Dear Abby published the following this week in her syndicated column:
DEAR ABBY: For 15 years I was a happily married homemaker with a wonderful husband. "Duncan" and I attended church together, frolicked through the fields, even exterminated rodents together. He was my best friend. It was bliss.Instead of giving a flip answer designed to activate the sitcom-esque laugh track, Dear Abby (penned by the original Abby's daughter Jeanne Phillips) could have done some public good by taking the adoption industry to task for putting people in situations like this.
Last year I found out my father had had an affair with Duncan's mother the year I was born, which makes him my half-brother! The news was too much for my husband. He had a fatal heart attack not long after. What should I put on his gravestone: "Loving Brother" or "Loving Husband"?
Grieving in Massachusetts
DEAR GRIEVING: Neither. How about "He was 'Everything' to me"? That should about cover it.
If we had open records--if every adoptee had the same access to their original birth certificates as the non-adopted, if birth mothers had free and clear access to all paperwork involved with their surrender--then families would be less able to lie about these things and people would not have to suffer the way this person clearly is.
Instead, our trauma is the punchline of a joke in the comics section. Add that to the list of things I wish I'd known before I was adopted.
If you want to write to Dear Abby and express your outrage:
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, a k a Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.
ADDENDUM: Okay, not quite adoption related (see comments), but still begs the question: How do we make sure people know their actual origins?