DEAR AMY: My nephew donated his sperm to two lesbian friends so they could have a child. Since then, my nephew considers this little girl his, and my older sister believes the child is her granddaughter! The two mothers allow my nephew and my older sister to see this child whenever they want.
My younger sister and I are cordial to all of the parties involved but do not recognize this little girl as family, only as a distant friend. My older sister cannot understand why we do not feel the same way she does and is rather upset at us.
My younger sister and I think this is not normal and think, in my sister’s mind, this may be the only “grandchild” she may have. My nephew is an alcoholic and currently in prison for DUI. Are we wrong in our thinking, or has our older sister gone off the deep end? -- John in Arizona
DEAR JOHN: If enveloping a child in familial love is “going off the deep end,” then I have this to say: Last one into the deep end of this (gene) pool is a rotten egg. You should take a dip and see how it feels.
First of all, the child is biologically related to all of you. Her moms are open to all of you and are encouraging these family relationships. And any child with lots of grandparents, aunties and uncles (actual or otherwise) is a lucky child.
You and your younger sister have the right to reject this relationship, but you two could be the ones who are really missing out.
DEAR AMY: About three years ago my daughter and her husband split, forcing her and our three grandchildren into an apartment. I agreed to take their two cats on a temporary basis because the apartment won’t allow pets. I have never liked cats.
My daughter is the type of person who deals with her problems by ignoring them, thinking they’ll magically go away.
These cats are good cats and have grown on me. I spend time with them, play with them and am responsible for them. However, I hate the cat hair all over my house, cleaning up after them and the fact that they’ve wrecked the carpet on my steps by clawing at it — all reasons I never wanted cats in the first place.
We are about to begin a house renovation. I have asked my daughter to try to find these guys a new home, but instead she says, “How are you going to explain it to the grandkids that you got rid of their pets?”
Now I’m just angry. I don’t like the idea of taking them to a shelter, but I’m thinking of putting an ad on Craigslist. What’s your advice? -- Fed Up
DEAR FED: Your daughter has proved her own axiom: She has ignored her problem (the cats) long enough, and now they are going away.
You were kind to take in these cats, and it would be best if you now considered that they don’t belong to your daughter or the kids — they are yours. You are renovating your house anyway, so why not mitigate some of the issues that bother you the most? Most troublesome cat behavior can be corrected by altering their environment.
Before you give up on these two, read “Starting From Scratch: How to Correct Behavior Problems in Your Adult Cat,” by feline behaviorist Pam Johnson-Bennett (2007, Penguin).
If you insist on giving these cats away, make sure they go together! Putting a notice on Facebook with a cute picture might yield the best result. This way your circle of friends and associates can help to place them in a great home.
DEAR AMY: “Want to be Honest” was ready to shock his wife of 30 years (and mother of his kids) by telling her he is gay. But why do this now? Why didn’t you tell him to honor his marriage vows? -- Upset Reader
DEAR UPSET: “Wanting” never mentioned leaving his marriage — only wanting to disclose his sexuality. And once she knows the truth, his wife might not want to honor her marriage vows. She should be told.