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Please help me learn how to comfort my teenage daughter


My daughter has been with us since she was 16 after her biological parents (who have mental illnesses) were unable to “control” her. They said they didn’t want her anymore and asked that she not communicate with them. She lived with me as her guardian but was upset and longed for biological family. We allowed her to live with her aunt for awhile but again her aunt could not handle her and said that she is no longer welcome in her home and has refused to have contact with her. My daughter is now 19 and her great grandmother just passed away and I took her to the small gathering. She asked to stay the night with her grandmother the first night and it went smoothly. However, the second night her aunt showed up. After she arrived her grandmother turned on her and said she didn’t want her to stay with her anymore. I took her with us to the hotel but she is devastated. She tried so hard to get them to like her and feels completely abandoned. She has went through a day or two of being angry with them and saying that it is their loss but is unable to convince herself for long and goes back to being devastated. It hurts me so bad to see her hurt this much but I don’t know what I can do. If you have any ideas please help me. She is already seeing a therapist and my husband and I along with our other children have told her over and over that we love her and never leave her. I know she loves us too but I think she will always long for acceptance for her biological family.

Replies

Finding a way for these kids to reconcile their feelings and relationships to biological families is one of the most difficult things to do.  They’ll feel anger, sadness, fear, and rejection.  And they’ll project all of that onto the people who love them and are trying to help.

Our daughter came to us at age 10, and we adopted her when she was 11.  She’s 15 now, and still dealing with constant questioning of why her biological family didn’t love her enough, why she wasn’t good enough, and this is all so devastating to her, too.  Bio-dad is mentally ill and in prison (again); bio-mom is mentally ill and an addict, and refusing treatment (again). 

We’re glad to hear that your daughter is engaging in therapy because that will help.  It won’t “fix” all of these feelings of anger and abandonment, but it will help her to eventually come to terms with them.

It just takes time and support and a growing maturity.  Studies show that, all too often, all of these pieces won’t click into place until the kid hits their mid-20s.  At that point, if you and your daughter are lucky, she’ll see that the family that she made was the one that supported and loved her where the family she was born into could not.

Best wishes and hang in there!

Posted by georgandpaul on Apr 15, 2019 at 12:43pm

She might benefit from a support group. Or movies re adoption like Instant Family, Blindside, Antwone Fisher Story. Watching them together and discussing may help her understand it was the adults nit the children who were the issues.

Posted by Regina on Apr 17, 2019 at 2:54pm

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