DR. WALLACE: I'm writing in response to the 18-year-old girl who just found out she was pregnant. Both her mother and her boyfriend were encouraging her to get an abortion. She really was against this idea, but she was unsure she could care for her baby as an unwed mother.
That was exactly the situation I was in a couple of years ago. I want to share my safe and sane solution. I found out I was pregnant three months before I was to graduate from high school. I knew my parents would be hurt and upset when they found out, so I went to my school guidance counselor and together we decided to tell my parents. At first they were shocked, but soon they helped me with their love and support.
After a lot of soul-searching and discussion with my parents and my counselor, I decided to give my baby to a loving couple to adopt. Many mothers think they could never give their baby away to a stranger, but adoption procedures are different now than they used to be. The agency I worked with gave me profiles of childless couples who were hoping to adopt a baby. After reviewing all the profiles, I chose the parents who would raise my child. We did not meet personally, but we corresponded by mail. Soon I felt I had known them for a long time.
Then I was able to join a support group that met once a month. Several pregnant girls who were going to place their babies in adoptive homes met each month with counselors, and together we discussed our feelings about adoption. Talking with other girls who were in the same situation was a great opportunity for all of us to share and support each other in a positive way.
I gave birth to a daughter in December 2010, and on that day, I was allowed to spend as much time with my daughter as I wanted to. So I invited my parents, grandparents and my best friend to come to the hospital to see my beautiful baby girl. For one day, I was a proud and happy mother.
After signing legal papers, I had a chance to speak with the adoptive parents by phone. It was good to hear their voices and to know how excited they were about their new baby girl. A couple of months later, they sent me a letter and enclosed a picture of my daughter in a pretty little dress. We agreed to keep in touch each Christmas with pictures and notes on her progress. I was sure I had made a good decision. And I'm now looking forward to her 18th birthday when I will get the opportunity to meet her again!
I have moved on with my life and now have a full-time job. I'm attending college part time and hope to go into teaching. Please print my letter because I would like the girl who wrote to you in the same situation to know that she has another option. — Laurie, Sarasota, Florida
LAURIE: Thank you for sharing your experience. It will bring comfort to other girls who need to make this very important decision.
DISASTER IS CERTAIN
DR. WALLACE: I am well aware that cocaine is an addictive, self-destructing drug, but I'm not positive what the destruction is besides death due to an overdose or driving an automobile while high. What other harm does cocaine cause to the mind and body? I'm dating a guy who recently started cocaine, but he is not addicted. He can control how often he uses the drug. — Margo, Baltimore
MARGO: Cocaine and crack cocaine have been linked with paranoia and other symptoms such as insomnia, depression, seizures, heart attacks, strokes, loss of appetite, birth defects, lung infections, loss of sense of smell and skin problems. People who use cocaine for the first few times feel like they are in control. It's like steering the ship Titanic through the North Atlantic iceberg fields. It's just a matter of time — disaster is certain.
Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.