Dear Gayle,

I learned when I was 10 I was adopted. I have always felt loved by my adoptive family, but I felt different anyway. They say that males aren’t as likely to try to find their birth mother, but I wanted to meet mine and maybe even learn about my father. My family was supportive. My one sister gave me a hard time about it for a while like I was insulting Mom and Dad by looking, but she came around and now she’s okay about it if I really want to do it, but she still thinks it could be a mistake. I’ve been saving up to get DNA testing done. I hope that it leads me to somebody who knows something. I’ve spent most of my life feeling like an accident. If I find out for sure that I was one, I don’t know how that will affect me, but I’m probably going through with looking anyway. Do you think my sister could be right and it could make things worse?

— Almost Afraid to Look

Dear Afraid,

I know one thing for certain: you were not an accident or you would not be here. The circumstances of your birth may have seemed like an accident, but that is where that concept would end. We have 40 years of first-hand accounts from credible people who have experienced brief-death events that allowed them to come away with assurance that we are all of us here after agreeing to come and having an understanding at that time of why our presence alone was required to fulfill our individual purposes. Those having had that experience go on to say that they do not now know what those purposes are, but they are nonetheless convinced that those reasons are still in place anyway.

I am often reminded that we may have two sets of parents: the one who get us here, and the ones who need us the most. For some, their parents are the same for both. For others, the secondary set may be adoptive, a relative, or even a caring employee at an institution. Some among us find themselves with people who cannot seem to embrace an appreciation for our presence with them. It sounds to me as though you were blessed to have your second set be good people. I hope that, if you can find the first ones, they do not turn out to be a disappointment, but I hope more that you can start seeing yourself more realistically. Doing so should bring you a greater sense of peace about your birth.

Dear Gayle,

I passed a mangled road sign recently and said to my friend in the car that I didn’t understand why the road people don’t ever straighten it out. She told me that it was deliberately damaged as soon as it had first been put up, and they fixed it once and somebody mangled it all over again in a few days. I don’t know how anybody could even know the name of that road. Why do people do this stuff?

— Driver

Dear Driver,

Most such damage turns out to have been done by younger people. While I do not know for sure why they do this, I have some thoughts I can share about it. If our main clue is that the damage-doers are young, we might consider that the destruction is coming at the same time as the person is beginning to reluctantly destroy his or her old lifestyle in preparation for moving on into the adulthood that is coming in spite of any feelings of being unprepared for it, or just not wanting it to take over a current, more carefree lifestyle. Perhaps that is why much destructive behavior is traceable to people close to leaving high school. They know that their lives will soon change, and whether they consciously realize it or not, they are apprehensive about that potentially-less-desirable-looking unknown. The quiet frustration of this impending change may bring on a reaction of destructive behavior. My belief is that even the people doing the damage could not tell you with certainty why they feel compelled to do damage.

I can understand the workers at the department of roads in your area being reluctant to re-bend a sign that seems doomed to perpetual re-mangling, but if it has been a while since the last attempt to fix it, they might do well to try again, after all, the destroyers have to grow up and mature sometime. Perhaps this time, the sign will be allowed to stand.

[Gayle Wright is a mental health counselor doing area agency and hospital social work. Write to Gayle at: LV MY TAKE ON IT, 435 Broad Street, New Bethlehem, PA 16242, or send email to where your anonymity will be maintained in keeping with all current HIPAA standards.]

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