Our Teenaged Son was a Runaway

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I have been paralyzed for over a week.

Unable to write a word or formulate a thought. 

I’d find myself staring at the floor for untold moments.

Only feelings of grief and shock. 

You see, this past Tuesday, April 28th, our 16-year-old adopted son became a runaway.

Why Did Our Teenaged Son Run Away? Marty's Musings

Our son is the youngest of a sibling group we adopted in 2000. The ensuing years have not been easy ones for us. 

The details aren’t necessary but they include a secret internet life, theft, vandalism and unbelievable deception.

How is that even possible? We homeschool. I’m home 24/7 (and his dad has been home recovering from surgery for five months). 

I plastered social media with his picture and pleas for help finding him and bringing him home safely.

Here’s what I wrote:

I have hesitated to share this on my business page, but there’s no greater purpose in social media than to help and encourage others. My goal for my blog has always been transparency without judgment in order to encourage other women that they are not alone in this journey. Here’s what I shared on my personal page. Friends of our family who live in Greensboro and the surrounding area, our 16-year-old son ran away from home yesterday. There are so many more details to this story but the police have been notified. If ANYONE sees him please contact us immediately or call the police. For our many prayer warriors who have walked with us through these difficult years with our adopted children, we ask that you pray for my son’s safety and for God’s peace to surround us all. Thank you.

Two and a half days later he showed up at home, safe but with a heartbreaking tale of bad choices and consequences.

The pain that my son holds deep inside is beyond our abilities now. His actions have created a fork in the road for us. 

For him.

Painful. Heartbreaking. Exhausting. Necessary. 

He doesn’t want to live with us anymore.

He wants a fresh start and a chance to make new friends.

Just not in our home.

I Am Not Alone worship video by Kari Jobe reminds us that even in the midst of the darkest night God gives us hope and strength for each new day.

As all this has unfolded my husband has been sick with the flu for a week and ended up in the ER for 10 hours with severe dehydration and influenza. He is slowly recovering but without his support the isolation and anxiety have overwhelmed me. 

My chest has literally been physically heavy with the weight of yet another family crisis

I will write about this next chapter one day on the blog, but I wait for God to give me the words to share something so personal that is not just the story of our lives, but of our children’s as well.


This is not the end of the story.

Philippians 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.

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  1. Oh, Marty! I am so sorry. You know that I do understand the pain that you are walking through.
    Pop me an email if you want someone to share with that truly understands.
    I will be lifting you all up to Our Father, for wisdom and peace and love and grace.


    • Hi, Laurel. It’s definitely been a hard few weeks and I know you’ve walked such a similar road. Thanks for praying for us and understanding. Hope your new blog is going well. Marty

  2. My brother was in juvenile detention from age 10,on the run either running drugs or guns or with the gangs. He is now in prison for a sentence of the Hard 25 without parole.
    My heart is aching for you and your family members. I am lifting the whole thing to God. May God shine His Face upon you and bless you in ways that will heal.

  3. Lisa Simpson says:

    My heart is breaking for you. I can’t even imagine going through something like this. I pray that you find peace in knowing that God will help you through this difficult time. Keep the Faith Marty.

  4. Ellie Parker says:

    Remember that the weight of the crosses we shoulder can be lightened if we share the burden.
    I believe that you were placed in his life for a reason and purpose. Do not despair you have our love
    and the Lord’s. We will all be praying for you.

    • Hi, Ellie. We definitely know that our adopted children were given to us by God for a greater purpose than we can see now. Thank you so much for sending love and encouragement!

  5. Melanie says:

    I am so very sorry.

  6. You are so brave to share this. Remember to take care of yourself, too, and know that you are loved. xoxo

    • Karen, you are just the dearest of friends and an amazing encourager to me. Your gift to us during those most difficult days was so precious and will not be forgotten. I love you! Marty

  7. Lynn F. says:

    You were really brave to put these personal issues out there. We too have experienced heartache for choice that our older son made. And unfortunately the theft involved was not just against others, but his own parents. It’s been truly heartbreaking. He served a short year in prison, which I thought was too short of a time. Yes, this coming from his own mother. He is 28 and we took him in once he was released from prison. I have a very long road ahead as far as forgiveness and trust are concerned. Only God can help me with that. Please know that you have many people that are praying for you and that you are not alone in your struggles as a parent. I always look to Phillippans 4:13 each and every day. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God be with you!

    • Hi, Lynn. I appreciate you sharing your story with your son. There are so many families walking our very same road and sharing the burden lightens the load. None of our families are perfect and our children have free will to make their own choices. Yes, we can do all things through Christ! Blessings, Marty

  8. I’m so sorry to hear this. I wish for the best for you and your family.

  9. My heart completely hurts for your family. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers Marty. XO

  10. God has you and your family in the cradle of his arms, bless you!

  11. God’s grace and care is ever present, even when all seems hopeless. Your family is in a time of trial, yet God will see you through.

  12. Marty, I am so so sorry for all your family is going through. I am praying for peace and discernment for all of you. Having been through some very dark family times myself all I can tell you is to lean on the everlasting arms.

  13. Marty, my heart is breaking for you. I have no words, but will offer up prayers. Asking God’s peace and comfort to surround you and your son during this difficult time. Hugs!

  14. Girl, I can so relate although we haven’t had running away for a couple of years now (he has run away twice previously though). Prayers and hugs. Remember the promises!

  15. Many prayers for your family as you weather this storm.

  16. Marty,
    Prayers of strength and peace for you and your entire family. It is so.hard. when this happens! I speak from experience of a runaway adoptive daughter that did not end well, and our life has never been the same. A “new normal” is what I call it. Hugs to you!

