My step kid’s mom died of cancer a few month’s after I married their dad. In retrospect, I desperately wish that we had waited to get married so that the there would be separation between our marriage and this enormous loss. As it is though, the events have been so tied that I am the woman who arrived just as their mom left…and that hasn’t really lent itself to a solid relationship.

I adopted my step kids about a year and a half after their mom died. They asked me to, but in retrospect (again) I so wish that we had waited on that too. I feel like I have been a constant disappointment – always the “wrong” mom.

So when Homeward Bound came in to our lives, I had such great hopes of finally addressing the issues in our family dynamics that so often left my adopted kids feeling left out and me feeling blamed. It didn’t. The patterns that our coach helped us to identify are so ingrained that even though we could finally “see” our own destructive ways, we don’t have the strength…or maybe it’s will… to break free and begin anew.

My hopes for Homeward Bound was that they could “fix” my son so that he stopped despising me, stopped using, stopped lying – started participating in a family dynamic, start being accountable to his relationships. It didn’t happen. But something else did, and for that I am extremely grateful.

Homeward Bound has saved our marriage. My husband and I can no longer escape and blame others for what is ultimately our own responsibility for ourselves. Our coach forced us to identify our values and behaviors. Before he came into our home, it was very easy to blame circumstances or others for our situation, but with knowledge, we can not longer do that. I can’t blame my husband or my son without also looking at myself. And it is amazing how that changes where the fingers are pointed. With knowledge, too, my husband and I discovered a commitment to each other that had always felt quite shaky and often dependent upon how things were going with our son.

I had unreasonable and unfair expectations about how Homeward Bound would change our family. Our coach put a mirror to my face and opened the door for me to change myself. In the process, I didn’t get what I wanted with my son. He is still far away. He is still angry. I am still the “wrong” mom (although, likely he wouldn’t even use the word ‘mom’ to describe me.) I did, however, begin down a road personally that has brought me to a much better point as a woman and a wife. Hopefully some day, this growth will help open the doors to a relationship with my son. Without our coach and Homeward Bound I am quite certain I would have never even entertained this possibility. I am very grateful.

Heidi Matthews

Park City, Utah