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by Abigail Van Buren

Wife Frets Her House Doesn't Measure Up in Tony Suburb

DEAR ABBY: I met "Greta" when I was in the Army Reserves. We fell in love, despite the fact that her parents disapproved of me. I come from a working-class background and Greta's family was considerably more well-off. We didn't care -- we wanted a future together.

Greta told me she had broken up with her former boyfriend because he was domineering. She assured me the relationship was over, and I believed her.

Shortly before I was discharged, Greta told me she was carrying my baby. I left for home with plans to send for her and marry her before our child was born. I lined up a job and a place to live. Several months later, Greta phoned to say she had had a baby girl. She said her parents had made her give our daughter up for adoption and asked me never to contact her again.

I honored her wishes, but I worried for years about Greta and our child. Eventually I married and had two daughters and a son. Five years ago, with the help of my children who are technologically savvy, we located my lost daughter, "Lily," and welcomed her into the family.

To cement our relationship, I had a paternity test performed recently and was shocked to learn I am NOT Lily's father. Greta still insists that I am, but DNA doesn't lie. Greta put my name on Lily's birth certificate. Lily blames herself for this mess, which is unfounded, and now says it's too painful to see me and my family again. I am so sorry for Lily and her children, who thought they were my grandchildren. What can we do? -- CRUSHED IN NEW YORK

DEAR CRUSHED: Write Lily and tell her that you were overjoyed when you found her, and that blood-related or not, you will always love her and her children. Perhaps if she reads it she will realize that in some cases we build families not just from DNA, but also from mutual need and caring. That's all you can do for now.