KATHY MITCHELL AND MARCY SUGAR \ Annie's Mailbox She would like to find biological father
Dear Annie: I'm a 13-year-old girl who needs your advice. I have never known my biological father, but my stepfather has been there for me ever since I was born. I consider him my father and call him "Dad," even though my parents are now divorced.
Dad occasionally picks us up from Mom's to go out. Lately, however, he's been coming by just to get my younger brother. I understand. That's his real son. But it bothers my mom a lot, and she recently asked me if I would like to find my biological father. I love my dad so much, but I would like to find my real father. However, if I try to locate him, I'm afraid it would hurt Dad's feelings. Please help me. Searching for Answers
Dear Searching: You sound very mature for your age, but we sense it also bothers you that Dad comes by "just to get your younger brother." The next time he does this, you ought to tell him how you feel. He needs to know.
Meanwhile, it's OK to search for your biological father. Don't worry about hurting Dad's feelings. He'll be OK with it. But be cautious. You may have fantasies about your biological father that are unrealistic. Try not to expect too much.
Dear Annie: Millions of children are heading back to school this fall without health insurance coverage. Uninsured children are more likely to go without eye exams and important annual checkups and are less likely to receive care for common childhood illnesses. If something were to seriously affect their health, the medical costs could quickly plunge their families into bankruptcy.
Covering Kids & amp; Families is a national program sponsored by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that connects these children with low-cost and free health insurance. These programs are available in every state and the District of Columbia. Even though more than 8.5 million children in the United States are currently uninsured, most of them could actually be covered at little or no cost to their parents through the government-funded State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) or Medicaid.
Unfortunately, many parents of uninsured children do not know about these programs. Many others mistakenly believe that if they work, their children are not eligible. Although eligibility varies by state, a family of four earning up to $37,000 a year or more may qualify for low-cost or free children's health care coverage.
Parents can call (877) KIDS-NOW (877-543-7669) toll-free (coveringkidsandfamilies.org) to find out if their children qualify. Together I know we can help connect millions of uninsured children to the health care coverage they need. Thank you for your help. Sarah Shuptrine, Director, Covering Kids & amp; Families, Columbia, S.C.
Dear Sarah Shuptrine: We are happy once again to mention Covering Kids & amp; Families. Readers, if your children do not have health-care coverage, please call today to find out if you are eligible.
Dear Annie: I am planning to register at various stores for our wedding. My fiance believes he should be able to register at Home Depot for assorted tools and gardening supplies. I say that it is not acceptable.
Is this a new trend where men are now registering for power tools? We agreed to abide by your opinion. Confused in California
Dear Confused: Yes, it is a new trend. Traditionally, registering allows the bride to assist guests in selecting gifts to help set up her new home. There's no reason why the tradition can't include the groom as well. We say it's OK.
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