Need Help with Troubled Adult Child

Updated on April 02, 2010
D.C. asks from Caldwell, ID
11 answers

Well Ladies, I have never done this so please be patiant. I have a Foster son, whom I helped raise from the time he was six. I didnt get full care of him until he was fifteen and then he lived with my husband and I until he was nineteen. I feel as though he is my son, Here is the problem, he is now thirty and has his own family. He has been doing really well until the last year. He moved many miles away and now it seems that he has gotten into alchole and drugs. I have been told that he has all but abbandoned his family. I am really worried and scared for him, but I am not sure how I can help him. He has no phone and I am not even sure if he is getting my messages or mail. I have thought about traking him down, by calling all the bars and things like that in his town as it has been months since I or his real mother have heard from him. Is there any way I can help him or is it just time to let him go and see if he comes back to us in time.

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So What Happened?

Well ladies, i sent him a letter and then christmas. I got a phone call on christmas morning and it was him. He is well and has now moved him and his family to a new town. He got himself some help for his drinking and has promised to keep better in touch. Thank you all for the help. this time i really think there may be a happy ending.

More Answers



answers from Salt Lake City on

It might not help but what if it would? Sometimes even as adults we need to know that mom loves us and cares. It might be a wake up call for him if you did track him down and gave him a good shaking. Does he really want someone else raising his kids? probably not. He might be struggling and really need help and just need a voice of love that goes beyond the basic call. I might get flack for saying all this've been his mom, you have that mom-tuition you know? trust your gut. If you feel you need to let it go for now, trust that if you feel you need to go find him at the bars and shake some sense into him do that. It might not help but what if it did? once you've been raising a child, your blood or not I think they do become yours, you may share that with their "real" parents but it doesn't make you less of a parent to them. My other "kids" have been with us for only a year, not all the years you had yours either but I know how I can't let go--and I commend you for that, not everyone will care that much--trust your gut.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Denver on

Hi D.,
I too did foster care (specialized)- it's hard when they make mistakes, or follow the paths of their biological parents. I also have done a lot of drug and alcohol counseling and the truth is: you can't help them unless they want to help themselves. I saved a poem that one of my foster kids gave me when he left my home, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do (it still warms my heart :)

Mine for a While
written by Corina DeVries

Not by birth
By God's knowing design
A child of hers
For a while is mine
You test, you push
Brake every rule
Then flash that smile
Your greatest tool
You make me think
In a different way
My son of hers
Who will never stay
I show you how
To sing and to cry
You teach me what
I can do if I try
I've watched you learn
How to say no
And I'm learning how
To let you go
I have felt your pain
And cried your tears
Laughed with you
And faced some fears
You have added a new
Dimension to me
And become a part
Of my family
Dear child of mine
I give to you
My heart and soul
My conscience too
You take my love
And let it grow
Pass it on
Wherever you go
And when you
Become a man
Remember me
And take a stand
To help another
Child along
So he can also
Grow up strong

A child of His, mine for a while....

Peace, T.



answers from Boise on

I'm sorry that has to be such a difficult spot to be in!

I honestly think that there is nothing you can do for him, at least not until he wants the help, the best you can do for him at this point is to be there for the family he created. One day hopefully he will look around and see where his life has taken him and then he will come for help. I wished I had more and maybe one of the other momma's will have some better advice.



answers from Denver on

What a wonderful person you are to have been so involved with him and care so much for him.
Unfortunately when someone has an addiction all bets are off they will accept much help, until they hit rock bottom and WANT the help, there is not a whole lot you can do.
It is sad at his age he is in this situation, the best you can do is let him know you care for him, let him know if he wants help you will help him, otherwise you may distance things a tad. People with drug addictions are very just focused on the fix, stealing if they have to and not caring right now who they hurt along the way.
There is NOTHING wrong with you trying to find him and letting him know you love him. It has to be him that decides he wants the help and will do the right thing.
He needs all the love and support you can give and his real mom too, however just don't expect that love to be enough to fix the addiction.
Good luck and God Bless you for being a great person!!!!! He will appreciate it very much one day I am sure.



answers from Denver on

First of all, God bless you and your husbands efforts to love a child as your own flesh and blood. That is a special calling.

Second, I have no experience as a parent of adult child, but I was troubled adult. The one thing that helped me come back to my family was hitting an emotional bottom. I am certain that is the last thing a mother wants to happen to her child. However, when I did come back my family opened doors and arms with out judgement. Dont get me wrong, I had alot of reconciling to do and forgiveness to ask for, but that is a subject for another day.

I would not make your self crazy or blame yourself in any way. If you can not reach him you can reach his wife and kids. Love on them, support them and help give them what they need to survive. Your son is a legal adult. So I always say focus energy on the children when needed. Dont give up on him. Remember God loves him infanitely more than you do.

