adoption, family

Paying for His Mistakes?

There is no middle ground when it comes to Marcus. He’s either in or he’s out with his perception about family. He can be up or he can be down with his emotions. He’s either with us in rural Connecticut or on the streets of a city slum in his old neighborhood. Marcus can be in a place where he makes a series of good decisions or a string of bad decisions. He is caught between his biological and his adoptive families. It doesn’t matter how often we try to get him to accept both.

When he came home from Job Corps for Thanksgiving it was great. He helped us with chores around the house.  He spent the weekend replacing light-bulbs and breaking down Carl’s bunk bed to replace it with a stand-alone frame. He hauled up the Christmas decorations from the basement so we could trim the tree and set up our annual zombie nativity scene (yes, really). Acts of service like this are the way Marcus shows us he cares.

Carl pretended to push Marcus off the ladder while he affixed the angel at the top of the tree. We played about 47 games of Phase 10 and Scattergories. Our house was filled with activity and laughter the entire week. It was wonderful.

Now Marcus is back at Job Corps. I’ve sent him a care package of Ramen noodles via Amazon Prime. He has what he needs and he’s in a place that is safe. He passed his return drug test so he’ll be able to go off-grounds for weekends (as opposed to Holidays only) starting this week. His life seems to be progressing in the right direction. I can feel good about the choices he’s making.

Except…except…I’m not confident he’ll continue to make them. When we discussed Christmas break he mentioned going back to the city to stay with a friend. He’ll be back in the thick of the drama that got him jumped in the first place. It’s so easy to slip into old habits in that environment. He’s 21, but when it comes to thinking choices through he’s developmentally around 6.

He sent me a message last night asking if we could cover a court fee for $50. When I pressed him as to why he said it was from driving with a suspended license. He claimed not to remember when or why his license was suspended, only that it was now reinstated. He sent me a pic of the re-reinstatement paperwork. Although he says he’s not able to cover the cost, I think he can. I know Job Corps gives him a little over this amount each month.

Honestly, I don’t want to pay it. When he left home the last time to live in his car and return to less-than-legal employment in the city, he got in trouble. He got stopped while driving an unregistered vehicle. His car insurance lapsed. He popped a tire doing donuts in a parking lot because he lives life like a Fast and the Furious movie.

I just can’t bring myself to feel like this is my problem. Luke and I did have his car towed to bio-dad’s house after it was impounded. He won’t give us the real reason why his license was suspended other than “it was the cop’s fault, man!” These are the natural consequences of his very bad choices. Part of me thinks when he leaves for winter break he will get sucked back into the city and skip out on Job Corps.

I don’t want to pay it. I don’t want to support his bad decisions. What I want to do is say, “I TOLD you so!!” However, I know it will cause a rift in our family. I really just don’t know what the right move is here.

**Names have been changed to protect the privacy of those involved.


14 thoughts on “Paying for His Mistakes?

  1. I call our blog “life in the next 5 minutes” for a reason. Our kiddos old and young are simply incapable of making “neurotypical” connections like cause and effect. They live in a tight circle of now, 5 minutes from now, and 5 minutes in the past. For mine actions and choices that were made a day ago can seem to them like months ago.
    I have found that all I can do is encourage the good choices in the now. As long as he is making those choices now, I would pay the $50. As much as I have struggled to help them make those connection of past behavior I have come to the sincere understanding that they just can’t :).
    Hope you are healing well 🙂
    Debra Cronnelly

    Liked by 3 people

  2. C says:

    Oh boy. 6 years old with adult privileges. Can you imagine that? I would bet he feels that way too. Maybe there is a way to set up a system for him to admit things to you and you give him half. something like a contract maybe? maybe get a few options and ask him which he likes best and is most likely to stick to. I know it’s a very delicate situation right now. One thing I learned in social psych use “I” statements and give him the choice and responsibility. I know what it’s like when the chronological age and developmental ages are mismatched. It’s messy. I hope things go well and you and your kids are able to enjoy the holiday season. I know it’s rough for you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. skinnyhobbit says:

    It’s difficult, especially as you not bailing him out might spark his temper. But at the same time, you can’t keep bailing him out every time either. Tough call to make, however you decide.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kathryn page says:

    hi–would it be ok to share this post with my little group of parents/professionals?kathy

    From: Herding Chickens and Other Adventures in Foster and Adoptive Care To: Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2018 5:56 PM Subject: [New post] Paying for His Mistakes? #yiv6990091445 a:hover {color:red;}#yiv6990091445 a {text-decoration:none;color:#0088cc;}#yiv6990091445 a.yiv6990091445primaryactionlink:link, #yiv6990091445 a.yiv6990091445primaryactionlink:visited {background-color:#2585B2;color:#fff;}#yiv6990091445 a.yiv6990091445primaryactionlink:hover, #yiv6990091445 a.yiv6990091445primaryactionlink:active {background-color:#11729E !important;color:#fff !important;}#yiv6990091445 | HerdingChickens posted: “There is no middle ground when it comes to Marcus. He’s either in or he’s out with his perception about family. He can be up or he can be down with his emotions. He’s either with us in rural Connecticut or on the streets of a city slum in his old neighbor” | |


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s