Ask Amy: Father and daughter disconnect over disclosure

Dear Amy: In 1964, I met my wife “Laura” and her infant baby “Beth.” (Laura had gotten pregnant with a married man.)

Laura and I were married, and I adopted Beth when she was 1 year old.

We raised Beth as my biological daughter and never heard a word from her actual biological father. We told Beth about her adoption when she was 8. Her mother invited Beth to ask questions, but Beth didn’t want to talk about it.

We had a very loving family and never had one problem. I always considered Beth to be my own child.

My wife recently died from breast cancer. Beth did a DNA test after my wife died and discovered that she has many biological relatives.

Her biological father died a few years ago. Beth has contacted her newfound biological family.

Beth went on social networks announcing her newfound relatives. It has hurt me.

I can understand her inquiry, but I am upset with her use of social media to announce the results. Many of my friends never knew that Beth was my adoptive daughter.

Am I wrong to be upset with her use of social media? I have let her know my feelings have been hurt, and I have not heard from her for several months.

— Jake from PA

Dear Jake: You are “Beth’s” father. You should continue to act like her loving father.

I’m going to assume that Beth pursued DNA testing after her mother’s death in part to reveal any genetic health issues she might have inherited.

She then quite naturally sought out other biological relatives in order to answer some of those questions she had never felt able to ask you.

I infer that — aside from that one disclosure — you were not open with her about her adoption during her childhood. You should be open with her now.

You are not necessarily “wrong” to be upset about your daughter’s use of social media to announce her newfound biological family members, but this sort of public sharing of what might seem like personal or private business has become almost the norm for people in her generation.

At this point you should work much harder to accept it.

Holding adoption as a private or secret matter was more common when you adopted your daughter, but people who joined families through adoption have the right to be open about their own history.

I hope you will continue to reach out. Express interest about her biological relatives; if she is happy, then you should work very hard to be happy for her.

Dear Amy: I am a 77-year-old, retired professional woman who has been widowed for three years following a very happy and very long marriage.

I am now ready to begin dating, but am unsure how to proceed.

When I was young, the lady never did the asking.

I’m not sure if that is still the protocol or whether it is acceptable and expected for me to call a gentleman I know to be single and ask for a date.

And if I do that, do I pay for the date, or is splitting the check the norm?

— Hoping for Companionship

Dear Hoping: Yes — it is completely acceptable and expected for a woman to take the initiative and ask a man out.

Good first dates should be simple, inexpensive, and designed for the ease of conversation. A walk in the park followed by coffee, a visit to your local museum, botanical garden or historical society followed by coffee or a drink — chose something nearby and easy.

The person initiating the date should offer to pick up the entire check, but splitting the check is the norm — although a man in your generation might want to pick up the check, even if you’ve invited him out.

Which reminds me of a moment from a classic movie about adult dating, “Sleepless in Seattle,” that these days if a man offers to pick up the check, women will throw a parade for you.

Get out there! And good luck.

Dear Amy: “Worried Friend” noted that friends were creating a basement unit without the proper permits, with an ultimate goal to upgrade the house to sell.

Banks generally will not make a mortgage loan to a buyer if a house has unpermitted work.

The seller could be forced to rip out and redo the work in order to sell.

Better to do it right first time.

— Experienced

Dear Experienced: Great point. Thank you.