Take care and I am sure all of us here wish you the best outcome possible.


answers from San Francisco on

Most of those who have decided to go the route that your son has there is a reason for. Money issues', relationship, employment or another friend who finds this to be good and your son is just following. Unfortunately we mothers worry ourselves sick over things like this. If you feel that you could possibly get in touch with him, well try to. He is obviously going on the wrong track and at 30 should know better, however, like I said there could be reasons why he took this route. My heart goes out to you and his real mom. I do wish you the best, perhaps getting in touch with his family, they may know of his whereabouts (I hope so). If and when you do get in touch with him and I sincerely hope that he responds don't bring up what you know to be the truth because he will be in denial and because he knows both of you love him and of course he loves you he may distance himself even more. Just call with a friendly "hello" how are you, general conversation. Let him bring his habits up to you, thats when you can tell him that you are there for him. He needs to hear this. Once you have talked with him a few times perhaps then bring out the fact that he needs help, or hopefully he will tell you himself. Its obvious that he needs an intervention, he needs to see and talk with someone. Don't lose his trust in you (his mom) and his other mother. Do not procrastinate. Like I mentioned he knows what hes' doing but you need to find out the why and until hes' willing to bring it up, you can perhaps mention someone else you know thats' doing the same as him to kind of open up the conversation and maybe he will open himself to you. Pls. get in touch with his I guess now ex family, I'm sure that they would be more than helpful to help you out.
Take care and I wish you well. Slow and easy with him, your there for him, your love is unconditional and you are more than willing to help him.



answers from Denver on

my father is an alcoholic... he is in recovery, but it took him "hitting bottom" as other posters have said until he finally woke up and realized he was slowly killing himself with alcohol.

so while i will agree with other posters that your son has to hit bottom... what exactly that is, is different for every person. Perhaps having one of the most stable and strong, loving people you know, find you and tell you she loves but that she knows you are an alcoholic that needs help, could be that "bottom". people who drink and do drugs have powerful denial going on... they tend to think they have things under control. hey may not know you know about him. (my dad tells a story about an AA friend, an attorney who said his "bottom" was when even the garbage man knew he was the "drunkard" attorney in town".. he really thought he was "managing" his drinking.

and well, if that doesn't help, you can at least know you reached out to him. I'm sorry you are going through this, it is heartbreaking. its like standing on the shore and watching someone drown. I pray for you son's safety and that soon his eyes will be opened to the pain he is causing his family and damage he is doing to himself.



answers from Great Falls on

you are close relatives not by blood, but by soul-connections, so he IS your son, and you DO care about him as your kid, even when you will be older, and he will be in his fifties :)! These connections never fade, and it is so wonderful!
You say he has a family, so you practically have grandkids there, too. Why don't you go visit and see what is going on,
because this grapevine wire brought you the message, but you are not quite aware of what exactly is going on there. If you could go there, to see the grandkids, just a friendly visit, ou'd be able to talk to his wife also, and understand the situation.
Then, you'd know what steps to take: AlAnon, of course, but it is possible ONLY if he is in agreement to do it. You and his wife will get a lot of help there, to understand how and what YOU can help, but to get into the program for him - only when he wants it... it is sad but true, and this is why sometimes, the person needs to hit the wall and the bottom to finally realize that this is the trouble that he can not cope with alone, and has to accept help.
You can, and need and have to support your adult son, no matter the age and bloodlines, IF your soul feels so.
Go with your guts, do what your heart feels, and
all my prayers to you both !!!
D., ou are most wonderful MOM !!!



answers from Salt Lake City on


Why would you "let him go"? Don't imagine that if your son is into drugs and alcohol he will simply wake up some day and see the errors of his ways. It's time for some real intervention! If you truly care about him and his young family there are many programs out there to assist him to see that people love him enough to tell him to get his life back.

With my whole heart,
C. TLC with Loving Connections

What is Loving Connection?
Caring enough to share your whole heart.



answers from Denver on

Hope for friends and family of alcoholics.
AL-ANON Family Groups.

We didn't cause it, can't control it, and can't cure it.



answers from Denver on


First of all, thank you for all you have done in the foster care system. Our world is such a better place because of people like you and your husband.

I agree with those ladies who have encouraged you to get in touch with alanon. They are the experts in this area and can provide you with so much support.

As for advice, I would tell you to pray, pray, pray. Open your heart to God. He is always listening and knows what it is like for children to go astray - just look at where His creation has gone. A good friend of mine has a teenage son who went down the very path your son has gone down. She did not hear from him for months at a time and she didn't know he had gone to California and was living on the streets. She prayed earnestly everyday for him. One specific thing she prayed for was that someone would be there for him when he did hit rock bottom. Matt did hit bottom and God did provide help for him when he was ready to accept it. I believe this was God's answering of prayer.

As I write this, I realize I don't know what your relationship with God is like. I am praying for you and your son and his family. I pray that you would know that God does love you and cares very deeply for you and your son.

Please know that you are not powerless in this situation.


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