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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I am a 19-year-old female who is serving in the U.S. Air Force. I'm stationed overseas at the moment, and I plan to make the military my career.

I have reached a point in life when I am ready to have a family. Unfortunately, I haven't found a man who is compatible with me. Every relationship I have ends because it conflicts with my military schedule.

I know adoption is a hard process, but I'm willing to go through it. What do you think about my trying to adopt as a single parent? -- UNSURE OF MY NEXT MOVE IN ENGLAND

DEAR UNSURE: I'm glad you asked because I think you're jumping the gun. At 19, your search for someone compatible has been limited because of your youth and job responsibilities.

Who would care for your little one if you, as a single mother, were transferred to a "hot spot," or injured or worse? Would relatives assume the responsibility? Before becoming a mother -- adoptive or otherwise -- it's important that you think about this realistically from the point of view of what would be best for the child. If you wait to become a parent until you are older, as many women do today, you will be better equipped emotionally and financially for the responsibility.

Read more in: Love & Dating | Family & Parenting | Teens | Marriage & Divorce

High-Iq Child In Need Of Special Attention

DEAR ABBY: I have a friend whose child is brilliant. He is testing in the 99.5 percentile. At 7, he is already far in advance of his classmates. He has read chapter books since age 5, is doing algebra and asking post-doctoral math and science questions, according to a professor close to the family.

His mother is in denial. She says the other kids will "catch up" in time. If he had special needs in another area, I know she'd be in there fighting to get him appropriate services and accommodations.

Please, Abby, what can we do to convince his mother that he needs more than what his inner-city schools can provide? I was one of those kids, and I know he needs contact with other kids who match his intellectual level more closely. -- CONCERNED FRIEND IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR CONCERNED: The mother may be in denial, but the child's teachers and principal must surely have recognized his abilities. Enlist their help in convincing the mother to see that her son advances at a rate appropriate for his IQ.

When students are as far ahead academically as the child you describe, they can become bored and disruptive. It would be in everyone's interest to see that he is placed in classes where he can continue to excel -- regardless of whether the others catch up.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Friends & Neighbors

Halloween Not A Time To Leave Cats Outdoors

DEAR ABBY: With Halloween fast approaching, I would like to remind cat owners to keep them safely indoors on the days surrounding this holiday. Unfortunately, some people still associate cats with Halloween superstitions. Please do not assume that black cats are the only felines at risk. Any cat can be the target of a cruel Halloween prank. -- CAT LOVER IN THE SOUTH

DEAR CAT LOVER: Thank you for the reminder. Please, everyone, keep yourselves and your pets safe this Halloween.

Read more in: Holidays & Celebrations | Friends & Neighbors | Abuse

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