Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column concerns adoption

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Readers: Every year I step away from my column for two weeks to work on other creative projects. (Anyone interested in my personal essays and photographs can subscribe to my free newsletter:

I’ll be back next week. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy these “Best Of” columns from 10 years ago. Today’s topic concerns adoption, and the potential fallout from keeping adoption a secret.

Dear Amy: I am a 16- year-old girl. I have a 13-year-old biological brother, “Paul” and a 10-year-old adopted sister, “Natty.”

My parents have never told Natty she’s adopted. She resembles our family, so I don’t think she suspects anything.

However, she’s recently started asking questions about her birth, and my mom has made up elaborate lies to cover up the fact of her adoption.

My mom says she’ll tell her when she’s old enough. Paul and I think she deserves to know now, but don’t want to defy our mom.


Can you help?

– Distressed Sister

Dear Distressed: Your mother’s refusal to tell your sister her adoption story has now devolved from lying by omission to outright lying.

Your mom is putting all of you in a terrible position, and it has the potential to profoundly affect everyone.


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