Baby’s birth sparks in­ter­est in ab­sen­tee fa­ther’s fam­ily

The Washington Times Daily - - LIFE - ABI­GAIL VAN BUREN Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. UNIVER­SAL UCLICK

DEAR ABBY: My twin sis­ter and I were raised by a sin­gle mom. Be­cause Mom re­ceived wel­fare ben­e­fits, she was re­quired to list “po­ten­tial” fa­thers in or­der to re­ceive aid. Af­ter a time, the state re­quired pa­ter­nity tests be given to the men she had listed, so we had no idea who our bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther was un­til we were 16.

Although pa­ter­nity was proven, he never at­tempted to con­tact us. I re­cently learned that he died sev­eral years ago at a rel­a­tively young age (mid-50s). I also dis­cov­ered that he had at least two other chil­dren, one of whom I was able to lo­cate on Face­book.

I don’t want to cause any un­due dis­tress by reach­ing out to them. How­ever, I’m cu­ri­ous about any his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion they could pro­vide, par­tic­u­larly med­i­cal or hered­i­tary is­sues I should know about. All of a sud­den I have this over­whelm­ing need for in­for­ma­tion, es­pe­cially now that I have a child.

Should I try and con­tact my half-sib­lings, or let it go and hope there’s noth­ing there to find out? I don’t want to hurt any­one, but I feel I just have to know. — NEEDS TO KNOW

DEAR NEEDS TO KNOW: The rev­e­la­tion that you and your sis­ter ex­ist may come as a shock to your half-sib­lings, so be pre­pared. Ide­ally, the way to go about ask­ing for the in­for­ma­tion you’re seek­ing would be through an in­ter­me­di­ary such as a lawyer. How­ever, if you can’t af­ford one, then write a let­ter ex­plain­ing who you are and that you are a par­ent and would like any in­for­ma­tion that can be pro­vided about any ge­netic ill­nesses that run in your fa­ther’s side of the fam­ily, in­clud­ing his cause of death. While you’re at it, be sure to men­tion that you are not try­ing to in­trude — only to find in­for­ma­tion that may be per­ti­nent to you, your twin sis­ter and your child.

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