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by Abigail Van Buren

Dog Left Home Alone Causes Concern for Worried Owners

DEAR ABBY: I am a 29-year-old woman with one child. Having always wanted to adopt, I looked into international adoptions and foster care adoptions. I also became a foster care provider for two years. I have always wanted to expand my family, but adoption is expensive and foster care wasn't the right fit.

My younger sister, "Caitlin," married her abusive high school boyfriend and immediately became pregnant. She filed for divorce last year. Because he still controlled her, they reconnected and she's now pregnant with a second child. They are still divorcing, and this time she has no intention of reconciling.

I would desperately love to adopt this baby. When I approached Caitlin about it she said allowing me to adopt her child would make her feel "too guilty." How do I convey to her my great desire to adopt her child without making her feel like less than a parent? I wouldn't feel so strongly if I thought she actually wanted this baby, but she acts like this pregnancy is a burden. -- MATERNAL IN TULSA

DEAR MATERNAL: Your sister is experiencing a difficult pregnancy for many reasons, so please do not pressure her. I'm sure she already knows how much you want a baby -- so be supportive and let her know you are there for her. Period.