Jan
29
2007

What’s the End to the Alicia Story?

Alicia and her parents have come along a great journey of love and reconciliation. You can read about some of it at our January 28, 2007 post, the day we “killed the fatted calf” and had Alicia home.

Our conflict with Alicia was a complex one that lasted nearly three years. She went through a troubling state of rebellion that included a rebellious attitude that was rubbing off on the younger children. As her parents, we decided the best thing for the entire family was to remove her from the family. Her behavior, in our opinion, was destructive not only to herself, but to the entire family.

Since that time, Alicia showed signs of maturing and turning her heart back toward her family. We, however, were less enthusiastic about these signs. Her rebellion of the past included manipulation and pulling at the heartstrings of her siblings, so we were apprehensive about her sincerity. After three years, we simply did not trust her. We tried to set up counseling appointments, but they never seemed to work with our schedules. Alicia became a single mom in these three years so, naturally, time was tight.

When the TLC cameras came, we had intentions to keep this estranged relationship from the viewing. The crew was respectful of that. As the eight days progressed, we opened up to the cameras about Alicia. We felt God nudging us to share this imperfection to TLC and, ultimately, the world. The producer flew back to New York and pitched the story. The studio liked the idea and flew another crew out to film both Alicia and us.

What was displayed on TLC was close to accurate. Hats off to Powderhouse Productions for getting the story so close to the truth. They struggled at times to understand the universality of the Prodigal Son story. The producers were tempted to make this a battle of opinions, who was right and who was wrong, similar to a typical reality television show.

I (Chris) spent over an hour explaining to one of the editors the complexity of the story. He wanted more detail as to what Alicia actually “did” in the past so, in his mind, he could build two cases and let the viewer decide if we were being good parents (or Alicia a good daughter). Through our conversation, I helped him realize that separation is incredibly common and our story could be used to heal relationships. “Don’t you have separation in your life?” I asked him. He admitted yes, and I used his story to show that reconciliation will take much more than convincing anyone of who was right and who was wrong.

In the process of trying to explain our relationship with Alicia, God moved on our hearts to forgive her. It was the most difficult relational journey in our lives. We walked through a lesson on judgment that forced us to realize that we, as Alicia’s parents, were not displaying the love of the father in the story of the Prodigal. We believe we made the right choices in the initial separation between the family and Alicia’s rebellion, but when she started to return to the family, we closed up and put up defenses. I suppose some resistance was reasonable, but we certainly did not swing our arms open and have a party for Alicia’s return.

The crecendo of our book, Love in the House, explains much of the story.

The crecendo of our book, Love in the House, explains much of the story.

The TLC producers and editors pressed us on this. “You speak so much of love, but you won’t welcome your oldest daughter back?” Those questions burned in our heart. God showed us, in more situations than with the Alicia situation, that our hearts were hardened and bent toward judgment. We couldn’t help but judge Alicia for her sin. God led us into a deep study of love and relationship, the Greatest Commandment principle, and ultimately leaving judgment to God.

We confessed our shortcoming to Alicia in a couple of meetings. We can’t tell you how incredibly forgiving Alicia was, as well as sorry for her past failings in the conflict. God showed us how He can heal relationships once we surrendered judgment to Him. God will judge Alicia–just as He will judge her parents–not on how accurate our assessments of our actions are, but on how we love one another.

Does this story resonate with you? Separation is in all our lives in one way or another. We go into much more detail in our book, Love in the House, due out in May (more information to be posted soon). The last few chapters go into more detail than the TLC episode and this FAQ post. God worked through all of this to, hopefully, point viewers in the direction of love and reconciliation.

About Chris & Wendy Jeub

The Jeub Family live in Monument, Colorado, with 14 of their 16 children. They encourage couples to love God and love one another, building an atmosphere of love in their homes.

