DEAR ABBY: I recently had major surgery. After the operation, my surgeon advised me that I had a genetic defect which had complicated the procedure. He advised me to notify my children so they could be checked for it.
I notified my four children and they all have a similar problem. Here is my dilemma:
When I was in college, I foolishly had an affair with an older man and became pregnant. I couldn't support a child at that time, so I chose to give my son up for adoption. Because of my genetic defect, I decided to attempt to locate this child to let him know about it. I hired a private detective who soon located him, but his adoptive mother had told him I died shortly after he was born.
When I married him 30 years ago, my husband knew I'd had a child, but the subject has been taboo ever since our wedding. None of my children know they have a half-brother.
Should I contact my son even though he thinks his birth mother is dead? I'm sure it would be upsetting to learn that his adoptive mother lied to him. He may need to know about the problem that runs in our family. Please advise me. -- TORN IN TOLEDO
DEAR TORN: Since the information could affect your son's health, it's important that he know about your medical history. You do not have to meet with him to give him the information. Ask your surgeon to write a letter to your son which covers the family medical history.
Your son will probably be shocked to learn that his adoptive mother lied, but he may want to get in touch with you. Many adoptees feel the need to meet their birth parents in order to feel "complete." Experts have told me that the vast majority of birth parents and children who have been reunited were gratified with the outcome.