Ask Amy

Thursday, August 19, 2010; 12:00 AM

DEAR AMY: Eighteen years ago I conceived my lovely daughter using an anonymous sperm donor.

We've always been very open about it with her.

She has known that when she turned 18, she could send a letter to her donor in care of the sperm bank.

She is eager to write that letter, and I have encouraged her to follow her heart.

But I am of course worried about the fact that her donor might not want to respond or that he may not be the man she's dreamed of all these years.

How do I help prepare her for silence and/or disappointment?

We've had such a good life together and she seems so happy.

She's about to start her senior year with a 4.3 GPA, a great boyfriend and loving friends and family.

Is there any way for me to diminish the pain of an unanswered letter? -- Proud Mom

DEAR PROUD: You can try to prepare your daughter for this experience by asking open-ended questions and listening to her responses, i.e.: "What are you hoping for?" ''What is your intent?" ''How do you imagine he might respond?" You should convey what all great parents tell their kids -- by word and deed: "I want you to have whatever you want in life. I will be here for you regardless of how this turns out." Having an unanswered letter would be tough. Having an answered letter could be tough too. However this turns out, it is bound to complicate your family's life.

You should promise yourself and your daughter that you will do your best to handle it honestly and with love.

I just saw the new, R-rated movie "The Kids Are All Right," which I recommend for you; it's about one family's experience when the kids seek out their donor "dad."

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