  • Lisa

    As a veteran homeschooler of almost 20 years, to find a very large family and its funcionality with varying degrees of successes is somewhat commonplace. I was encouraged by the time the producers took to allow us to witness the attention that was paid to each and every child when snapping pictures and offering a brief description. However, I was a bit taken aback and heartbroken as I watched the Birthday Bash take place and knowing it was without the presence of your grandson…I kept thinking, “but wait, all these people there, but where is that precious grandchild!” And things like, “well we all have our inconsistancies, don’t we. Are ALL children blessings, or just some of them?” I was shocked and dismayed that he was TWO years old living 20 miles away at your first encounter. What counsel were you listening to that made that ok?? I am so glad that I dug deep enough into your website to see the ‘end of the story’ and discovered your honesty. The honesty and vulnerability that seems to alude many, many Christians, particularly homeschooling Christians. I really wish that the producers would have emphasized your website so that the world could get a glimpse of the healing, restoration and reconciliation that is taking place between you and Alicia. PRAISE THE LORD! Your story goes WAY beyond recipes, budgets and spacesavers….your story is about forgivness, healing judgementalism and understanding. Thats the REAL story here…and the world needs to hear it all. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  • Rebecca Cook

    You know, I have commented on some of your other posts, but not on this particular subject.

    We too are dealing with an estrangement. It is with my oldest stepdaughter (that word makes me cringe, I still think of her as MY daughter, not STEP anything!!!), who lived with us until last June. She was behaving contrary to every lesson we ever taught her and when faced with some serious consequences including potentially being grounded all summer, she pulled the “I want to go live with my mom”. Since she was 15 at the time, there wasn’t anything we could do about it – any judge would permit her to, most states say the children can decide once they are 12.

    I guess anyone hearing that would probably think “what’s the big deal” – well the big deal is her mother walked out on my husband and three kids years ago, and wanted nothing to do with being a mother, in any way, for a very long time.

    Prior to our marriage, my husband struggled as a full time single dad of three kids for almost four years. When we married, I became “mom” to them. So for the oldest to suddenly want to live with her mother, it was only about what freedoms she would have there and she left in a very hurtful way, not only to my husband and I, but to the rest of our children. Indeed, she is free to do whatever she wants (and is pretty wild) My husband and her have not spoken in almost a year and she and I only recently began speaking, only because I more or less wouldn’t let up. I have learned ALOT about forgiveness and unconditional love from this hurtful situation.

    We still have a long way to go, but it was encouraging seeing ya’ll with your daughter. Thank you for the raw honesty.

  • Crystal

    Thankyou for your witness to the world on behalf of what God calls us to do as His children. Your story has touched me and made me reflect on how I’ve treated others around me. I’ve received Jesus Christ as my savior 26 years ago this May and a lot has changed in my family life, in the world, and how I’ve viewed the world. What it all comes down to IS what would God want me to do, how does God want me to respond and What have I done with the GIFT God gave me? I fall short by far in my own humaness and become selfish far too often. God bless you and your family and keep telling the truth. We need to encourage one another in the Truth. Thankyou. Crystal.

  • Judy

    When I first saw the interview and Chris talked about Alicia, I thought he was very harsh, controlling, and judgemental. I have seen “the end of the story” and cried all the way through it. So happy they are working it out with forgiveness and understanding. I was a daughter like Alicia and never received any affirmation and did not experience any forgiveness with my father. I am nearly 70, and a grandmother, and I love the Jeub family story.

  • Shaundra Holmes

    Chris and Wendy,
    Our family just watched your show last night for the first time. We were intrigued that a tv show would showcase your wonderful family and not put a negative spin on it somehow. When they talked about your story with Alicia, I too was wondering how the story ends. I am a re-born christian, brought up in a christian home, yet I too had a short period of rebellion as a young adult. I came back to the Lord and have been living my life for Him as well as raising my children to love and serve Him. I am going through the Bible Study Fellowship study on Romans and this year I have finally been able to understand who I am before God and what grace really is.
    We have a son that just finished his freshman year in college and we pray that he will continue to serve God. Yet a couple of months ago, he admitted to us that he had been doing something that is not pleasing to the Lord. He is repentant, yet we pray that Christ will get ahold of his heart totaly and that our son will make his faith trully his and not just what his parents believe.
    I’m not sure why I’m telling you all this except I just have felt moved to tell you I understand what you went through with Alicia and I appreciate your being candid about it. I am going to pray for Alicia that she will be able to give all her problems and hurts to Christ. Just lay them at the foot of the cross and ask Him to relieve her of them. I will also pray that she will give her life back to Christ.
    Would you consider praying for our son? He is 19 years old and has his life ahead of him. As a teenage he said he felt a strong calling to be a missionary and he seems to be turning his back on that. Would you pray for God’s will in his life? And for him to seek God’s will?
    We live in Englewood, CO. I just felt a kind of kindred bond with Wendy and I hope someday I can meet you.
    God Bless You and your beautiful family,
    Shaundra

