Ask The Counsellor: I am done with my daughter!

My adopted daughter eloped. I took her in after my sister passed away when she was a child and raised her together with my husband. She never said a word to us as her guardians.

Dear Counsellor,

My adopted daughter eloped. I took her in after my sister passed away when she was a child and raised her together with my husband. She never said a word to us as her guardians. We sent her to university and she graduated but she has not worked since. We know nothing about the husband. We do not know where he works or his occupation; we do not know his background or his parents. Even after her marriage she has not said anything to us. We heard from a mutual friend about the wedding. I feel like she has no respect or gratitude because we really sacrificed a lot for her. However, my husband thinks that we should reach out to her and I honestly want nothing to do with her.

Rosemary

 

Dear Rosemary,

When you are betrayed by someone you love, in this case an adopted child who you nurtured, educated and helped to shape, you may question everything you thought about your relationship and the sacrifice you made to see her grow. Ironically, as adoptive parents, you may think that you did a good job to adopt, nurture and bring up this girl; yet she may wish you had done certain things quite differently. Consequently, she could be keeping the door so tightly closed as a way of punishing you for her purported belief that you didn’t fulfil your parental responsibilities.

This is so dismaying and brings deep emotional wounds that you may feel tempted to give up on her. However, remember that she’s just stepped into adulthood and, therefore accept the fact that she’s going to make her share of mistakes to learn about life.

You can start by trying to understand why your child feels the way she does about you not because you deserve that kind of treatment, but as an act of recognizing the changing nature of parent-child relations today. Remember, this is your child permanently who is expected to enjoy all the rights and privileges that a biological child would enjoy including forgiveness. Accepting the reality of an adult child’s abandonment, and your helplessness to change it, may feel like letting go of hope. However, your parental actions can save this girl from getting ruined completely and reconnect with you to restore her parental blessing and she’ll be thankful for you. It would be good to talk to her to understand how she is and why she chose to take such a drastic decision.

While you’re not always directly to blame for your daughter’s choice, typically it’s your parental responsibility to initiate repairing the relationship because in this conflict, you’re considered to be the most rational party who knows the significance of child-parental love, peace and reconciliation. Transform the hate by forgiving her and continue doing the right thing and living as role models to her. This is because creating the right relationships with our kids is not about how we care in the beginning but how much we care till the very end. Looking to the future with a positive mindset promotes the well-known attitude of gratitude that’s so helpful in re-establishing lost relationships. In my opinion I would suggest you first send a message that says you love her and you want what is best for her and if her marriage is what she wants then you hope you can at least continue to be in her life and have a chance to get to know her husband. Remember if this girl gets in trouble, rest assured, you’ll be cal
led in for help because adoptive parents are the child’s parents forever.

 

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NEXT WEEK’S PROBLEM: My daughter has a bad temper

Dear Counsellor,

I am a single mother with two children - a boy and girl. We have been a very happy family, but my 12-year-old daughter has out of nowhere developed a very bad temper lately. However, she has not always been like this. Growing up, she was this calm and peaceful child I was proud of but her behaviour is now an issue of concern. Her teachers tell me that at school she is well-behaved and this has even left me more confused. Is there something I am not doing right as a parent? Does her erratic temperament have anything to do with her age? Please advise me on how I can handle this situation because it is beginning to worry me that I could lose her.

Pauline

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