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by Abigail Van Buren

Girl's Maternal Grandparents Were Never Told of Her Birth

DEAR ABBY: My 7-year-old granddaughter, "Hannah," is the light of my life. Her mother walked out on her when she was 2, and her mother's parents don't know she exists. Her mother hid her pregnancy and delivery, and the child has lived with us since birth.

My heart has always broken for her maternal grandparents. I could not imagine not knowing Hannah and missing out on her life. I have always wanted to send them pictures or even introduce her to them (they don't live far from us). My husband says it's not our place, and we run the risk of them trying to get some kind of custody.

Currently, my son and Hannah's mother share legal custody, but he has full physical custody. There has been no communication from her mother in at least five years.

Hannah is starting to ask questions about her mother, and we have always been truthful with her. It will not be long before she puts things together and realizes she has another set of grandparents. Should we inform them about their grandchild? -- HOLDING A SECRET IN THE EAST

DEAR HOLDING: Because your son has full physical custody of Hannah, tell him about your concerns. Hannah's maternal grandparents have been in the dark for so long, the news of her existence is bound to be a bombshell. There's a reason why their daughter didn't want them to know about her, and as you pointed out, there could be legal ramifications. Because Hannah is now asking questions about her mother, her father should prepare to answer them for her. However well-intentioned you may be, this matter is for your son to deal with, not you.

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