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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Twenty years ago I decided to place my child for adoption. I was 19, unmarried, and did not have the means to support a baby.

Your Mother's Day column that year included a tribute to mothers who unselfishly placed their children for adoption. I cut it out and have carried it in my wallet ever since. I know other birth mothers would also find comfort from reading it. Would you consider printing it again? -- JULIANA IN BOISE, IDAHO

DEAR JULIANA: With pleasure.

DEAR ABBY: I hope you will use my letter on Mother's Day as a tribute to those brave, unselfish mothers who have placed their babies for adoption.

I am a new mother whose heart is overflowing with gratitude to a 15-year-old girl I have never seen. I understand that she is a beautiful, intelligent person who became pregnant accidentally and decided on her own that her baby should have a better life than she was able to provide, so she agreed to allow her baby to be adopted.

As soon as our son is able to understand, I shall tell him about his "real" mother and what a courageous person she is.

In the meantime, I pray daily for her well-being and good fortune. Sign me ... BLESSED

DEAR BLESSED: Thank you for an appropriate letter for Mother's Day. I agree that placing a child for adoption for his or her own good is the ultimate in unselfishness. God bless those mothers who do.

DEAR ABBY: My mother just finished reciting the same speech she gives every year as Mother's Day approaches. It begins, "Now please don't throw your money away on a gift for me ... I don't need a thing."

Abby, I know my mother doesn't "need" anything, but I enjoy giving her presents, and it takes the pleasure out of it for me when she displays this attitude. I wish you'd tell mothers that children of all ages enjoy giving gifts on Mother's Day, so please accept them graciously. -- SOMEBODY'S DAUGHTER

DEAR DAUGHTER: Your mother's attitude is typical of many other mothers. She would probably prefer that you use the money to buy something for yourself. However, that doesn't mean Mother's Day should not be celebrated with a gift.

This year, write your mother a letter telling her how much you love her and what life-lessons you have learned from her example. I'm sure if you do so, she will treasure it as long as she lives.

DEAR ABBY: What is the significance of wearing a single carnation on Mother's Day? -- FLOWER CHILD

DEAR CHILD: A red carnation is worn to signify that one's mother is living. A white carnation signifies that one's mother is deceased.

There should also be an identifying flower worn by those mothers who choose motherhood by raising a foster child, adopting a child or raising a stepchild.

And a special place in heaven awaits those mothers who chose a child with an "imperfection," knowing that children with physical or mental challenges not only have special needs, but also require a superabundance of love, understanding and patience.

To order "How to Write Letters for All Occasions," send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Letter Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)