Woonsocket Call

Opening door in closed adoption invites hard decisions

- Jeanne Phillips


We have a child who was adopted through a closed adoption. We met the birth parents briefly at the hospital, but they wanted no further contact. Both birth parents had issues with drug abuse, and our daughter was born with drug issues, too.

A few years later we were contacted via the adoption agency by the paternal birth grandparen­ts. They requested some photos because the birth father was getting out of jail and they thought the photos would help keep him out of trouble. We sent a nice collection of photos and an update on our child.

The next year, the birth grandparen­ts sent a letter saying they would like more contact, including visits. They provided us with their names and contact info. The birth father, who now is back in jail, never contacted us and, as far as we know, does not want any contact. The adoption agency says they will pass on informatio­n between us, but doesn’t have any advice on what we should do.

Our daughter is 6 and has expressed interest in her birth family. My husband wants no contact with the birth grandparen­ts since neither of the birth parents consented to contact and it was a closed adoption. He is also concerned that our other adopted children may be hurt and jealous since they can’t have contact with their birth parents for various reasons.

I am worried our daughter will be upset when she grows up that we never establishe­d a relationsh­ip with her birth family, but I really don’t want to be involved with a family with such complex drug and legal issues. We have a large extended family, and our daughter sees her grandparen­ts, aunts, uncles and cousins all the time. Should we start a relationsh­ip with her birth grandparen­ts? — UNCERTAIN DOWN SOUTH

DEAR UNCERTAIN: I agree with your husband, for all of the reasons you mentioned. Your daughter’s birth parents made their wishes clear from the outset. You wouldn’t be in this bind if you had respected them.

Because your daughter’s birth parents are addicts, it is very important for her to understand that she may have a genetic tendency toward addiction herself. If she would like to locate her birth family when she is an adult, tell her you will help her then. But prepare her in advance so she will know what she’s in for.


I’ve never seen this question in your column. A female co-worker of mine wears a wig, and it’s getting pretty scruffy. No one acknowledg­es her hairpiece, yet we all know she wears one.

If it were me, I would want someone to tell me it’s time for a shampoo (or replacemen­t?). When it was new, it was lovely. She’s a wonderful person, and we don’t want to embarrass her. Should we say something, or is it none of our business? Your thoughts? — WORKING WOMAN

DEAR WORKING WOMAN: There is no way to diplomatic­ally tell a person wearing a hairpiece that she (or he) is fooling no one or that it’s looking ratty. If you do, it will cause embarrassm­ent, or worse, hurt feelings. So resist the urge unless the woman asks for your opinion.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Good advice for everyone — teens to seniors — is in “The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It.” To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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