Aunt weighs responsibility for her late-in-life nephew

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.

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DEAR ABBY: I am a 25-year-old who has been dating a great guy for a year. The relationship is everything I have dreamed of — and more. My only concern is that my friends don’t seem to care much for him. That doesn’t bother me, but what does bother me is they are distancing themselves from me now.

I’m no longer invited to gatherings. My “best friend” doesn’t keep in touch anymore, and I have given up on trying to reach out every time. If I do manage to talk to her, she makes an excuse to get off the phone as quickly as possible.

I have never done this to any of my friends, regardless of whom they were dating or what life threw at them. Is this a normal part of life? Should I reconsider my friendships? — BOTHERED IN BOSTON

DEAR BOTHERED: Relationships sometimes ebb and flow. Before “reconsidering” these friendships, have a frank and honest chat with these women about why they don’t like your boyfriend. That your BFF would treat you the way she has is puzzling, unless she’s jealous because you spend so much time with your boyfriend or he has offended her in some way.

On a different note, does this man have friends of his own? Do the two of you socialize with other couples? Having been together for a year, are you making new friends together? If the answer to these questions is yes, then it may, indeed, be time to move on from this tribe of girlfriends.

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Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order “How to Have a Lovely Wedding.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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