DEAR ABBY: Please advise "Has Issues in New Hampshire" (Dec. 5) to speak up now. My husband and I were married when my daughter was 8. He adopted her, but even after that, when his family took photographs, she was excluded. She's now 29 and still remembers those hurtful occasions when she was not included.
Ironically, the sister who did it every year is now married and has an adopted son, so things have changed. But I deeply regret not saying something years ago because it affected the way my daughter feels about her aunt. -- WISER NOW, FARWELL, MICH.
DEAR WISER NOW: While most readers agreed that what the unofficial family photographer did was wrong, in fairness, not everyone did. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: I see nothing wrong with taking photos of various family groups. Both my family and my husband's do it. We take pictures of everyone -- just the siblings; the parents and children; the parents, children and spouses; all the grandchildren; etc. "Marian" took pictures that included all the children, so stop whining. -- NINE IN PLEASANT GAP, PA.
DEAR ABBY: "Marian" is the one who should be excluded, for her stupidity. Our family is comprised of several blended families. We never use the words "step" or "half" -- ever. It is always "my sister," "my brother," "my mother," "my father."
When a sister died suddenly at 47, we all grieved. When another was brutally murdered at 41, we all grieved. Both times, all the sisters approached to place a rose into the casket to honor our beloved sibling. Each time I turned around I saw my beloved "blended" family grieving as one.
My advice to "Marian" would be to buy a camera with a really wide-angle lens and leave nobody out. -- ELIZABETH IN WOODVILLE, TEXAS
DEAR ABBY: The letter about the stepmom who insists on taking a yearly photograph of "blood" family members only made me chuckle.
Years ago, when our daughter was 6 weeks old (her brother was almost 2), we made the four-hour drive to attend my husband's family reunion. The baby screamed the whole last half-hour of the ride. I nursed her as soon as we arrived and handed her off to a cousin so I could eat.
Before I could finish, we were "summoned" to the back yard, where several aunts were taking family pictures. I decided they would just have to do without our sleeping daughter. My husband and I posed with our son, but before we could get away, the cousin ratted us out. The baby, now screaming again, was presented to be added to the picture. The ladies were annoyed that they'd "wasted a shot," but aimed their cameras again.
Afterward, I looked down and was horrified to see our son had been picking his nose. So our branch of the family was recorded with a screaming infant, a daughter-in-law who was angry enough to chew broken glass, and a 2-year-old with both index fingers buried in his nose. -- DEL IN MOBILE, ALA.
DEAR ABBY: Out of my parents' six grandchildren, only two are biological; however, my parents make no distinction. "Marian" needs to be reminded that family is family. As far as our family is concerned, the "bonus children" are just as much "Calhouns" as the other grandkids. One of my favorite quotes is by Goldie Nash, who said, "Blood may be thicker than water, but love is thicker than blood." -- BRENDA Z., STAUNTON, VA.