  • http://www.homeschoolblogger.com/OreoSouza/ Shurleen

    Thank you very much for this post.

    I have been mothering for 27 years and homeschooling the last 10 years. One of the most distressing thing for me as a homeschooling mom was the harsh judgementalism of many of the homeschooling families we met. It seems to be a disease, and I was afraid of catching it. Or worse, my children catching it. And yet, I often felt judgemental as I tried to isolate my children and myself from such families.

    I was just thinking about this a couple days ago (again) and was feeling so sad, wondering what in the world the Father was going to do to bring down this prideful cancer that seems to be spreading in the large family/homeschooling community.

    And then I read this. I am going to get your book, and I hope that many many homeschooling families buy your book. I’m hoping this is the answer to my prayers. So many beautiful families have been marred by this pride, so many children and neighbors and friends hurt by this pride.

    I hope your book, your story, is the beginning of the end for the many families oppressed by Pharisee-ism.

    Thank you again,
    Shurleen Souza
    aka OreoSouza

  • Lesley Frank

    I saw your show on the birthday bash for the first time last night. At the very end I caught that your daughter was estranged from your family. I was encouraged reading this today. See our 19 yr old son left our home in June this year. What was hard for us was that up until he graduated from high school there were no signs of rebellion in his heart. He appeared to have a strong walk with the Lord. We were so proud of him. Now to put it honestly we are heart broken. Our son is running w/ people who don’t know the Lord, drink, do drugs and fight. I have read and re-read the prodigal son story in the bible over and over in this process. We love our son and we want him back with us. It has only been 2 months for us and it still seems so painful and hopeless, how do you survive this. How do you survive the harsh judgement of parents around you? I know we are good parents to all our childrens. We have taught them to love and serve the Lord with all their hearts. Someitmes we just cry and wonder why? Would you please pray for our son. We will be praying for your family too. I love the show and will be getting your book. I am a mother of 5 and was in awe of Wendy.
    Seeking HIM.
    Thanks
    Lesley F.

  • http://inhisgracephotography.com Laura Olson

    Ok, out family has just started to watch Kids by the dozen, when I saw the 1st episode ( waiting to see the second) we and our church were walking through what you have walked through with Alicia. Is’nt God amazing. We had a member in our church who was in rebellion. because of the hurt it was so easy to just close it off, but that is not what God did for us. (while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us)

    He started to seek out relationship again and God moved and the fatted calf was killed :) Love does cover a multitude of sins :)

    Laura

  • Linds

    It struck me when I watched your special that you said approximately, “It’s so nice to know that whatever we need, our friends are always there for us” I think that’s a very telling statement. I also think you owe your daughter much gratitude for her forgiveness. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you are truly able to move past this and move forward with a relationship with your daughter and grandchild.

  • Carolyn Syvers

    First of all, kudos to you for your positive, calm disposition and doing a great job raising a large family. I noticed that your family is MOSTLY blonde with blue eyes and that your grandson is biracial. My husband and I are white, but we have an adopted son age three who is bi-racial (Caucasian/African-American.) A lot of our family members had trouble totally accepting him. He is a child, and race does not matter to us….or him. Do you think that Alicia getting pregnant by a man outside of her race was a large part of the barrier that caused not seeing each other and your grandbaby for two years? The reason I ask this is it is referred to as “her sin” yet her mother got pregnant 2x as a teen and out of wedlock. I am not judging..I think your family is great and a lot can be learned from you two, but I was wondering if the child’s race is what kept you from seeing him until he was two. It made me sad to see him meeting his granny for the first time at a restaurant and really not knowing who she was. I am glad you are all back together! God bless you, and I look forward to your book. I had no idea about it until coming to this site.

