DEAR AMY: I was adopted at 5 months old, in 1947. I am very happy with my adopted parents and never knew my birth parents. I was completely loved by my adoptive family and always felt like a “real” family member. When my children were small, I tried to find out about my birth parents, only to be told the files were sealed. My problem is that occasionally someone who knows that I’m adopted will say I’m not really part of my adoptive family and can’t claim the family’s history as my own. I’m really confused and hurt. My father and grandparents always taught me about our family history in our state, so I could tell my children for them to carry on the family history. A lot of people I know don’t understand why I didn’t/don’t want to find my birth parents. I had wonderful parents; they are the only parents I have ever known and, according to them, I picked them, so to me that means we were meant to be a family! And they loved me from the beginning. So to me, they are my parents, not my “adoptive parents.” Why are people so picky about who my “real” parents are? Do I need to think about this differently?
Adopted in CO
DEAR ADOPTED: My own experience in helping to raise adopted children — and as part of a large family with many adopted family members — has taught me that there is no “wrong” way to view your own adoption story. I further know this: no one can tell you who your “real” family is.
Your own reaction to your family is completely appropriate. Their history is your history. The only thing your very loving family did not contribute to you is a matter of DNA, which, given your very long history with them is of no consequence, if you don’t want it to be.
I will never fully understand the impulse to question or challenge someone’s parentage. It is simply unkind to do so. I think you should respond, proudly, “Well, you don’t really have the right to question my relationship to my family, so I would appreciate it if you kept your views to yourself.”
DEAR AMY: I had a hard breakup in December. The relationship lasted almost a year and a half. It was excruciating getting over this person, even though I knew she was not the right person for me. We bonded after she moved almost a hundred miles away for a new job. We spent every weekend together. I walked away from the relationship after a big blow-up where she corrected me about dancing in public. She also said some other things to me on the phone that were basically put-downs. After the breakup, I tried to date, but was having trouble getting over her. She apparently found the right person immediately after we broke up, and this really hurt me. I recently met a wonderful girl who is the total opposite of her and she is so good to me, but I am still having trouble forgetting about the old relationship. It has almost been five months now, and I’m still in a lot of pain. I’ve been through breakups before but for some reason this has been super hard for me to let go and to move on completely with my life. Help!
DEAR JC: There is no timetable for getting over a heartbreak, and even when you know the breakup was the right thing for you, it is still a huge loss. Mainly, it is the loss of possibility.
Please don’t compare your recovery to your ex’s, because part of what you are recovering from is the way she treated you.
Try your hardest not to let your previous relationship bleed over into your current relationship. You and your new girlfriend will build up shared experiences and memories. Take things slowly, and let these positive experiences push out your unresolved feelings about your ex.
DEAR AMY: I think you dropped the ball on “No-win,” the couple in their 80s where the wife wanted to move to live near her son. It’s obvious they can afford two homes so why couldn’t they split the year and live together at both places? Seems like a much better idea to me, and everyone wins.
DEAR WIN-WIN: I got the sense that the husband didn’t want to relocate to that extent, but yes, this is a great solution.