Dear Abby • I recently backed out of an adoption. I feel terrible about it. How can I mentally and emotionally get over this? My baby girl is 4 months old now, and my guilt is getting worse. I backed out three days before she was born.
The couple I had chosen turned out to be unprofessional and emotionally unstable. They not only caused me several problems but also my job, which I loved. During the four months I knew them, they treated me poorly, and I realized it was better for my little one not to go through with the adoption.
They are now trying to make me out to be a bad person who used them financially — something I really did not. I’m glad now that I kept my daughter. So why do I keep feeling so bad about my decision? — Guilt-ridden in the Midwest
Dear Guilt-ridden • If I had to guess the reason, I would say it may be because you know your last-minute change of mind caused this couple pain. A way to assuage your guilt might be to work out a payment plan so they are not out the money they spent. (The lawyer or agency that arranged the adoption may be able to guide you.)
Dear Abby • I have two sisters. We were very close until our mother passed away two years ago. In her trust, the proceeds from the sale of her house were to be divided among the three of us. Only one sister has children. (They are grown.) My two sisters have decided we should split the proceeds from Mom’s house (about $800,000) five ways to include the adult children. Their mother has threatened to “disown me” if I don’t go along with the five-way split.
I have always done right by her “kids,” and neither sister bothered to ask for my reason for not wanting to include my nephew and niece in the inheritance. I love my sisters and do not want to lose them, but I also don’t want to be bullied into a decision I cannot support. — To Divide or Not to Divide
Dear To Divide • Your mother’s wishes were that the money be divided three ways. Your sisters should abide by the directions of the trust. I agree you shouldn’t be bullied or threatened into taking less than your mother wanted you to have. If your sisters want “the kids” to have a share of the inheritance, they should gift the amount from their portion rather than extort it from you. Their attitude has not only tarnished something that should have been a blessing, but also created a rift in the family, and that’s a shame.
Dear Abby • I could really use your help. I don’t know how to respond to people I hardly know who end conversations with “I love you.” I don’t feel comfortable saying that to someone and not meaning it. This isn’t like saying, “Have a nice day.” Is there a polite way of responding without saying something that to me is totally inappropriate to someone I only have a casual relationship with? — Uncomfortable in the Midwest
Dear Uncomfortable • Respond this way: “What a sweet thing to say. Thank you!” Then smile and fade out.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.