Life Advice



Ask Amy: ‘Best of’ column concerns adoption

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Your sister is old enough to learn her adoption story. She was always old enough to know this story, because her story tells the truth about her life.

This story is nothing to be ashamed of or worried about, except, of course, when it becomes this big and powerful secret that the whole family must keep.

Tell your mother you are worried that another family member will tell your sister the truth, and this would turn a wonderful story into a confusing and traumatic event for everyone.

I assume that because of the difference in your ages, you have quite distinct memories of your own of your sister’s adoption into the family.

You should tell your mother that you will never lie about this and that if asked you will tell the truth.

You don’t mention your father, but he would be the obvious choice to help you advocate for the truth.


A book that would provide inspiration to your parents is, “Talking with Young Children about Adoption,” by Mary Watkins and Dr. Susan Fisher (1995, Yale University Press).

This book not only suggests ways to have this talk, but also anticipates the many questions that children frequently ask. – Junes 2012

Dear Amy: I disagree with your advice to “Distressed Sister.” Adoption is between the parents and the child.

Everybody else should stay out of it. This sister should be told, “If you ever adopt a child, you can handle it the way you like.”


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