Join the debate. Vote Now on the Dear Abby Poll of the week.

by Abigail Van Buren

Girl Should Choose Whether To Learn More About A Dark Past

DEAR ABBY: I'm in a quandary. Many years ago, we rescued a precious 4-year-old and her newborn brother from a horrific living situation and tried to adopt them. After more than a year and 16 contentious court hearings, we were devastated when the court returned them to their mother. I'm sure they have no idea how hard we fought for them, and I still love them dearly and keep tabs on them as best I can.

The girl is now 18, and I am retiring and will be moving away. I have a bin of baby things, school mementos, etc. for each of them that I've kept all these years, and which I will return to them. However, I also have the many photographs that documented their indescribable living conditions, the police reports, the court documents, etc. I strongly feel these should be destroyed, because to see and read this graphic information would be far too traumatic and would serve no good purpose. What do you think? Is it right to withhold this from them? -- HOLDING ON IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR HOLDING ON: I don't believe in withholding information, so before you do, I think you should tell the young woman what you have and let her make the final decision about what should be done with it.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Abuse | Teens