DEAR ABBY: I was adopted at 6 weeks old. My parents adopted my sister two years later. They weren’t very good parents — not abusive, but with no understanding of how to treat children. Ten years later they had a biological son, who became the center of their world, and I was pretty much left alone at a young age to raise myself.
Thirty years ago, I found my birth mother. At first she denied it, and then she acknowledged it. In a letter she wrote a few days later, she said she had wondered for 40 years what she’d do if the day came when she had to face up to what she did. She then told me never to contact her or her family again.
A few years later, against her wishes, I contacted and met her two sons. At the time, I believed we were half-brothers. She died eight years ago. Through extensive research, I have since learned who my father was. It turns out he was the father of all three of her sons!
My “brothers” resemble me, and our lives are similar. They know how to contact me, but haven’t. I think they are following our mother’s wishes. I have DNA proof we are full brothers, but I don’t think they know. Should I contact them and tell them, or let the sleeping dog lie? — ANOTHER BROTHER IN THE SOUTH
DEAR BROTHER: It’s likely that when you were born, your parents could not support and raise you, which is sad. Having made contact with your siblings, I think it’s time to let sleeping dogs lie. They have made clear that although there is a biological tie, they are not interested in a closer relationship. Trying to force one won’t bring you the sense of belonging you are searching for. I have mentioned before the concept of “chosen” families people build when they are estranged from their relatives by birth. I urge you to look in that direction.
DEAR ABBY: My beloved passed away 20 months ago. I did not have a service. Recently, a close family friend went to visit the burial site and place flowers. Our plaque has his date of birth and date of “departure.” This friend then posted a photo of it to Facebook and shared it with everyone on her “friends” list. Some of them I don’t know, and I was more than a bit shocked seeing the picture. (I found it scrolling on my FB page.)
I realize Facebook is public, but am I wrong in thinking she shouldn’t have posted and shared it without asking permission? Am I a relic? I found it disrespectful. — MISSING HIM IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR MISSING: I am sorry for the loss of your loved one and for your pain. The friend visited his grave because she cared for him and wanted to pay her respects. Because the visit was meaningful to her, she posted about it on FB. It’s not unusual for people to post about what they are doing. I see nothing disrespectful about it, nor do I think permission needed to be sought. And no, you are not a “relic”; you are a woman who is deeply grieving the loss of her mate, and I respect that.
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 DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.