  • Marie

    We were away camping at the beginning of the week so while I was gone your show was tivo’d I had seen it before but enjoyed watching it again. I grew up with a brother who also made choices that were not right. He was 5 yrs older than me and 12 yrs older than my youngest sister. My parents caught him sneaking out in the middle of the night, hanging with friends that pulled him down. Caught drinking and I am sure worse. My parents did what you did and told him to either make changes or he’d be leaving our home. He left…continued going down the wrong path…robbed a store ended up in jail. Never came around – You do what you have to do. It was hard on us kids we loved him and really didn’t understand what was going on and I remember being angry (12 yrs) with my parents for making him leave. Were your kids angry with you? Certainly if I knew then what I know now I’d understand but at 12 you just don’t get it. Anyway I know that was hard for you. I am glad the relationship was restored and you are not missing out on time with your grandchild.
    God is good All THE TIME!

  • Jill

    We are going thru the same thing with our oldest son. We adopted him thru foster care and his past abuse issues are still a major force in his life. We pray that the day will come when we can have a better relationship with him once again. Your family is such a blessing and we look forward to updated shows in the future.

  • Susan

    I just watched your show on TLC and I’m very glad to see that you have reconciled with your oldest daughter. I was surprised to see on the show that you seemed so unwilling to take her back into your family, especially when you Wendy, said that you did not come from a loving home. My father always taught us that no matter what we may do wrong, he will always be there for us and forgive us (hmmm, much like Jesus). We never did get in trouble and I think it was because we did not want to disappoint him and also because by being so forgiving, we felt how great his love was for us. I do realize that kids can be a handful and make wrong choices, but that’s when they really really need their parents there for support, not just discipline. Once again, I’m glad you’ve reconciled, and thank you for sharing your life with us.

  • Jessamy

    I just watch the show for the first time last night. I have never cried so hard while watching a TV show. My son has left my home because he feels as though we, his step-father and I, are abusive. We make him accountable for his action and then if he doesn’t do what needs to be done, there are consequences, such as grounding and taking items away. He is very strong-willed and thinks that he is old enough to make his own decisions. I have cried every day since he left; it has been several months now. Chris made a comment on the show that was very profound; “Wendy and I ….pour all of our energy into a child ….” I do not have Tivo so I can’t replay it. Does anyone remember what exactly he said? Because I feel like I am pouring all of my heart and soul into my oldest son and there is nothing left of me for my other children. I have felt so alone these last months thinking there was no one else out there that could be going through what I have been going through. But now I know that it is very common. Chris and Wendy thank you very much for sharing a very painful, personal issue with all of us. It was very unselfish of you to put your hearts out there for all to see. Please know that, in just one remark, you have helped at least one person out here with the same type of issue. Thank you.

  • http://none Hannah

    I’m glad to hear that the Jeubs and Alicia have made up, may god bless you and your family.

  • Mary Forestt-Simmons.

    You can’t control your children forever. Once they are grown, it’s time for them to make their own decisions. It’s a legal right.

    This religious “rule” about parents controlling a son or daughter all thier life is asking for trouble and extremely wrong.

    So she rebelled? Maybe your lifestyle is one that she doesn’t want to partake in. It’s her right to leave, she’s a grown woman.

  • Rose

    I am sorry but I do not believe there was anything right in your treatment of your daughter Alicia. I am a christian mother who is raising my children in a christian way, but as they get older I am relaxing somewhat and allowing them to discover right from wrong themselves. By stangling your children with your views of whats right you are setting them up to be taken advantage of or worse.

    Children need to experience things for themselves and learn from it. I don’t condone underage drinking, I definately don’t condone drugs but I am not going to tell my children “You CAN’T do that” by doing so would more likely make them want to.

    I think Alicia is a beautiful young woman, a great mother to her adorable little boy and is extremely generous in her forgiveness for the the way you treated her.

    God shall judge you on your ill treatment of your daughter, also the fact you have taught your other children that even if it’s a family member, if you don’t agree with the way they live their lives then banish them. I have not yet met a christian family who has believed or done this.