  17. Marty I am so sorry for this chapter in your life! It breaks my heart because I too have ben where you are – only my son left while we were moving because he had made a promise that he would not move. Thankfully he did get in touch with us after several days but did not come home. He was only 17 at the time and will be 32 this July and unfortunately we have not been close since – I truly miss him. I must remind myself that God does not allow us to be tested more than we can handle but there are times I have to admit that the pain can be overwhelming. He has all new friends now but I guess what he experienced he does not want to share. Please be strong and know that there are those who appreciate all you do!

  18. My heart is breaking for you and your family!!! I am hoping and praying that this all works out!

  19. Marty – I think a lot of parents go through a lot of things with teenagers, but hopefully nowhere near as painful as what you have been through. I am so sorry , my friend, Dealing with so much at once must feel like the weight of the world on your shoulders. But I also know your faith is a vital importance to you and your family. TRY to grasp and hold onto anything positive, no matter how small. But most of all, know that there a lot of people out here praying for your son, praying for you and your family, and praying for the situation. xxoo

  20. Peggy Thal says:

    So very sad for you. My God bless you and keep you strong. I hope your husband will get well real soon. Hopefully your son will see the light and come home for good. Prayers for you and your family.

  21. Marty,
    My heart aches for you. Though our story is different, we, too, know the grief over a son. I am so glad you wrote, “This is not the end of the story.” Yes! My pastor’s wive and dear friend said the same to me shortly after our 20 year old son renounced his faith. May the Lord grant you strength and faith each day as you require it.

  22. You are so incredibly brave to share this story. Your journey may help others who are going through or will go through a similar experience. I’m praying for strength and comfort for you and your family as you walk this road. Please know that you are NEVER alone. xx

  23. Shelley Davis says:

    My heart goes out to you and your husband. We went through our adopted son moving out in the middle of the night because I was “too tough with the discipline”. He was two months from graduation. What a hard time I know you are going through. Our son stayed gone for 4 months. He struggled and began to see that home was not the worst place on earth after all. He returned home and he decided that he wanted to join the Navy. I pray that your story will end so well.
    I pray that your heart will calm and that you will begin to see and believe that this has little to do with you and your parenting and more to do with things that happened to your son prior to him coming home to you. GOD bless you and your family as you navigate this hard season.

  24. Pat Rodowsky says:

    Many prayers being said for you and your family. You are very brave to share both your good times and your struggles with others. Wishing you many blessings as you work through this difficult situation.

  25. I know this is such a heartbreaking chapter in your journey. But it IS a journey, and it’s not over. This could still be an encouraging story of a redemptive Jesus. The love and pursuit that Christ has given him through you guys is timeless and is still in play.

  26. Marty, this is heart-breaking! I pray he turns his life around for all of those involved.

  27. Karen J says:

    Sweet Marty, I have walked in those kinds of shoes with both a child and grandchild. Praying the love of God’s grace and His blessing upon you all. In time, what you have taught him will surface. While you don’t/can’t agree with is choices, just make sure he knows he is loved. This is a hard road we walk these days but I so hope you get some good blessings coming your way quickly.

  28. Oh, Marty. My heart aches for you. I am praying!

  29. Oh Marty…..my heart was in my throat reading this post. I feel your anguish and heartbreak. Being a mommy to kids with trauma histories these fears always reside in the back of my brain. What if…what if…what if…. My prayers are with you and for you and I am thankful God is bigger than our anguish. Trusting Him to write the most beautiful story possible with your son’s life!

  30. I’m so sorry. This is so painful. I know it must feel like your heart is a million pounds. Hugs and many prayers warrior mama!

  31. Denise says:

    My heart breaks for your family! I will lift your family up in prayer for the days & weeks ahead!

  32. Praying for you my sweet (and brave) friend. This is not the end of the story. God has a master plan and it is so hard to trust that some days, I know. Praying for you and your family! xoxo

  33. Lori Loewer says:

    I’m sorry for the pain you’re going through. I’m there now too. My adopted daughter ran away on 4/30/15 and is still missing. We adopted her from Russia when she was 10 months old, and a son at the same time who was 11 months old. These teenage years have been very difficult. People say that it gets better and I’m taking that on faith. She will probably want to leave the family also, when it’s legal to. A friend sent me your web site, so I look forward to seeing what you post.

  34. Virginia says:

    Marty. I am walking in those shoes now and have been for 14 years….our adopted son left us because he had chosen a different life style…..he stole money from a trust fund for his education….he told his Dad he did not want to see me when he came back to pack his clothes…….he was 7 months when we got him from the state…….he loved the Lord and sang with a gifted voice in church from the time he was 2 yrs old……received a voice scholarship for collage…….he left collage the day he was to come home for Christmas 1999…..he came back once but left again after he took the money…..these years have been very hard …..his Dad has dementia from a cardiac arrest…. I have several health problems from the stress….I know how heavy your chest feels ….how every things reminds you of him ….how your chest hurts when you think of him ….I have not spent a Mother’s Day in my town since he left….I can’t bare to hear the words Happy Mother’s Day……he is our only child……my husband will not talk about him and says he does not have a son because of the pain this brought to me……I could not pray for him but my loving friends have …..I can pray for you and your family and pray for your peace and trust in our Lord……I still do not understand why!!!! I know God has a plan and my hope is to understand one day when I stand before Him. Blessings. Virginia

  35. Khadija says:

    I hope things have calmed down for you these days and that your husband is better. Sometimes kids just have to make mistakes.

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