Ask Amy: Readers Respond to Letters That Resonated

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Dear readers: Often, readers respond to the dilemmas posed in my column in helpful, useful and inspiring ways. Today’s column is devoted to some of these responses. As always, I am grateful to readers who share their own stories.

dear Amy: “To say or not to sayquestioned disclosing the sexual abuse she survived as a child to the man she was dating.

I had been divorced for five years when I went on a first date with a man I had just met. On the way to the restaurant, we were stuck in traffic behind a car with a sticker on the bumper that read “Help End Child Abuse”.

“Why would someone put a sticker like that on their car? ” He asked.

I thought for a moment before answering and said, “I guess the car belongs to someone like me who was molested as a child.”

My date didn’t ask for more details at the time because he was trying not to wreck the car. I knew from his instantly shocked reaction that he was a man my children would be safe with, and he has been — for 37 years now.

So I’m voting that this woman should tell him and see what happens. What he says and does next will tell her exactly what she needs to know.

Found: This brings tears to my eyes. Thanks.

dear Amy: Responding to questions about DNA disclosures, my wife discovered that her father was not her biological parent when she had his DNA analyzed by a family historical research company.

It was a shock. His mother and father have been dead for some time. My wife was more hurt finding out about it this way, rather than being told by her mother.

His two brothers also took DNA tests and they all discovered that his older brother was also fathered by another man. I told my wife that it’s possible her mother doesn’t know exactly who fathered her children, so it’s best not to judge this too much.

To me, that sounds like a very unhappy woman, and she may have been looking for love in the wrong places. Your advice to let people know about DNA findings is sound, and my wife agrees wholeheartedly.

Embrace: DNA discoveries force many families to reinvent their history.

dear Amy: A drive named “Self-centeredwondered when it might be too late to send or receive a condolence letter after a death in the family.

When our youngest son was killed five weeks before his 19th birthday, we received hundreds of condolence notes and cards. While we greatly appreciated all of the condolences we received at the time of our son’s passing, the note we received six months later is the one that stood out to us the most.

We felt more supported knowing that someone else remembered that as the world moved on, our lives were turned upside down and we continued to be devastated and mourn the loss of our child.

For those who are grieving, any time would be considered “opportune” to know that others remember them in their loss.

Supported: I hope your story inspires people to reach out to those who are grieving, no matter how much time has passed.

dear Amy: Your column frequently reflects on the many ways families are made and how to discuss DNA disclosures, sperm and egg donation and adoption within the family.

We adopted a child 26 years ago. Ours was open adoption and our infallible motto was that no child can have too much love.

From the beginning of our time together, when our daughter was a baby, we used pictures to tell our beautiful daughter her origin story. As it matured, the story matured.

I hope this idea will be useful to some of your readers who don’t feel able to tell their child that they were not biologically conceived.

Our daughter was recently married and as she exchanged her vows with her husband, her father and I, her brothers, her biological grandparents, her biological mother, her biological mother’s siblings and her children formed the circle of love that surrounded him.

The bride was radiant. She knows who she is.

Proud: “She knows who she is.” Beautiful. Tackling ever-evolving questions about identity is one of the burdens of being human. Your loving, open and honest attitude has made this much easier for everyone in your large family circle.

©2022 by Amy Dickinson distributed by Tribune Content Agency

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