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Runaway

(24 Posts)
Cathie58 Fri 01-Feb-19 14:01:00

Hello, this is my first post here. I am feeling upset and worried about my 18 year old DD who has run off to a village outside Prague (from UK).

We adopted DD when she was 7. Over the 10+ years she hasn't really been able to attach and trust us. She has almost daily started rows and conflicts that have gotten more powerful with each passing year.

OH gets most wounded (as he yearns for closeness) and seems permanently depressed and so angry from all the conflict. I have been learning how to keep myself emotionally well balanced through the daily conflicts, to the point where I just feel relieved if DD is home but not in a fighting mood.

Regularly, OH speaks to me about wanting her to leave (code for being lost in terms of having any degree of influence with her - I have teeny amount more).

With her 18th approaching she began telling us she would be doing things and going places and we could not stop her as she is an Adult! Although we explained how worried we are for her safety and offered her some support, she just wanted her freedom. So, on the back of one of the "discussions" she fled to Prague to be with her GF (they had never met, only connected on social media).
We initially worried some danger would befall her, but she is alive and in love and girls mother is clearly feeding her and keeping her.

So, the point of this post is that I haven't anyone I can talk to about how I feel apart from husband and 2 friends. We haven't told others (unclear about her plans until today).
Today she let us know about extending her stay and resigned from her job after having letters from Head Office about unauthorised absence. She will earn nothing as of next week and is indicating she is planning to stay with her GF in Prague area.

If she does plan to return, OH is not keen to have her home as we do believe all the old rows will recur.I am also very concerned that she will return and continue with her old ways.

I feel worried, sad, bereaved, shocked and a bit of a failure as a parent. I feel worried for her longer term prospects and I feel frustrated that all communication is on messenger and that we have no impact on her anyway.

I feel caught on the horns of a dilemma: her couldn't care behaviours which hurt us daily but she could be here and safe vs our health.

Thank you for reading.

Telly Fri 01-Feb-19 14:18:11

Well that's a difficult one. But I would tend to agree with your OH, she is and adult and is obviously unhappy at home. She doe'nt have the power to hurt you unless you allow it. Her early years experience has taught her not to trust others, even after all this time. Perhaps the realities of life will make her change her mind. There will also come a time when other people will not be willing or able to keep her. I would certainly not send any money and if she does come home I would start making some rules if she wishes to stay under your roof. You have done your best, take a step back and perhaps take the time to relax and build a life with your OH.

HildaW Fri 01-Feb-19 14:23:46

Oh dear its tough being a parent!. You will worry I know so I wont tell you not too.
Will just say my darling daughter did something very similar half way through her A levels. Walked out - took exams but did not seem to care about going to University etc. We knew she was alive and well (in next county not country thankfully).
Anyway after 6 months she returned. Phoned up in tears...'can I come home?'. Well of course she could - we did not delve too deep into the whys just let her find her feet and re-start her life. A few jobs were tried and a few boy friends.
Anyway long story short she's a loving Mum of two, has a sweet caring husband and a busy fulfilling life. We respect and love each other...we are never going to be the sort of Mum and DD on the phone every day but we keep in contact, visit and have a lovely time. She tells me all about her life and has come up trumps many a time when I've needed support. I love her to bits and all's well.
Just keep the lines of communication open, try not to make demands....just pick up the pieces with as few recriminations as possible. They can be very delicate and prickly so careful handling is required no matter how much you want to scream....'You are really messing up your life'......Take care and do not beat yourself up, its not so uncommon.

crazyH Fri 01-Feb-19 14:50:42

Please don't bite my head off when I repeat what was told to me some time ago ....the adopted daughter is the daughter you 'chose' as opposed to a biological daughter. Therefore the hurt will be much greater, when they turn against you. You were not duty bound to take her in, but you did and you gave her a loving home and she is now your DD.
Having said that, I have a difficult relationship with my daughter, who thinks I have been hard on her, compared to her brothers. Like Hilda says, my daughter and I are never going to be best buddies....we don't chat on the phone for hours. We are there for each other if the need arises. Sometimes I wish we were closer, but I think our personalities clash and so it's best to stay at a comfortable distance 😂

EllanVannin Fri 01-Feb-19 15:20:34

Although old enough to leave home, these teens still don't understand that in most cases the " grass is never greener elsewhere " and will soon realise that home is where they belong.
As HildaW said don't make an issue of her leaving and just take each day as it comes while there is contact. It's best not to look too far ahead you'll only make yourself ill.

Chances are that she may want to return with her friend ?

