chicago tribune genealogy video

“Ask Amy” Got It Right

If I’m going to be quick to criticize when warranted, I also need to be quick to commend when warranted.

Ask Amy on DNA and a Found Sibling

A letter writer  had undergone DNA testing and found a surprise sibling. He asked syndicated columnist Amy Dickinson if contact should be pursued. Rather than winging in (I’m looking at you, Dear Abby) Amy consulted someone with knowledge and experience about DNA testing and adoption reunion, Richard Hill (author of Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA).

Richard offered 3 points in favor of reaching out to a sibling, despite the unknowns and possible complications.

1. Knowing the truth is better in the long run.

2. Events that happened decades ago are merely history, and not scandal (especially true when the parents are deceased).

3. No matter what anyone thinks about the actions of the parents, the siblings did nothing wrong.

Amy closes her response with a message of cautious optimism. “I hope this inspires you to reach out respectfully, but to also keep your relational expectations in check.”

Video Short: “The Quick History of DNA Testing”

Atop Ask Amy’s Q&A, the Chicago Tribune includes this short video clip. “The study of family history first became popular among the elite class in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.” (Click image for the 47 second video at the Chicago Tribune).

ask amy chicago tribune genealogy video

No Wonder

I tagged Amy Dickinson when I curated her column (the Boston Globe version) on Facebook. This is how I discovered she has “two adopted daughters and many other adopted family members and so I have some – but not total – insight.”

Amy Dickinson succeeded Ann Landers as the Chicago Tribune‘s advice columnist in 2003. She is the author of  The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Story of Surprising Second Chances (2009) and Strangers Tend to Tell Me Things: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Coming Home (2017).

For unsyndicated advice about adoption, check out these Q&As.


Lori Holden's book coverLori Holden, mom of a teen daughter and a teen son, blogs from Denver. Her book, The Open-Hearted Way to Open Adoption: Helping Your Child Grow Up Whole, is available through your favorite online bookseller and makes a thoughtful anytime gift for the adoptive families in your life.

2 thoughts on ““Ask Amy” Got It Right”

  1. So interesting! I’ve been avoiding Ask Amy for years because I was so cranky from one of her answers years ago. Maybe I should give her a try again? I usually only read Carolyn Hax.

  2. Finally!!!! Adoption, loss and infertility topics are becoming more common in the advice column community. Far too often, the columnists wing it and fail miserably. It’s refreshing to finally see a columnist who is not only taking this seriously (Dear Prudence has been doing better) but also bringing in an expert.

    Thanks for posting about this. May Dear Amy get such a flood of positive response that the others finally clue in.

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