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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter's Weight Gain Is Heavy Burden for Dad

DEAR ABBY: "Anxious Daughter in New England" wrote that she had just discovered that her mother -- who is terminally ill with only weeks to live -- had placed a baby for adoption many years ago. She said that she felt an "urgent need" to locate that child before her mother dies, so they could meet. She said that her mother has periods of confusion but is lucid "some of the time," and family members are divided about whether a reunion would be good for her. "Daughter" asked for your opinion.

You advised her to "let go of the fantasy." What an insensitive response! I cannot fathom why you would respond that way to someone who is trying to give her mother closure.

Granted, she should consult the doctor regarding the possible consequences. But even if it isn't a good idea for the mother to have this, it IS important for that woman to know her sibling.

Please choose your responses with a more sensitive outlook, especially with such an emotional issue. -- PRESIDENT OF THE NEW YORK STATEWIDE ADOPTION REFORM

DEAR PRESIDENT: I am not against a reunion of the siblings. My concern was literally for the life of the mother -- the shock could kill the poor woman. It's significant that when the writer's mother was well, she had NOT expressed a desire to find the "secret" child she had placed for adoption. That's why I said, "Let go of the fantasy." While the majority of reunions are happy ones, I hear from people who tell me that not all are. I'm sorry if you and others were offended.