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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am adopted, and my heart goes out to "Still Wounded by Adoption," who said adoptees search for their "real" parents because they need a sense of connection to the universe, and branded adoption as "barbaric."

Abby, I have never searched for my birth parents. My "real" parents are the mom and dad who raised me, stayed up with me when I was sick, taught me to read and write, and worried about me when I stayed out past my curfew. They are the couple who attended my football games and involved themselves in everything that was important to me, who scrimped and saved to send me to college and help me through law school, and are still there for me. I have two parents who love me, and that's all I could ever ask for.

I can't comprehend "Wounded's" idea that adoption is barbaric. What is barbaric about a couple, who couldn't biologically create a child, wanting to love and raise one in a stable home? It wasn't barbaric for my birth parents to demonstrate their love by placing me for adoption by a wonderful, loving couple who could provide what they couldn't. My biological parents allowed someone who desperately wanted a child to have the chance to be a parent, and I'm grateful for the generosity and maturity that went into that decision. -- MICHAEL H. MOHLMAN, LAWRENCE, KAN.

DEAR MICHAEL: Your letter echoes the sentiments of most adoptees. Thank you for re-emphasizing that adoption was an act of love on the part of your birth parents, as well as your adoptive parents.

DEAR ABBY: I must respond to "Still Wounded by Adoption" who complained bitterly about adoption, stating that many adoptees want to locate their birth parents to find a genetic connection from their roots to the rest of the universe.

I've got news for "Wounded": All of us, adopted or not, are searching for our connection to the universe. This search has spawned our religions and challenged some of the most inquiring minds. Abby, this connection isn't found in someone else, nor is it found in wealth, beauty, fame or power. It's found within ourselves.

"Wounded" stated that human beings are the only species that willingly give away their offspring. Wrong! I'm not trained in biology, but I know that the female cowbird places its eggs in the nests of other birds, thereby allowing her offspring to be adopted by the nest owners. A quick reference check found that the Old World common cuckoo also exhibits this behavior.

"Wounded's" bottom line for the "adoption problem" is that "men should do a better job of guarding their sperm." The implication is that men are solely responsible for all unwanted pregnancies. Well, the last time I checked, it still takes two to tango. Women should take responsibility for their actions also.

"Wounded" seems to be deeply wounded, all right, but I'm not sure that adoption is the root of the problem. -- FRANKLY FRANK IN MILWAUKEE

DEAR FRANK: Dozens of readers wrote to dispute "Wounded's" assertion that adoption is barbaric. Most were mothers who had placed their babies for adoption at great emotional cost, and they insisted it was an act of love.

Several readers also disputed the statement that only humans give away their offspring. They pointed out that some animals do far worse with unwanted offspring -- they kill or eat their young! I have read about cows adopting orphaned calves, and recently I saw a news story about a dog who adopted a litter of kittens.

"Wounded," you stand almost alone. I urge you to rethink your mistaken beliefs about adoption -- it IS an act of kindness, and it's done with love.

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