  • mothering

    “I definately don’t condone drugs but I am not going to tell my children “You CAN’T do that” by doing so would more likely make them want to.”
    Very telling of your parenting philosophy. You won’t tell your kids to not do something that will harm them???? If your child insists on running out into the street in front of a truck you’re okay with that? Seriously??? Also, a child that is MORE encouraged to do something undesirable because their parent told them not to demonstrates incredible immaturity and parents would do well to reflect on their own approach to parenting if that is the case. It isn’t unreasonable to raise children to make good decisions and respect their parents wishes.
    Rose, I am concerned that you claim to be a Christian mother raising your children in a Christian way, and yet by your own post expose that you apparently don’t raise your children to “honor thy mother and father” if you saying not to do something means they either want or do what you disapprove of. You either aren’t telling the truth about your identity (Christian mother raising children in a Christian way) or are seriously misguided in what it means to be a Christian.
    I also think it’s pretty astonishing that the Jeubs are getting judged by people saying judgement isn’t right (a little contradiction anyone?) – especially since it was obvious in both the television show and on this post that they entire story was not told. It is the Jeubs’ right to have some things be private – especially if telling the whole story would bring more embarrassment to a troubled child.
    The Jeub family (all of them!) is incredibly blessed to have been able to reconcile with each other – regardless of what the issues were in the first place.

  • Chris

    Just wanted to say two things–Thank you for being so humble in accepting that you had not done everything perfectly (who does?) wrt your dear child. I can certainly relate, as we have a prodigal, too.
    Secondly–thought you might want to be aware of the advertising on your site. I know you are Christian, but the Scientology advertisement keeps cropping up.

  • Motocros

    I’m sorry, but the way you treated her was terrible.  Would Jesus turn his back on you? He would never turn his back on you and yet that is what you did to her.  I wonder, was it because she wasn’t you bio. child.

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      You’re right, but did you read the post? Have you checked out our book? There is much more to the story than the 46 minute show.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002020074637 Sue Finstad

    It sounds like you prefer your little boys better. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002020074637 Sue Finstad

    And, besides, what did she do that was so bad? Listen to music that wasn’t Christian? Maybe if you stop having kids and stop playing favorites with your boys, she wouldn’t have “rebeled”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002020074637 Sue Finstad

    Did you get mad because she liked non Christian music and wanted out of taking care of her 13 younger brothers and sisters? Sad you treat your youngest sons better than your eldest. 

    • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

      Favoritism is a new take on our show. That was five years ago, such an old conflict. Love in the House explains it more if you’re interested.

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  • confused and angered

    You consistently compare your story to that of the prodigal son, but there is a key difference which you and all of the commenters seem to overlook: in the biblical story, the son left of his own will, not because his father forced him to do so.

    You claim to love your daughter, but if you truly love her, what could possibly have motivated you to exile her in the first place?

    Children, especially girls, who are kicked out of the house are at a very high risk of assault and death, whether by their own hands or another’s.

    I’m sorry, but there is no excuse for what you did. You deliberately put her in danger because she was being “rebellious.” Even if her behavior was poisonous to her younger siblings, there are more effective ways of dealing with that which do not include putting her in harm’s way.

    Nothing can convince me that turning your child out onto the streets is ever a permissible course of action.

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  • Why! Why! Why!

    Look, I seen this episode years ago. Just got around to reading up on it a little more. Honestly Chris, I think your daughter shouldn’t forgive you. You know why your daughter is a single mother? Because you guys fucked up her young adult life by disowning her. Don’t even try to turn this on her. Your fuck up not hers. Before I say this just to clarify I am a Christian so do not accuse me of being atheist. YOU ARE USING GOD AS AN EXCUSE!!!! I feel so sorry for your daughter, I have not remorse for you though. I pray for your daughter. @ Chris Jeub I know as well as you do the only reson you have this blog is to try to persuade people to buy your books ect. You wouldn’t even answer any of these curious people’s question you just tell them to read the book. Please do me the liberty of responding so maybe I can understand your horrible parental choice. BTW YOU DID DO LOVE WRONG AS A PARENT.