DEAR ABBY: My sister "Adele" chose to adopt a baby boy when she was in her late 50s. She isn't married. Before the adoption, she asked me if something happened to her, would I take care of the child. I had already raised my children and was going through a divorce, so I said, "No. I'm too old and I want to enjoy my future retirement." She got mad.
Adele is now approaching 70 with a high-maintenance 12-year-old son she has signed up for every extracurricular activity under the sun. I have seen him twice since the adoption. If and when the question comes up again, how do I handle it? -- AUNT IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR AUNT: After you refused her request, your sister probably asked someone else -- someone more involved in her and her son's daily lives -- to step in. However, if she didn't, then in the event of her death or a serious illness that renders her unable to parent her son, you may have to decide what you are prepared to do.
Cross your fingers and hope she remains healthy until her boy reaches adulthood. Then consider this: Your nephew is no longer a little boy. In six years he will be 18. It's not as if you would be changing diapers and arranging for day care. It shouldn't ruin your retirement to take him in if he has no one else. Remember the Golden Rule.