Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: In all the articles I've seen in recent months concerning opening all adoption records, I have never read about the responsibilities of those who wish to find each other. I have only one question: Are you willing to totally accept whatever you find, and to accept that entire extended family as your own?

Are you willing to include that family, likable or not, in your family celebrations and go to theirs on a regular basis? If your newfound family is in financial need, requires surgery, psychiatric care or a nursing home, are you willing to pay for their care for the rest of your life? Will you visit them -- at their country estate or exclusive country club, or perhaps in a homeless shelter, drug/alcohol treatment center or jail? If you can't accept all the responsibilities of the whole package, don't open the box!

I have no memory of being told I was adopted. I have always known, since "adopted" was a happy word used from the time I was an infant. To my birth mother, I would simply say: "Thank you for not aborting me, for caring enough to give me up to a loving family. I hope you had other children and your life was as full of love as mine." -- I'M NOT LOST, PLEASE DON'T FIND ME, GLENVIEW, ILL.

DEAR NOT LOST: You have written a very intelligent letter. Although I have heard from many adoptees and birth mothers about their desire to locate their lost relatives, I have seen no statistics regarding how many regretted making contact.

DEAR ABBY: Is it just me, or do you and your readers find exposed bra straps disgusting? I notice it is very common to wear tank tops or sundresses or some other top that exposes all or part of the shoulder with the bra strap fully exposed. I do not find this appealing at all. It's up there with wearing curlers in public.

I am 43, and for the past 30 years, I've worn shoulder-baring tops. When I do, I don't wear a bra, and in the '70s and '80s this was the norm. (I don't recall women showing anything that should not have been shown when they went braless.) If the top is so revealing without a bra, it probably is too revealing with one. Of course, there are strapless bras for women who feel uncomfortable without a bra, and manufacturers could help out by sewing bra cups into tops that bare shoulders.

What do you and your readers think about exposed bra straps? -- SALLY B. IN VALENCIA, CALIF.

DEAR SALLY: When it comes to exposed bras straps, I'm inclined to suspend judgment. Readers?

DEAR ABBY: I saw the column you printed about who to contact for organ donations, and thought I should write.

I am a charter member of a local Lions Club, and we offer "eye will" forms that now also have a box to check for other organ donations besides eyes.

It would be a great service to Lions Clubs all over the world, in 187 countries, if you would mention in one of your columns that local Lions Clubs can be contacted to arrange for an organ donation/eye will card.

Thank you, Abby, and a great big Lion's ROAR for your participation. -- J.J. MERKLE, PRESIDENT, JACKSONVILLE (N.C.) BUSINESS LIONS CLUB

DEAR MR. MERKLE: That's wonderful news and helpful information I'm pleased to pass along to my readers, some of whom may be unaware of how easily they can get an organ donor card.

To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby's "Keepers," P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, Ill. 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

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