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by Abigail Van Buren

Mom Struggles With Questions From Young Son She Gave Up

DEAR ABBY: At 19, I chose to give up my first child for adoption. "Billy" is now 5, and I have a great relationship with him and his adoptive parents. I've never regretted my decision.

We have been open about his adoption from the beginning. Billy often asks questions, much deeper than one would expect from a 5-year-old, and expresses some confusion. He understands that he came from my tummy but that he has his own parents. He knows that he is part of my family as well as his own, and when he met my mom, he chose to call her "Grandma." What Billy doesn't understand is why all his friends came from their mommy's tummies and he couldn't come from his adoptive mom's tummy. He also often expresses a desire for a brother or sister.

I am now engaged to be married to a wonderful man. We just found out that I am pregnant. I'd like Billy to be the ring bearer at my wedding, but I don't want to mislead anyone by introducing him and his family as "close friends of the family." We also don't want to overwhelm Billy with all this new information when he is struggling with so much confusion already. (Most of my extended family is not aware of Billy's existence.)

Also, since I'll be pregnant at the wedding and Billy knows he came from my tummy, a 5-year-old's deduction would be that he is finally getting a brother or sister. How do we explain that I loved him so much that I gave him to his mommy and daddy but I'll be keeping this baby? -- BIRTH MOTHER IN PHILLY

DEAR BIRTH MOTHER: I know you are well-intentioned, but I urge you to rethink having Billy be a part of your wedding. Please consider the effect it would have on him to be introduced to your extended family for the first time at your wedding. Also, the question of why you would "give him away" and keep the other child is one that should be dealt with over time -- and by his adoptive parents with support from you if necessary.

As he grows older, he will have more questions, and they should be answered honestly and at an age-appropriate level.

For now, however, I think creating some distance would be healthier for all concerned.