DEAR ABBY: My husband and I have been married 11 years. We went through eight years of fertility treatments before having our twins. When they were a year old, we discovered I was pregnant with our third child. The twins are now 2 1/2 and the baby is almost a year old.
For the first time in our marriage, my husband and I are at an impasse. We have two embryos left and need to decide what to do. We either use them or destroy them. I think we need to give the embryos the chance they were meant to have. However, my husband is concerned only with the financial side of it as we have been living on one salary and things are tight.
My heart aches over this. Do I do what I believe is right and stand by my religious and moral beliefs, and take the chance my husband will resent me for the rest of our marriage? I'm afraid I'll resent him if I have to destroy them. I'd appreciate some words of wisdom. -- DEADLOCKED IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR DEADLOCKED: This isn't an either/or question. I discussed it with Diane Goodman, the past president of the Academy of California Family Formation Lawyers, who suggests a third option. Your embryos could be donated for embryo adoption by a couple who have been unable to conceive, and who would love to raise them. For more information, you should contact an attorney who specializes in family formation, or contact the Snowflakes Frozen Embryo Adoption and Donation Program. Its phone number is 714-693-5437 and its website is www.nightlight.org.
DEAR ABBY: I am 29 and met my birth mother last month for the first time. She abandoned two other children besides me. "Angie" is an alcoholic and has cirrhosis of the liver. When I met her she was in rehab and had been sober for two weeks. The day after she was released she was rearrested for driving with a revoked license. The following day she was arrested for DUI.
It's obvious that my birth mother has a major addiction, and my heart breaks for her because she has no support system. Should I reach out and help her or continue on with my life? My friends and family are afraid I'll get hurt, but it's hard to sit back and do nothing. Any words of wisdom will help. -- CONFUSED AND TORN IN ST. LOUIS
DEAR CONFUSED AND TORN: Before involving yourself any further with Angie, take some time to visit Al-Anon (listed in your phone directory) and Adult Children of Alcoholics (adultchildren.org). That you want to help her is laudable, but it's important that you fully understand what you're letting yourself in for if you do.
Much as you might wish to, you cannot "fix" other people -- only they can do that. The Serenity Prayer from AA says it clearly: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference." It applies to you.
DEAR ABBY: My ex-wife, from whom I was divorced for many years, died recently. Our middle-aged daughter, who grew up in her mother's care, was unhappy that I chose not to attend the funeral. (Actually, I never considered going.)
Not only would plane fare have been a financial burden, my ex and I hadn't communicated with each other for more than 30 years. She remarried and I didn't.
Was I wrong for not being there? I don't understand our daughter's feelings in the matter. -- MEANT NO DISRESPECT, MESA, ARIZ.
DEAR MEANT NO DISRESPECT: Funerals aren't for the deceased as much as they are for the living. Because you didn't mention whether you had maintained contact with your daughter since your divorce from her mother, I can only guess that she felt she needed your emotional support during that sad time, and that would explain her reaction to your absence.
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