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DEAR ABBY

New mother feels guilty for canceling adoption

DEAR ABBY: I recently backed out of an adoption. I feel terrible about it. How can I mentally and emotionally get over this? My baby girl is 4 months old now, and my guilt is getting worse. I backed out three days before she was born.

The couple I had chosen turned out to be unprofessional and emotionally unstable. They not only caused me several problems but also my job, which I loved. During the four months I knew them, they treated me poorly, and I realized it was better for my little one not to go through with the adoption.

They are now trying to make me out to be a bad person who used them financially — something I really did not. I’m glad now that I kept my daughter. So why do I keep feeling so bad about my decision? — GUILT-RIDDEN IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR GUILT-RIDDEN: If I had to guess the reason, I would say it may be because you know your last-minute change of mind caused this couple pain. A way to assuage your guilt might be to work out a payment plan so they are not out the money they spent. (The lawyer or agency that arranged the adoption may be able to guide you.)

DEAR ABBY: I have two sisters. We were very close until our mother passed away two years ago. In her trust, the proceeds from the sale of her house were to be divided among the three of us. Only one sister has children. (They are grown.) My two sisters have decided we should split the proceeds from Mom’s house (about $800,000) five ways to include the adult children. Their mother has threatened to “disown me” if I don’t go along with the five-way split.

I have always done right by her “kids,” and neither sister bothered to ask for my reason for not wanting to include my nephew and niece in the inheritance. I love my sisters and do not want to lose them, but I also don’t want to be bullied into a decision I cannot support. — TO DIVIDE OR NOT TO DIVIDE

DEAR TO DIVIDE: Your MOTHER’S wishes were that the money be divided three ways. Your sisters should abide by the directions of the trust. I agree you shouldn’t be bullied or threatened into taking less than your mother wanted you to have. If your sisters want “the kids” to have a share of the inheritance, they should gift the amount from their portion rather than extort it from you. Their attitude has not only tarnished something that should have been a blessing, but also created a rift in the family, and that’s a shame.

DEAR ABBY: I could really use your help. I don’t know how to respond to people I hardly know who end conversations with “I love you.” I don’t feel comfortable saying that to someone and not meaning it. This isn’t like saying, “Have a nice day.” Is there a polite way of responding without saying something that to me is totally inappropriate to someone I only have a casual relationship with? — UNCOMFORTABLE IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: Respond this way: “What a sweet thing to say. Thank you!” Then smile and fade out.

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.

CELEBRITY BIRTHDAYS

Blues musician W.C. Clark is 82. Actress Joanna Pettet is 79. Actor David Leisure (“Empty Nest”) is 71. Actress Marg Helgenberger (“CSI”) is 63. Former MLB All-Star pitcher Dwight Gooden is 57. Jazz singer Diana Krall is 57. Actress Lisa Bonet is 54. R&B singer Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd) is 52. Actress Martha Plimpton is 51. Actor Michael Irby is 49. Actress Maggie Gyllenhaal is 44. Rock singer Siva Kaneswaran (The Wanted) is 33. Actor-comedian Pete Davidson (“SNL”) is 28.

TODAY'S HOROSCOPE

Surround yourself with positive thoughts. Make changes to your space that encourage creativity, spirituality and personal growth. Broaden your outlook, but don’t take on impossible tasks. Be passionate about life, love and work, and good things will unfold.

SCORPIO (Oct. 24-Nov. 22) — Step out of your comfort zone if that’s what it takes to help make positive changes. Don’t live a lie or be a martyr. You owe it to yourself to do what’s best for you.

SAGITTARIUS (Nov. 23-Dec. 21) — Get your facts straight before you decide to start a debate. An emotional incident will bring you closer to someone you think is special. Honesty will help keep the peace.

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19) — Give credit where credit is due. Take the high road when faced with an ethical choice. Don’t be afraid to use your skills and experience to bring about positive change.

AQUARIUS (Jan. 20-Feb. 19) — Think things through before you make a decision that can influence what you do next. Get the proper documentation or qualifications in order before starting something new.

PISCES (Feb. 20-March 20) — When in doubt, ask questions. A new look or image will lift your spirits. A professional change will allow you to use your skills more efficiently. Romance is encouraged.

ARIES (March 21-April 19) — Go over the pros and cons of difficult situations and relationships. Knowing what you are up against will help decide what and who are worth your time and effort.

TAURUS (April 20-May 20) — You may know how a game is played, but don’t expect everyone to play fair. Keep your eyes open, don’t hesitate to ask questions, and be sure to cover your tracks or get everything in writing.

GEMINI (May 21-June 20) — Big ideas followed by sound judgment and hard work will pay off. Don’t let anyone discourage you or meddle in your affairs. Work at your own pace, and don’t share what you are doing until it’s ready.

CANCER (June 21-July 22) — Put restrictions on entertainment, spending and over-the-top behavior. You can have fun without going into debt. Do something that appeals to your creative side. A unique path will lead to enlightenment.

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22) — Avoid costly ventures or donations you cannot afford. Doing something spontaneous will lead to setbacks. Stay focused on what’s attainable and put your heart and soul into everything you do.

VIRGO (Aug. 23-Sept. 22) — Information you gather will lead to a change of mind and direction. Don’t let the unknown frighten you. It’s time to branch out, try something new and explore what the world has to offer.

LIBRA (Sept. 23-Oct. 23) — Back up and let things unfold before you take sides or let your thoughts be known. Get out and do something that will broaden your outlook, and you’ll discover you have more options than you realize.

NEWS OF THE WEIRD

By Chuck Sheppard

The Litigious Society: Mauro Restrepo was hoping that Palos Verdes Estates, California, psychic Sophia Adams could help him remove a curse that was put on him by his ex-girlfriend, NBC Los Angeles reported. When he arrived at her business for his first session, Adams read his tarot cards and said he had “mala suerte,” or bad luck. She told Restrepo that the curse could ruin him, his children and his marriage unless he paid her $5,100 to remove it. Restrepo paid her $1,000 as a down payment, but shockingly, she “did not in any way help (Restrepo’s) marriage,” alleged a lawsuit filed by Restrepo on Oct. 1 in Torrance Superior Court. He claims he has suffered sleepless nights, anxiety and anguish, and he’s seeking at least $25,000 in compensatory and punitive damages.

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