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Dear Abby: When I was in my early 20s, I had a baby boy I placed for adoption. I could barely take care of myself, let alone a newborn. The father wanted nothing to do with me or the baby, so I placed him with his relatives out of state, who adopted him. With counseling, I got my life back on track, finished college and got a good job. I am married now and have a family.

After 20 years, this child, “Fred,” called me. We talked every night for a few weeks and I invited him here to live with me. BIG MISTAKE! Long story short, Fred is greedy, lazy and expects everyone to wait on him. He refuses to look for a job or go to school, and he expects me to pay all his expenses.

I called his adoptive family. They said when things don’t go his way, Fred pouts and doesn’t communicate until he needs money. They feel exactly as I do – he should get a job or go to school.

Abby, my family loves Fred and welcomed him with open arms, but I feel detached from him. As soon as I learned I was pregnant, I began separating myself because I knew it would be difficult to let go. I do not regard Fred as a member of my family and have no maternal feelings for him. I’d be OK if I knew he was doing well – from a distance. But I’d prefer not to maintain a relationship. I don’t love this young man, and I don’t know what to say when he says, “Love you, Mom.”

Am I wrong to feel this way? Is there anyone else out there who feels as I do? My family is trying to guilt me into accepting him, but I can’t. Have others had a similar experience?

– Sincerely Not His Mom

Dear Sincerely: I’m printing your letter because although many adoption reunions go well, not all of them do. If other birth mothers would like to share their experiences, I’m inviting them to do so.

However, I do have this to offer: Do NOT allow yourself to be trapped into doing anything with which you are not comfortable. Your feelings may be based on the circumstances surrounding Fred’s birth. They may also result from your disappointment in his lack of character. While you will always be Fred’s birth mother, you are NOT his “mom.” That distinction belongs to the woman who raised him.

That thread is a courtesy

Dear Abby: When I buy a sweater I usually get an extra button in a little clear baggie attached to the garment. Today, I bought a sweater with a piece of matching thread in the tiny plastic bag. Why do manufacturers insist on adding something to every article of clothing even if it is just a piece of thread?

– Inquisitive in Illinois

Dear Inquisitive: The thread is provided in case the garment needs to be rewoven in the event you get a hole in it or a tear. It’s a courtesy to the customer, so stop looking a gift horse in the mouth.