Friday, September 26, 2014

The Prodigal Daughter Returns?

While the title of this post might seem a little odd because I am Jewish, I still thought it somewhat apt, given the circumstances.

I've heard secondhand that Danielle plans to return for a visit.  At last word, she'll stay with FosterEema for a few days.  After that, my understanding is that she plans to move back to my fair city.

No, she will not live with me.

At last word, Danielle was hoping to move in with a male friend she knows from her time at the charter school.  I don't know who he is, or anything about his living situation, but I fear this could be a recipe for disaster.

Just the idea of Danielle moving coming back to town has stirred up a lot of big feelings for me.  The truth is, I'm not entirely sure I want to see her.  While it's been nearly a year since we've had any face-to-face time, I feel reluctant to bring her back into my life.

While I've done my best to forgive Danielle for her final explosion in 2013, I haven't been able to forget what she did.  She caused hundreds of dollars of damage to the house and hit me hard enough the police arrested her and sent her to juvenile hall.  It was the sixth time we had to call 911.

I'm not without sympathy or empathy for her and her problems.  I also see that a year hasn't been enough time for her to change in any meaningful way.  Danielle hasn't completed high school or gotten her GED.  She's not working.  She's spent the last 11 months bouncing from one birth family member to another.

My stepmother often repeats the phrase, "Wherever you go, that's where you are."  I think Danielle has moved about thinking that all her problems are caused by the people around her.  Before FosterEema and I split, she blamed me for her difficulties.  Once she and FosterEema had their own place, suddenly everything was FosterEema's fault.  As she travels from home to home, the same problems reoccur, but Danielle doesn't understand her role in them.  People are, it seems, grossly unreasonable for expecting her to contribute in a meaningful way to the household.

I fear that Danielle will move in with her male friend, only to discover that all the problems she had living with me, FosterEema, and her birth family are still there.  Sure, there will be different people, but the difficulties always seem to be the same.  She hasn't learned the world doesn't owe her a living.

It's sad.

My biggest worry is that she'll end up blowing out of her living situation and end up on my doorstep, homeless.  My sweetheart and I have discussed this possibility, and we both agree that we cannot allow Danielle to live with us.  While my man is a very sweet and generous soul, he isn't ready to take on the role of stepfather to an extremely troubled, and sometimes violent, young adult.  I do not wish to again live with a young woman who verbally and physically abused me.

If she ends up homeless, the most I can do is be a sympathetic ear and to offer the best advice I can in the moment.

I hope it doesn't come to that.

Even my father and stepmother, who have long been Danielle's most ardent supporters, feel the same way.  While they are okay with her visiting for a few days, they've made it clear they aren't willing to live with her.  My stepmother remarked that Danielle clearly needs help, but she won't take even the smallest steps to help herself.  We've suggested she enroll in programs like Teen ChallengeJob Corps, or return to high school, but so far she hasn't shown any interest.

Without a diploma, GED, job skills she has guaranteed herself the hardest life possible.

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