DEAR ABBY: In response to the Aug. 13 letter from the adoptive mom in Indianapolis, we, too, are sometimes questioned about our son. I don't find it at all offensive, and I encourage her to view it from a different perspective.
Just as mothers enjoy telling stories about their pregnancy and delivery, I relish talking about how our son came to be part of our family. I have talked openly about it to strangers in front of my son since he was a toddler. I tell them how amazing it is that a mother could love her child so much that she would be willing to give him to us so he could have a better life than she could offer.
By not shying away from the topic, my son has seen that his adoption doesn't make us uncomfortable, and as a result, it's something he is comfortable with. Our son is full of confidence because he knows how much joy he has brought to our lives. -- REAL PARENT IN COLORADO
DEAR REAL PARENT: Thank you for writing. My office was flooded with comments from adoptive parents and adopted children, but not all of them were as positive as yours. "Why do you need to know?" was frequently cited as a way to deflect unwelcome questions about why the biological parents placed the child for adoption, as was, "I'll forgive you for asking that question if you forgive me for not answering."
Many also prefer to say, "That is my child's story and he'll know it and share it when and if he thinks it is appropriate." My favorite was, "We don't discuss such intimacies. Have you told your children the details of their conception?"
Readers, thank you all for sharing.
DEAR ABBY: I have been in an on-again-off-again, long-distance relationship with a guy for a year and a half. I have broken up with him and taken him back six times. It is always for the same reason: We are not compatible as a romantic couple.
I have explained that we would be better as friends, but when I try to leave, he cries and begs me not to go. I'm afraid he could be suicidal, based on past reactions.
I love him as a friend and I want him to be with someone who can love him the way he wants to be loved. How do I let him down easy, if there is even such a thing? I'm afraid I might ruin his life.
I guess my question is, when you know in your gut that things won't work out, when is it OK to throw in the towel? -- PERPLEXED IN PENSACOLA
DEAR PERPLEXED: After six breakups, your long-distance romance is well past its expiration date. When there is a lack of chemistry between a couple, it's no one's fault and it's usually a deal-breaker. The problem with letting someone down the way you're trying to is that it prolongs the pain, like removing a sliver halfway, then jamming it back in because the person is wincing.
Threats of suicide if a romance is unsuccessful are attempts to control the partner who wants to leave through guilt. The time to throw in that towel is now.
DEAR ABBY: When did it become acceptable to ask for a doggie bag after an elegant dinner in a friend's home? I'm known as an excellent cook. I entertained eight guests in my home last night and served expensive meat, an accompanying salad, vegetables and a great dessert. They wanted the leftovers! I thought if they had the nerve to ask, they were welcome to the goodies. Would you? -- HOSTESS WITH THE MOSTEST
DEAR HOSTESS: Would I what? Ask for the leftovers or give them? To ask for leftovers in someone's home is rude, and I wouldn't do it -- although some hosts do offer them to their guests. If you preferred to keep the leftovers for yourself, you should have said no -- with a smile, of course.
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.
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