back to you and you need to keep that communication door open.

Has she spoken with a psychologist? Her behavior may stem from a feeling of abandonment, self esteem, betrayal, anxiety, depression. You are currently doing all the work in keeping her in school, but what does she want? The answer is she probably doesn't know and some therapy might lead her to some motivations. She needs to find the girl that she was to find the woman that she will become.

I wouldn't worry about college and jobs right now. If your child agrees to a therapeutic year, I think you should consider it. Once she gets her priorities in order, she can always make up for the lost time. If she gets deeper into drugs and maintains that deviant peer group, college and jobs will fall off the agenda in any event.


Well-Known Member
We considered therapeutic boarding schools but I'm worried that would lead to her being stigmatized in the future with college and jobs.
I wouldn't worry about college and jobs right now.
Hello. I have an adopted child too, a son who I adopted at 22 months. We had no problems either until he was about the age of your daughter, except for ADHD related issues throughout school. Our relationship was a joy. Then it wasn't.

I agree with goodvibes. I think college and jobs is a non-issue at this point. First, I don't think teenage behavioral problems will affect later life UNLESS they are not resolved. I would do everything and anything I could do now, in order to help her get a grip. First of all this would be a confidential health-related matter. And second, who cares? I know loads of young people who have had these kinds of issues, who got into fine colleges and had stellar careers. That includes both serious mental illness and serious drug problems. These things are very common and people overcome them. That would be my focus.

I would find an excellent therapeutic boarding school. If my child did not take it seriously and participate, I think what I might consider is Job Corps. They will take young people at 16, I believe. It is a free, residential, well supervised job training program, where she would be able to complete high school and get drug training. There are sites all over the US. Your daughter needs to know that you won't play. That if she chooses to keep going down the drain that she will have to live the consequences.

Believe me I did not do this. I wish I had.

I know i am sounding severe, but the thing your daughter must get is that she cannot and will not be permitted to win, at taking this self-destructive path. She must work to turn this around. And if she doesn't there is no alternative that would permit her to return home to dominate the situation, as she has been doing. A therapeutic boarding school and Job Corps as a worst case possibility. to me make sense.

In the meantime there are organizations for adoptive children and their families that help them come to grips with all of the issues involved. She needs to understand how seriously you are taking this. I would get her into residential treatment now. There are parents who are here that have gotten their kids into residential treatment, and they have turned this around 180 degrees. The rest of us who played around, are still in the some variation of the same mess.

Welcome to you. And good luck. Posting helps. I hope you stay with us for awhile.