Dear Abby: My husband and I have two wonderful sons who joined our family through adoption. While we don't broadcast that they are adopted, it sometimes comes up in conversation. When it does, people inevitably ask, "What happened to their 'real' parents?" or, "Why were they given up?"
I know folks are curious, but these comments are hurtful. The details of my sons' lives are private, to be shared as they grow in age-appropriate ways. They know they are adopted, but are too young to know the details surrounding their lives prior to joining our family. I do not want to have an in-depth conversation with every person who asks a nosy question. These questions always seem to come up when the kids are around and I feel unprepared to answer them.
Do you have any suggestions for a witty and confident response that can shut down these questions? I don't want my boys to be ashamed that they were adopted, but I also don't want the details out there for public consumption. – Adopted Mom in Indy
Dear Adopted Mom: That someone would be so insensitive as to pose those questions in front of the children is disconcerting. While I can't think of a "witty" response that would deter the questioner, I can think of one that would be effective. Look the person in the eye, smile and say, "Oh, that's a long story, but look at what beautiful sons I have. I feel truly blessed."
Dear Abby: My parents died when I was a teenager. In the years since I have noticed strange things. While I don't find pennies, I do often see streetlights turn off right before I drive under them. I drive a lot at night and in the early morning because I work graveyard shifts, and it seems to happen almost every day when I go to work or come home.
I guess it could be coincidental. But a friend suggested years ago that it's my parents letting me know they're watching over me. I want to believe, yet I feel skeptical at the same time. Have you ever heard of anything like it? – Lights Out in Federal Way, Wash.
Dear Lights Out: The only time I have heard of anything like what you're experiencing has been when I happened to change channels and come upon a television show about the paranormal. More important than what I believe is what you choose to believe. If the reassurance that your parents are watching over you brings you comfort, then I am all for it.
Dear Abby: This idea may appeal to the parents of young children: Celebrate "half-birthdays." (The concept is derived from the "Half-Birthday Song" in "Alice in Wonderland.")
A year to a young child is a long time. In addition to recognizing the joy that he/she was born, it's a start to learning the structure of our calendar. It doesn't have to involve a big party or gifts, just a special activity day with a parent. Our family has observed half-birthdays for 45 years and have found it to be a worthwhile tradition. – Fun Mom
Dear Fun Mom: The title of the song you mentioned is actually "The UNbirthday Song," but I'm in favor of anything that will bring parents and children closer. If the household is headed by a single working parent, then I'll bet a grandparent would be delighted for the chance to celebrate that special occasion.
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.