Dear Annie: We adopted our daughter when she was just a few weeks old. She is an adult now with children of her own. She recently found her birth family. I have so many conflicted feelings about this.
I never thought we would know the names of the birth parents, but we’ve actually met them. They’re very nice people, but I feel so shut out — like I’m no longer the mom — and it rips up my heart.
The birth mom has a Facebook account and lists my daughter along with her other children. She’s MY daughter, and yet I have to share her with these strangers. Is there a support group for those of us who have adopted children who now have frequent contact with their birth families? I could really use someone to talk to who has shared the same experience.
— Still the Mom
Dear Mom: Your feelings are natural, but you must put aside your jealousies for the sake of your daughter. She is not trying to replace you. She is trying to find a connection to her biological identity and information about her background. You still are her mother. It takes away nothing from your relationship to share her with the woman who made it possible for you to adopt her. While we could find no specific support group that deals solely with your problem, most adoption agencies and organizations have support groups for adoptive parents, and we’re sure this subject has come up. We suggest contacting your state adoption agency or RESOLVE (resolve.org) at 1760 Old Meadow Road, Suite 500, McLean, VA 22102.
Dear Annie: Two months ago, I had an argument with a friend. She said some very hurtful things, and we haven’t spoken since.
This friend has a tendency to blow things way out of proportion when they don’t go her way. Her parents have even called the police on more than one occasion because of her exaggerated reactions to simple situations.
In the past, I’ve always been the one to apologize and make things right, but I’m tired of it. The problem is, I feel I’m missing out because we’re not speaking to each other. To make matters worse, I am good friends with her older sister, and needless to say, when I go to their house, things are very awkward.
If I don’t apologize, am I losing more than I’m gaining?
Dear Confused: We can’t answer that question. Do you value her friendship enough to put up with these periodic temper tantrums? If so, apologize, knowing you will be doing this for the duration of your friendship. Might she be receptive to a gentle discussion about her behavior, pointing out that it upsets you when she reacts so strongly to what you consider minor disagreements, and that you want to strengthen your friendship by working on that? You have nothing to lose by trying.
Dear Annie: I would love to respond to the letter from “Indiana” about why people don’t attend her gatherings.
For more than 30 years, we have attended events at the home of a friend of my husband’s. Here’s what happens: The host and hostess visit with maybe two people the entire night. They do not ask anyone at any time if they would like anything to eat or drink. They expect their guests to clean up after. Most of the couples are extremely negative about any given topic, not to mention they say very nasty things about the other attendees. I often acted as hostess, making sure everyone had ample food and drink and that items were kept appropriately warm, cold and replenished. I tried to be a good guest by steering conversations to lighthearted topics.
These gatherings are neither fun nor relaxing. They make me tense, and I am no longer going to attend. I told my husband he’s more than welcome to go without me.
Dear Nebraska: Those gatherings seem to be a lot of work for a guest. We don’t blame you for bowing out.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web site at www.creators.com.