DEAR ABBY: I just want to thank you for your suggestions about Christmas gifts for seniors. My 15-year-old daughter took your advice and made beautiful "family albums" for each of her grandmothers.
Around Thanksgiving of last year, she wrote letters to all their brothers, sisters, children and grandchildren, explaining what she was planning and saying she'd like a memory or a story involving them. She also asked if they had any photographs she could use or copy.
The replies were great! Almost everyone took the time to send an old memory or a funny story. Those who didn't regretted it once they saw the books.
My mother and mother-in-law both cried when they read their albums. It was something special just to watch their faces and hear all the "Oh, yeahs," and, "I forgot about thats."
Both albums are proudly displayed in their homes and are passed around often. I'm very proud of my daughter for all her hard work on those books. She did a great job.
My question for you, Abby, is: How does she top that this year? -- TIA'S PROUD MOM, BETHLEHEM, PA.
DEAR MOM: I don't blame you for being proud of your creative and generous daughter. The answer to your question is: Sometimes it's better to coast until you're blessed with another inspiration.
DEAR ABBY: I am writing to encourage "Scared in Vista, Calif.," who was uneasy about meeting the daughter she had placed for adoption 18 years ago.
I am 27, and it suddenly became very important to me that I know my heritage, medical history, and the reason I was placed for adoption. I have never felt abandoned or unloved because of my birth mother's decision to allow someone else to raise me. To me, such a decision is the most unselfish act a woman can ever make.
Abby, I recently located and met my birth mother. My adoptive mother, who is my mom, also recently met my birth mom. It was, by far, the most amazing event in my life to date. It has been several months since my first call to her, and I have visited with her and her entire family four times now. We frequently telephone one another.
There were many reasons I wanted to meet her, but first and foremost, I wanted to thank her. Mom expressed the same sentiment when we met my birth mother. Please tell "Scared" that there is no reason to be afraid. She will experience many emotions on this journey and will need to allow time for everyone to adjust, but I guarantee that her daughter has been looking for her, and she is probably just as nervous as the mother. However, the meeting should not be feared. They should not back off now. The rewards are just around the bend. -- NO LONGER GUESSING IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR NO LONGER GUESSING: I'm pleased that the reunion with your birth mother was rewarding. Not every reunion between birth families and adoptees works out so well. However, in recent years the input I have received indicates that the majority of these meetings are fulfilling, and the result is that many doubts are laid to rest -- which makes them worth the risk.
Everybody has a problem. What's yours? Get it off your chest by writing to Dear Abby, P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069. For a personal reply, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
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