Q: My parents are taking me camping for a week. I’m really not an outdoor person. I like to look at art and draw. Why can’t they understand that I’m just not like them?

A: They probably do see that you are different, but they still want to spend their vacation time with you. Maybe they aren’t trying to drag you to do something you hate, but instead want to teach you about things they are passionate about. It’s good to express yourself through outlets you enjoy, but it’s also beneficial to see things from other perspectives. Nature can be artistic. Make sure to pack your camera and sketch pad when you go. Capture something beautiful and get inspired. Most importantly, remember it’s not about where you are, but who you’re with.

Q: My mom and dad told me when I was younger that I was adopted from a teenage mother who wasn’t able to care for me. I recently found out that is not true. My mother was an adult, and she had me after having an affair. Why would they lie to me?

A: I am sure they didn’t do it to hurt you. Sometimes even with the best intentions, parents do the wrong thing. More likely the story they told you sounded more reasonable to them. Explain to them that who and where you came from is important to you. Tell them you appreciate them trying to protect you, in the future you would like their complete honesty.

Q: I just turned 17 and have been thinking about looking for my birth family when I am old enough. My parents say they support my decision, but I can tell it bothers them. What should I do?

A: You have to follow your heart. If you think you want to search, then you should. The dynamic between you and your parents may be a little awkward at first, but it seems like they will be there for you no matter what. I think mostly they are nervous and don’t want to lose you. My reunion didn’t happen until I was 34. My bio dad had already passed away. I wish I had known that I wanted to search when I was your age. Go for it before it’s too late.

Q: I am biracial, but my mom keeps marking caucasian on all my paperwork. I’m not sure if she is trying to hide that I am mixed or if she really just doesn’t see me as different. How do I politely make her stop?

A: You need to explain to her that your heritage is a large part of who you are. Remind her that even though she feels and treats you like her own child, you are not actually blood related. Those boxes describe you and you should be able to mark them accurately. Just because you aren’t the same race as your parents it doesn’t make you less family.

Q: I am in an open adoption, and I get to see my bio mom a few times a year. It’s cool to know my background and family history, but I don’t understand. She is a really nice lady and her life seems good. Why didn’t she keep me?

A: I can’t imagine a harder thing in this world than watching another person raise your child. Children get placed in adoption for a multitude of reasons. Sometimes the mother isn’t financially or emotionally in a place that is good for raising a child. I’m sure she put much thought into her decision and did what she thought was the best for you. Her current situation may be completely different from when she had you. Be happy that she has her life together and is able to be a part of yours. You are blessed to be around so many people who love you.