HildaW Fri 01-Feb-19 15:25:49

crazyH - I recognise so much of that. And can I just add (without going into too much detail) there is an element of adoption in my equation. So there were past frictions and problems of identity - its so much for these young children/people to cope with and sometimes it takes a new friend (or more) for them to work through what they really feel about the important people in their lives.

wildswan16 Fri 01-Feb-19 15:46:43

Although the past ten years sound a bit "rocky", you do appear to have managed to raise an independent, resourceful, young lady. She hasn't followed a path you might have wished for her, but she is well, living within a family environment and is keeping in touch with you to some extent.

Keep the communication open if you can, allow her to make her own decisions and hopefully things will settle down.

silverlining48 Fri 01-Feb-19 16:15:12

Adoption at the age your daughter was is seen as fraught with problems, I remember children aged over 8 were seen as unadoptable, generally because of the experiences some of them had had prior to adoption.
I obviously don’t know the circumstances but try not to see this necessarily as rejection of you and your husband but is perhaps about a young person trying to come to terms with her own history.
The fact that she is keeping in touch with you is positive, try to keep lines of communication open and remember that teenagers whether adopted or not can be very awkward indeed.

sodapop Fri 01-Feb-19 16:29:50

I agree with wildswan , it's difficult for you I understand that. When she returns home perhaps you should have some ground rules for you all as she is now an adult.

DoraMarr Fri 01-Feb-19 17:23:00

You sound as though you have made a success of bringing up your daughter. If she was seven when she came to you she will have had such a difficult early childhood that it will have left her with some problems in attaching. She is still communicating with you, even if it is just on messenger, so she obviously cares enough about you that she wants you to know she is safe and well. This may not be the life you wanted for her, but she is an almost adult now and she needs to make her own decisions, and her own mistakes. You have given her a secure home and tried your best for more than ten years, which is a great achievement.

Ginny42 Fri 01-Feb-19 18:18:16

Sorry to hear what's happened especially on the very day we're coping with an adopted son with attachment difficulties. It's hard to deal with and we love them so much.

I would say keep communication light, with no sadness or recriminations. Ask what she's doing, where she's been and what she's seen, possibly tell her a bit of home news. Avoid emotions saying how much you miss her and when is she coming home, etc.

She is an adult now that's true, but may need to have more life experience before she can truly grasp the love and opportunities you have given her to set her on her life path. Take credit for that. x

Buffybee Fri 01-Feb-19 22:24:17

I can't add much to the wise words above but I will add that she is indeed an adult and you can't make her behave how you would like her to do.
She appears to be living happily with her Gf and family and appears to be safe.
I would leave her to live her life and get on with yours, be supportive and keep the lines of communication open, that is all you can do really.

Urmstongran Fri 01-Feb-19 22:49:34

Such good advice on here already. I’d just like to say this must be so very hard for you right now and I send my best wishes to you all and hope things work out well.

Buffybee Sat 02-Feb-19 00:46:35

Cathy I've just noticed the title of your thread again, 'Runaway '. A run away would be someone under 18, who you would be able to report missing to the Police.
Your daughter should not be described as a "run away", she has left home, which lots of young adults do at her age.
Also, I don't understand the secrecy, you say that only your husband and two friends know that she is living away from home.
You should just relax and tell anyone who should know, that she has left home and is living with her Gf in Prague.

megan123 Sat 02-Feb-19 08:18:27

Cathie I am so sorry to read your story, and the worry and upset you are feeling.

You have had a tough ten years with your girl, and adopted her at 7 years old, but one thing is very clear, you have raised an independent young woman, who despite all cares for you. She is keeping in contact and that shows she cares.

She has many questions about her formative years, and she is trying to find some answers I think. It is so much easier these days with social media etc, there was nothing like that and huge barriers years ago for me to finding out anything. There is, however, always that need, curiosity, to find out more of your biological life.

I know you feel hurt and worried, but try not to, you have raised an independent young lady who is looking for answers. Leave the lines of communication open, tell her how glad you are she is keeping in contact, but also tell her you love and miss her, she needs to hear that. Take care of yourself and your husband you have given a child a home, loved and cared for her - now it's your time.

