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Teen pregnancy divides family

DEAR AMY: My son and his wife have been married for 10 years, and they have two children. The older child, "Emma," is my son's stepdaughter. Emma is 17 and pregnant. She wants to raise the baby at home while still attending school, etc. The father of the unborn child is also still in school and is very supportive of the idea. My son, on the other hand, feels that adoption is the perfect solution. His wife is a wonderful person who tends to be a "softy" and gives in quite easily (we adore her). She feels that he will get used to the idea of having a baby around the house. They both have very demanding careers. After having several conversations with our son, we know that he is extraordinarily unhappy and is considering leaving his wife. They both ask for our advice. We, too, are in favor of adoption, but Emma is not having any part of it. Should we mind our own business? I truly feel that if something isn't done, they are going to allow a 17-year-old to decide the fate of their marriage.

-- Nervous Gran

DEAR NERVOUS: Adoption is "the perfect solution" for two parties in this family drama (you and your son), neither of whom is the parent of the unborn child. So move on.

There is no denying that this is one of the biggest challenges a family can face. But unlike other challenges -- such as illness or addiction, for instance -- this unplanned pregnancy holds the potential for joy for this family, if they can get through these next few months intact.

Is your son bighearted and brave enough to conquer his own assumptions -- about how his family life was going to be when he got married -- to build something new? Or is he going to walk away, thus demonstrating to all that when the going gets tough, Dad takes a hike? His hurt and anger may be justified. But he and his wife's (and your) job will be to assist and mentor -- not be the primary parents and caregivers to this baby. You should urge them all to be patient.

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