DEAR ABBY: I am almost 13 and I'm struggling with a lot of different things. I was adopted when I was a baby, so I never lived with my birth mother. That's probably a good thing, but I am having angry feelings toward her that I wish I wouldn't have. Those feelings are also being directed at friends and family members.

I'll think I have forgiven my birth mother for what she did, and then all of a sudden, I realize I never really did. I don't want to grow up being bitter all my life. Do you have any advice for me? -- NEEDS HELP IN INDIANA

DEAR NEEDS HELP: Yes. It is important you understand that birth mothers love their babies very much. When a woman places her child for adoption, there can be legitimate reasons for it. She may have been too young to raise a child, without the means to properly support it or addicted to drugs or alcohol. Your mother may have wanted you to have a better life than she had and felt another family could give it to you.

When you are older, you can do a search for her and find out the reason for yourself. But in the meantime, stop blaming her -- and you, your friends and family will be happier.


DEAR ABBY: I'm really confused about what to do about a couple of situations. I'm a 17-year-old high school senior and I have feelings for a 23-year-old single father. We have talked on and off over the past year. He said that once my 18th birthday came around he was going to "make me a very happy girl."

After I recently told him I was afraid we might not get together when the time came, we stopped talking. Now the mother of his child is back in the picture, and I'm glad for the baby's sake. I don't know for sure they're getting back together, though.

My second issue is about my feelings for a 20-year-old college student who's going away to an out-of-state school. He claims he's not the best guy for me, but I don't believe that. I told him I liked him regardless of what he says. I think he likes me, too, but it's not always clear. What should I do? -- SCATTERED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR SCATTERED: For the next year or so, your first priority should be your future -- and I don't mean with a man. Before becoming seriously involved with anyone you must complete your education and establish some economic independence.

You were right to speak up about your concerns regarding your relationship with the first man you mentioned. That there is another woman in the picture -- even if she was in the background -- would have meant complications. Whether or not they get back together, the fact they have a child together means she may always be a presence in this man's life -- or could pop up at any time and cause disruption. Clearly, right now, he has unfinished business with her.

As to the second issue -- this young man may like you very much, but when a man tells a woman he is not the right man for her, what he usually means is that she is not the right woman for him. He may want to do what I'm advising you to do -- complete his education before becoming romantically involved. Or, he may feel the "chemistry" isn't quite right. If you accept it and move on, you'll save yourself some heartache.

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