DEAR MISS MANNERS: I am getting married in October. My fiance and I are wanting to adopt a child from Guatemala; however, the cost is preventing us from doing so.
We currently have a house and are living together. We really have no need or want for wedding presents like a toaster and china.
Many of the adoption agencies that we have contacted have given us information about setting up our own foundation in order to have friends and family donate money toward the cost of the adoption.
How do I let people know that I do not want wedding presents and instead would like money donated toward the adoption?
GENTLE READER: If only it were a question of how touching and worthy the cause, you would have a sympathetic case. Miss Manners would certainly put you ahead of all those couples who want their guests to give them money for the wedding itself, for the honeymoon, to pay off their credit cards or to take out a mortgage.
But how is she going to make everyone understand that their guests are not their creditors? And that decent people do not instruct their friends to pay their bills?
Yes, yes, she has heard the argument that you are only saving them all from buying toasters. (And, by the way, why is it always toasters that people cite? If there is one item that is easily returnable after the thank you letter is written, and whose absence will not be noticed by the donor, it is a toaster.)
Wedding presents are voluntary tokens of affection from people who should care enough about you to put some thought into the selection. They are not intended to be a source of income for the bridal couple to count into their budget and allot as they wish.
Children are worth sacrificing for. As you have a fully equipped house, Miss Manners gathers you are not destitute, so perhaps you could find a way to pay for the adoption by sacrificing -- for example, by having a modest wedding and honeymoon. But she urges you not to sacrifice your dignity.
DEAR MISS MANNERS: I live in an apartment building which has a security door and intercom system on the main floor. When a date comes to pick me up, should he come all the way up to my unit or should he remain in the vestibule until I come down? Or should I buzz him into the lobby and say that I will be right down? Does the answer vary depending upon how many dates I've had with him?
GENTLE READER: Hold on. The question of how many dates it should be before a gentleman goes to your apartment surely has to do with the other end of the date. And Miss Manners prefers not to be involved in that.
It is not improper for a gentleman to pick you up in the lobby of your apartment building after he is able to notify you that he has arrived. But if you want to offer him a drink first -- no, never mind, Miss Manners isn't going to get into that.