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by Abigail Van Buren

Daughter's Rejection Adds to Terminally Ill Man's Pain

DEAR ABBY: I am married to the most wonderful husband and father a woman could ask for. He has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and may not have long to live. Ever since I met "John" he has searched for his daughter who was given up for adoption years ago. We recently found her. It took him some time to find the courage to send her a message, and when he did she rejected him.

"Patty" met her birth mother a few years ago and decided to have contact only with her. This has caused John so much pain that I sometimes cry myself to sleep at night. Our daughters were raised knowing they have an older sister. They also know we found Patty and she doesn't want to get to know us. I don't know how to explain what's happening without them thinking they're not good enough.

My husband was raised in foster homes. He had no family, so family is the most important thing in the world to us and he could die at any moment. I don't know what I can do to ease the sadness or make his daughter see that she may not have another chance. Abby, please help. -- BLINDSIDED IN BEND, ORE.

DEAR BLINDSIDED: I'll try. Write Patty a letter and tell her that her father loves her and searched for her for many years before he was able to locate her. Tell her that he is now terminally ill and would like to see her before he dies -- and that it could be healing for both of them. Of course, it is her right to refuse.

As to what you should tell your daughters, explain that Patty's reason for not wanting to meet them may be that her birth mother has poisoned her against the paternal branch of the family, and not to take it personally. It may very well be the truth.