Dear Annie: I have a daughter whose lifestyle includes drugs. She has two children and refuses to let me be a part of their lives. The boy is only 3 years old, and no one has seen him in two months.
I have contacted the police, child protective services and the child welfare department. They all tell me that unless I can prove my grandson’s life is in danger, there is nothing they can do. My daughter claims the boy is in Sacramento, Calif., living in a home with multiple families.
She will not answer her door, and the police can’t force her. Even though they have talked to her on the phone, the fact is, we still have not seen my grandson. Is anyone able to help me?
— Worried Grandma
Dear Grandma: Your situation sounds strange. If a child hasn’t been seen in months and the mother refuses to open her door, the police ought to investigate more thoroughly and child protective services should be deeply involved. Keep insisting.
However, if the police have determined that the boy is actually safe and sound, but you are being shut out, there is nothing they can do. Call your daughter. See how she’s doing. Ask whether there is anything she needs, and let her know you want to help her. It may be the only way to see your grandson again.
Dear Annie: I am getting married to a wonderful man. We both lived independently long enough to accumulate two of everything. I have requested that, instead of gifts, guests make a donation in our name to a charity of their choice.
Here’s the problem: No one is complying. They keep insisting there must be something I need. I hate the whole concept of registries or the thought of useless stemware being given when donations to local charities would go much further and make me happier.
My future mother-in-law isn’t supportive of the idea, so she won’t help spread the word. How do I respond when people keep asking, “No, really, what do you need?”
— Frustrated Bride-to-Be
Dear Frustrated: Brides can make suggestions about gifts (through registries and informing friends), but they don’t make the final decision.
Guests can give whatever they choose, like it or not. Tell your friends to help pass the word. Consider registering at a store where the return policy allows you to receive cash back. When people ask what you really want, say calmly, “I really want donations made to charity. Those would be the most thoughtful gifts we could imagine.” But whatever they give, please be gracious enough to send an appreciative thank-you note.
Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Not Always Greener,” who found her birth mother but the relationship did not turn out well.
When I was young, I became pregnant by my then-boyfriend. He was not interested in marriage. I was wildly irresponsible, but smart enough to realize I could not provide a decent home for a child.
Giving her up for adoption was the most difficult thing I have ever done. For years after, I would regularly cry myself to sleep. Almost 25 years later, I still get sad as her birthday approaches.
I have since built a life that includes a loving husband and two children.
If that “baby” showed up at my door, I don’t know how welcoming I’d be. I worked hard to accept the fact that she is no longer mine. I hope she is healthy and happy. I would love to sit down, just the two of us, and talk about why I put her up for adoption and go over her family medical history.
But we don’t need a relationship.
It may sound cruel and uncaring, but I have a life I want to protect, and that is my choice. Please don’t judge those mothers who gave away their children. Most of us did so believing it was the best thing for the baby.
—Still Cry About It
Dear Still: We appreciate your candor. Thank you for offering the other side.
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, c/o Creators Syndicate, 5777 W. Century Blvd., Ste. 700, Los Angeles, CA 90045.