DEAR ABBY: While cleaning out my attic yesterday, I found a letter that my daughter wrote to you a few years ago when she was 13. She was responding to a poem that had appeared in your column, "Legacy of an Adopted Child."
She was going through a very trying time and was being bullied because she was adopted and looked very different from her parents.
My daughter is grown now and is a delightful, successful young woman. That poem helped her greatly. Can you reprint it for others? -- PROUD MOM IN GREENVILLE, S.C.
DEAR PROUD MOM: With pleasure. The poem is part of my "Keepers" booklet.
LEGACY OF AN ADOPTED CHILD
Once there were two women
Who never knew each other.
One you do not remember,
The other you call mother.
Two different lives
Shaped to make yours one.
One became your guiding star,
The other became your sun.
The first gave you life
And the second taught you to live it.
The first gave you a need for love
And the second was there to give it.
One gave you a nationality,
The other gave you a name.
One gave you a seed of talent,
The other gave you an aim.
One gave you emotions,
The other calmed your fears.
One saw your first sweet smile,
The other dried your tears.
One gave you up --
It was all that she could do.
The other prayed for a child
And God led her straight to you.
And now you ask me
Through your tears,
The age-old question
Through the years:
Heredity or environment
Which are you the product of?
Neither, my darling -- neither,
Just two different kinds of love.
This poem is part of a collection of poems and essays that readers have repeatedly asked to be re-run because they hold special meaning for them. Some of the items had been saved and re-read so many times that they had fallen apart. Many readers suggested that the special column items be compiled into a booklet, and what resulted is "Keepers." It can be ordered by sending your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price. It's a quick and easy read for anyone who needs a lift, and is filled with down-to-earth nuggets of wisdom, both witty and philosophical. The "Keepers" touch on a variety of subjects and are a welcome gift for newlyweds, new parents, pet lovers or anyone recovering from an illness.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.