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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Thanks to reading about International Soundex Reunion Registry in your column, the son I gave up for adoption 26 years ago is back in my life.

I remember being drawn to the concept of ISRR, which, unlike other means of locating a child or birthparent, requires that both parties register and want to find each other in order for a match to be made. I clipped that column and kept it until I knew my son had turned 18, then sent for and completed the form. (That was in 1988.) Finally, a month ago, I got the call -- my son had registered the week before!

Giving up my baby boy was the most difficult thing I have ever done. Over the years, I assured myself that I did the right thing, but I've regretted it ever since. I never stopped wondering where my son was, who he looked like, and if he was healthy and happy. I cried buckets of tears and never quit praying.

Finding him, knowing he wanted to find me, and finally getting to be a mom (I never had any other children) has been my greatest joy.

Thank you, Abby and ISRR, for this miracle. I hope you print the address again so many others will also have an opportunity to unite. -- A MOM AT LAST, SAN RAMON, CALIF.

DEAR MOM: Thank you for sharing the story of your heartwarming reunion with your son. My best wishes to you both.

Readers, for those of you who may not have clipped the address for ISRR and would now like to have it, it is: P.O. Box 2312, Carson City, Nev. 89702. Please enclose a self-addressed, stamped, business-size envelope for a reply.

DEAR ABBY: A few years ago, our son and his wife had a relatively large formal wedding with a sit-down dinner.

The invitations requested "no children, please," yet the bride's aunt brought her hyperactive 5-year-old granddaughter. Although she was a pretty little girl, she took over the reception dinner by running around the dining area, drinking champagne and dancing every dance.

When the bridal bouquet was thrown, guess who caught it. Needless to say, we were very unhappy that she was there because not only did she detract from the bride and groom, but she took over. We have a grandson approximately the same age who is quiet and well-mannered and who would have been thrilled to be invited to a wedding.

I'm sure "A Family Man in Bangor, Maine" is a wonderful, well-meaning dad, but when one ignores the request of the bride and groom, one must wonder how many people like us feel outraged.

No matter how cute the children, the stars of every wedding should be the bride and groom. -- OUTRAGED IN LINCOLN, NEB.

DEAR OUTRAGED: Anyone who has read my column for any length of time knows that I agree with you 100 percent. Not only did the bride's aunt commit a breach of etiquette by bringing her 5-year-old to the wedding, she compounded it by failing to assert parental authority when her child went out of control. And permitting a youngster to drink an alcoholic beverage is dangerous for the child and also against the law.

I heard from many readers condemning the practice of bringing children to weddings. Read on for another letter:

DEAR ABBY: May I add my comments to the ongoing saga about very young children at weddings?

I am a clergyman who has performed hundreds of wedding ceremonies over the past 20 years. I am also a family man with grown children and grandchildren.

Can you imagine what it's like to officiate at a wedding with a baby screaming at the top of its lungs? Have you ever watched and listened to a video of a wedding with two or three babies crying while the parents make no attempt to quiet them?

I recently officiated at a wedding when a baby started to scream so loudly I couldn't hear myself talk. The mother and her screaming baby were in the second row. The mother stood up, holding the baby, and just let it scream.

I stopped the ceremony, then the bride turned around and motioned for the mother to take the baby out, which she finally did. (What a "beautiful" memory that bride will have of her wedding.)

I have seen numerous brides break down in tears because their wedding was ruined by a crying baby. The babies weren't to blame; it was their mothers' fault! -- LAKELAND, FLA.

For Abby's favorite family recipes, send a long, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet No. 1, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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