DEAR ABBY: As parents of an adopted child, we were concerned about when we would have "the conversation." Then a neighbor told us about how they would celebrate "Gotcha Day" with their adopted daughter each year.
Gotcha Day is a day to celebrate because it's the day we became a family. We "adopted" their idea and have been doing something special on this day since before our child could even say the word "gotcha."
Early on, she had no idea what we were celebrating; she just knew it was a special day for us. Through the years, she was able to process exactly what it meant at her own pace, which relieved the need to ever have that dreaded conversation. Recently our daughter told us she loves this day more than her actual birthday!
I thought I'd share this with other adoptive parents who worry about when the right time might be to explain to their child that they were prayed for, wanted, loved and adopted. -- BLESSED PARENTS IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR BLESSED PARENTS: I had never heard of anything like this, but I think it's a great concept and certainly worth sharing with my readers. Thank you!
DEAR ABBY: After 32 years of marriage, my wife went out and got a tattoo on her shoulder. It's about 8 inches by 6 inches (quite large), and she did it without any advance discussion with me, which has left me sort of shocked. Her position is that it's her body and she'll do what she wants. This has driven a wedge between us, and I'm not sure if we can move forward. What is your advice? -- UNMARKED IN NEVADA
DEAR UNMARKED: To me, what's important is not that your wife got the tattoo without discussing it with you, but her motive for doing it in secret. My advice is to do nothing in haste or in anger. Try to get her to explain to you what the tattoo symbolizes to her, because it may be important. After that, whether you decide to move forward -- or move out -- is something only you can decide.
DEAR ABBY: My co-worker tried to commit suicide last year. She took eight months off after that. Now we are approaching the one-year anniversary.
We work for a small, family-owned business. Everyone knows she tried to kill herself, but no one knows why. She has reduced her hours and her stress level, at least at work. I have picked up most of her duties, and I'm quick to lend a hand. She's a lot older than I am, and I'm not comfortable lending an ear.
How do we handle this situation? Do we act like it's just like any other normal day? -- UNCOMFORTABLE AT WORK
DEAR UNCOMFORTABLE: If your co-worker wanted to disclose her reason(s) for trying to kill herself, you would already know what drove her. Because a suicide attempt is nothing to celebrate, be sensitive and don't draw attention to it unless she brings it up.