Adop­tive mom writes rules for strangers with ques­tions

The Kansas City Star - - Sports - JEANNE PHILLIPS Con­tact Dear Abby at www. or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069.

Dear Abby:

I’m an adop­tive mother who has had more than my fair share of in­ap­pro­pri­ate com­ments di­rected at me and my chil­dren. I’m about up to here with them, so I thought I would write you about eti­quette for in­ter­act­ing with adop­tive fam­i­lies:

Though we may stand out to you, we think of our­selves as a fam­ily like any other. Please do NOT start a con­ver­sa­tion with us that has the sole pur­pose of point­ing out the ob­vi­ous.

Please do not ask ques­tions in front of them about them or their adop­tion. Don’t ask in pri­vate un­less you are a close friend. Bet­ter yet, let me broach the sub­ject.

Please do not AL­WAYS com­ment on my daugh­ters’ hair. Yes, it is nicely braided and dec­o­rated with beau­ti­ful beads. But isn’t there some­thing else you can say about them? And please don’t talk in front of them about how hard it must be for me to do their hair. I LOVE braid­ing it.

Please don’t say I am a saint for adopt­ing them. I chose to adopt be­cause I never wanted to have bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren. And please don’t say how nice it is for me to love them so much. Why would you ex­pect that I wouldn’t love my chil­dren?

Please do not pity my chil­dren. They have amaz­ing lives, are iercely loved and have bright fu­tures ahead. And please do not in­tro­duce me to oth­ers as some­one “who has adopted two girls from Africa.” Be­cause my daugh­ters are black does NOT mean they are from Africa!

And last, please re­mem­ber that you and I are both peo­ple who love our fam­i­lies, and we have more in com­mon than you might think. — Anne From Cal­i­for­nia

Dear Anne: Thank you for a great let­ter. Some­times well-mean­ing peo­ple sim­ply don’t think about the im­pact their words can have. I hope my read­ers will take your words to heart.

Dear Abby:

While sep­a­rat­ing pho­to­graphs af­ter my di­vorce from my wife, I found some pho­to­graphs of rel­a­tives’ and friends’ wed­dings. Is there any pro­to­col on what to do with them? I will send my ex-wife any pho­tos of her and her fam­ily, but none that in­clude my fam­ily. Is this the right way to go?

We don’t live in the same area any­more, and our fam­i­lies were never close. I would be in­ter­ested to hear what you think should be done with fam­ily pho­tos that in­clude me, my ex-wife and our chil­dren. Should they go just to the chil­dren? I am in a new com­mit­ted re­la­tion­ship, and I do not wish to keep any pho­tos of my ex. Can you please help? — Needs to Know in New York

Dear Needs to Know:

Send the fam­ily pic­tures to your chil­dren and in­struct them to share them with your ex IF she would like to have them. If you still have a re­la­tion­ship with the friends and rel­a­tives, in­form them that you found the pho­tos and ask if they would like to have them.

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