Dear Annie: I am a 22-year-old adoptee. My grandparents raised me from 6 months old and officially adopted me when I was 10. They have three sons — my biological father and his two brothers. This is where the problem lies.
My “uncles” have never accepted that their parents are my parents. They never refer to me as their sister and frequently refer to my parents as my grandparents. Most of these things I ignore, but there is one thing I cannot. My parents are in their early 60s, and the subject of their death comes up often. Their sons have decided that when our parents die, I have no say in anything.
Annie, these are the only parents I’ve ever had. I am legally adopted, so I have a legal right as well as a given right. How do I calmly explain that they are my parents, too?
— Their Child
Dear Their Child: You are not going to make your uncles treat you like a sibling. They see you as their brother’s child. And although your parents are not that old, it is never too soon to prepare a will and other necessary legal documents. Your parents’ wishes and the distribution of their assets are things they get to decide, and they should discuss it with a lawyer. They should also have a family meeting and make sure that all of their children are aware of how they want this to be handled.
Dear Annie: I recently attended a cocktail party at the home of a former colleague from our deaf program. The speaker was a campaign worker for one of the presidential candidates. The party hostess made arrangements in advance for a sign language interpreter.
When the speaker was done with his presentation, I waited for my turn to talk to him. As I got clearance, I was interrupted by three hearing female guests who showed no respect for a deaf guest while the conversation took place. I managed to maintain a professional attitude by containing my emotions, but their rudeness took me by surprise. The speaker was fully aware of this, and his facial expression hinted to me that he was not pleased by this episode.
If I were to attend another such event and get the same treatment, what should I do?
— Deaf Professor
Dear Deaf: This type of situation can occur whether a guest is deaf or not. People interrupt, block you from the conversation and behave rudely. An alert host would have interceded, and the speaker should have made every effort to be more inclusive. He allowed these women to hijack the conversation. You also could have enlisted the assistance of the interpreter. If you feel you were treated poorly solely because of your deafness, please discuss this with your host at the next such event.
Dear Annie: The letter from “Heartbroken Mother,” whose 36-year-old son is a drug addict, hit home. That son could’ve been me.
I’m glad you told her to take care of herself first. I would also like to mention that The Salvation Army offers a free, six-month-minimum in-patient adult rehabilitation program. It’s a tough, spiritually based 12-step program that includes a full day of hard work and counseling.
I have seen so many people who are hopeless and helpless renewed to strong, contributing members of the community. When one shows up for intake, they have to test clean for drugs and alcohol. Maybe her son is not ready, but there may be thousands more who are reading this column. It is challenging but literally lifesaving. The rewards for those who take the walk and for the families who take it with them bring me to tears every time I witness the change and hope that come.
Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to [email protected], or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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