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by Abigail Van Buren

Husband Fathers a Child During Couple's Separation

DEAR ABBY: When I was 19, I lost custody of my three children to the state. They were adopted out, and I have had no contact since. Over the years I tried to find them without success. Recently, I found their names and addresses using to search their birth records. My son, the oldest, is 18 now, but his sisters are only 15 and 16.

I want to write a letter to the adoptive mother, let her know my side of the story and offer to open a line of communication for her and the kids. Would that be selfish? What's the right thing to do here?

I was very young and stupid when I lost my children. I'm now in my 30s and much wiser. I have lived with this heartbreak for 15 years. I don't want to disrupt their lives, but I do want them to have my contact information if they would like to have it. I know this situation is delicate. I desperately want to avoid doing the wrong thing. Please advise. -- HEARTBROKEN IN FLORIDA

DEAR HEARTBROKEN: Your instincts are on target. The best way to accomplish what you have in mind would be to write to the adoptive mother and allow her to decide what to do with the information you give her. Most adopted children at some point want to know who their birth parents were, if only so they can get a complete medical history.

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens