My parents got divorced when I was nine years old. Since then, there has been no peace in my life. My father, who is twenty years older than my mother, goes from woman to woman, and he brings them with him when he is permitted to visit me at home….

My mother has been in a relationship that began even before the divorce… but she leaves me alone in our family’s house, if you can call it that. She sleeps at her boyfriend’s house in another part of town, and doesn’t want to get married until my father dies, since she wants to inherit the house and have the right to a widow’s pension.

I don’t want to continue my studies, but I’m even less motivated to work. Yet I’d like to help my parents and not feel so abandoned. The examples set by my family are not good at all.

Dear Friend,

I am impressed with your maturity and your emotional stability. Many adolescents who have similar family circumstances deal with their situations by escaping into lives of drugs and alcohol. Instead of realizing how bad their familial examples have been, they follow those examples and get themselves into the same kinds of problems, or even worse.

Fortunately, you have survived your adolescent years living as a captive of your parents’ choices. You are wise enough to understand that you do not have to follow in their footsteps, and that as an adult you will no longer have to be a captive to their mistakes.

I understand how you mourn the family life that you never had. My parents were divorced when I was about the same age as you were, and I am sad to remember it only as a time of turmoil and confusion. I was a captive of their continuing bad decisions, and I felt frustrated and powerless.

However, I was blessed to have relatives who took me to church, where I learned that God loves me and that He is powerful, wise, and caring enough to help me make a better life for my children. Giving my children a more stable and happy home than I had became one of the highest goals of my life. Instead of focusing on what was wrong with my past, my personal relationship with God helped me to look forward to a future where He would help me make good decisions and be a good example.

Eventually my husband and I decided not only to be a good example for our birth children, but also to adopt three other children. We chose to give them stable lives in a home with parents who love each other. We are not perfect parents, as they can tell you, but God helped us give them a family that I only wish that I had had.

What do you want for your future children? Plan for that life, and make your decisions today looking toward that goal. God will help you if you let Him.

We wish you well,