I send you my love and thoughts, take good care flowers

anxiousgran Sat 02-Feb-19 08:55:18

Cathie, I feel so sorry about your situation. I don’t have daughters or any experience of adoption so can’t add any wisdom to what OPs have said.
All you can do is to keep loving her and keep lines of communication open. As other OPs have said she is still finding herself but wants you to know she is safe.
The realities of life will ht her when she is without income.
Hopefully she will return home, and make a success of her life. She has all of it before her, and perhaps she is making her mistakes early.
Hope you and your DH can support each other, and keep speaking to your friends. flowers

Missfoodlove Sat 02-Feb-19 09:32:21

A new start in a new country may be what she needs.
She isn’t necessarily runnning away from you but from her own problems that she isn’t ready to face yet.
All the above advice is good and I hope it helps.
Prague is generally a very safe place with lots of opportunity for work. Many large UK and international companies are based there.
My son went to university there and had made Prague his home.
Czech people are reserved but warm when you get to know them.
The standards of health care and education are very high.
I sincerely hope it works out for you.

Floradora9 Sat 02-Feb-19 09:43:13

I would use her stay as a breathing space for yourselves and wait and see what happens . As others have said who know what baggage she carries with her daily having been adopted at 7 . You have done your best so tell her you will always love and support her but she has to play her part in this as well . It mustbe terrible to feel regected after all you have done but maybe a bit of space will help .

Cathie58 Sat 02-Feb-19 14:56:19

I am so glad I posted yesterday. Your messages convey your empathy and understanding so I thank you for that.
DD had her 18th birthday over there and I am sure had a fabulous day with the girl she loves. The girl's mother seems willing to continue hosting my DD so I am grateful for that bit of security.
I agree this is her time to find herself and our time to rediscover ourselves. I do feel so much better for having shared with you all and feel something in me has shifted out of the grieving and hurt phase into a new phase for me which I am yet to make sense of.
Thank you all flowers - for you. x

HildaW Sat 02-Feb-19 17:37:59

Cathie58 When these events happen in families you tend to feel you are the only person it happens to and feel as if you have failed. Its not that unusual, particulars vary but there is a common thread. So glad you got some benefit from sharing. Its all about carrying on with your own life and not overthinking what she is doing - she knows you are there and will be there still, when she is ready to take the next step. All the best.

grandtanteJE65 Sun 03-Feb-19 11:41:49

You have done your best for her. She is an adult now and can live and work where she chooses, subject to small matters such as EU regulations.

Keep in touch, don't criticize her choices, and if she comes running home or phones begging for help, suggest she finds herself a new job and a place to live.

Tell her you love her, but that she has made it painfully clear over the years that she didn't like living with you, so that now that she can legally stand on her own feet, she should do so.

Having to deal with our own problems is part of growing up. Don't help too much, or she will never grow up.

She's in touch with her biological family, now, or at least that is how I understood the grandfather you referred to, so she isn't completely on her own.

You haven't failed as a parent, and as like as not, she will realise that once she has stood on her own feet for a while.

luluaugust Sun 03-Feb-19 12:42:24

Most important thing seems to be to stay in touch whatever way you can, then if she does want to return the lines are open and you know where she is. All the best.

Luckygirl Sun 03-Feb-19 12:55:45

Such good advice here. One thing I would say is that during my working career I was in touch with a number of adoptive parents and when things got tough during the teenage years they did tend to blame themselves or the fact of the child being adopted. But it is worth remembering that this can be a rocky phase with any child; and also that her desire to break free and lead her own life is in fact entirely normal - and we, as parents, have to go through the pain of losing them when they set off on their own life's path. But it is also true that often they come back to the fold - with a new relationship with us - but having made their stance as an individual.

You are still in touch with her - that is good - tell her you love her and that you love hearing about her new life and are glad that she feels happy. Praise her achievements; tell her little details of what you are up to; send her presents on birthdays etc. - in other words, communicate with her as an adult loved family member. Give it time and see what happens. Expand your own lives now and try and let go of the past conflicts; and more importantly of any feelings of guilt. There is nothing to feel guilty about - you did your best as parents (as we all do) with the added complication of a late adoption and all that this implies.

Maybe - just maybe - you did a good job with the raw materials you were given - it is worth considering that!

ClareAB Sun 03-Feb-19 12:55:45

It is so hard when you have opened your hearts and home to your GD and she appears to be rejecting everything and you.
Without knowing the background, its likely that she has a degree of attachment disorder and fundamentally finds it difficult to trust, love and maintain healthy relationships having had a break down in primary care relationships previously.
Add to that the turmoil of adolescence with the need to grow as an independent adult, and you have a perfect recipe for extremely challenging times. Part of the difficulty in attaching is the constant need to test. If I do this will they still love me?
You have managed all of this brilliantly. Carry on telling her that you love her. Explain to your husband that she doesn't mean this personally and that she probably believes deep down that she is unlovable and that she will ultimately be rejected. She doesn't 'get 'unconditional love. Yet.

Wishing you all the luck in the world