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Correspondents praised singer Paula Abdul‘s courage in coming forward to tell of her battle with bulimia (PEOPLE, June 19). Many expressed hope that her story will inspire others who are fighting this disease. On another issue, a letter from Karen E. Hammond incensed many adoptees and birth mothers. All disagreed with her view that adopted children are “scarred for life due to the fact that our birth parents rejected us.”

As a Paula Abdul fan from her Laker girl days, I find it heartening that she is facing her problem of bulimia and dealing with it like the trooper she has always seemed to be. Funny thing is, I spent most of the early ’90s thinking, “Hmra, nice-looking girl, very talented, but she could stand to put on a couple of pounds.”

KEN SMITH, Baton Rouge

I am writing to acknowledge how one of your articles made me see myself in a different light in regards to weight and how society views people like myself. I am 5′ and 125 lbs. I feel that I look heavy for my frame, but I am happy with the way I look. After reading the article on Paula Abdul, I saw that we all feel this discontentment, no matter how society may view us as a whole. Thank you for writing something that has always been close to my heart but never left my lips.


Norwalk, Conn.


As a 42-year-old “adult adoptee,” I am offended by the letter from Karen Hammond. Not all adopted children are scarred for life because they feel their birth parents rejected them. There are many circumstances why the birth parents may have given up the baby for adoption. My adoptive parents let me know that I was chosen. My parents are both dead now, and I have no desire to search out my birth parents either now or in the future. I was not rejected, I was wanted.

LINDA CARLYLE, Albuquerque

Being a birth parent who gave up a son at 15, it pains me to think that adoptees feel rejected by their birth parents. I certainly did not reject my son. I love him with all my heart. What I did reject was the life my son would have had being brought up by a single, uneducated 15-year-old mother on welfare. Although I respect the fact that Karen Hammond’s pain is real, she must respect the fact that giving up a baby for adoption is about love and selflessness, not rejection.


I am adopted and have never been so outraged. Ms. Hammond wrote, “In actuality, all of us adoptees are scarred for life due to the fact that our birth parents rejected us.” Karen, what gives you the right to speak for me? I have never in my life felt rejected by my birth parents. As a matter of fact, I would like to thank them for loving me enough to give me to the most loving family I could ever have asked for.

SHARLA L. MARTIN, Huntsville, Ala.


The Insider item regarding Melissa Etheridge’s birthday party proved that Mitchell Fink couldn’t be more on the outside—at least where this particular event is concerned. The “tattoo artist” was a face painter; yes, Julie Cypher took her shirt off and danced—with a black bra underneath; and “a couple of dozen women following suit” were really four women and two men. Not as titillating as your version, but the truth nonetheless.



I take great personal offense at PEOPLE’S use of the term “squaw” in the caption of the review of Pocahontas. “Squaw” has been used as a term of derision, disdain and contempt since the first contact between Europeans and the indigenous peoples of North America. It is a painful and degrading word to all First Nations women. I am a Cree woman—in my language, Nehiyo iskwew. I am not and never have been a “squaw.”