DEAR ABBY: I have had sole custody of my three children from a previous marriage for the past 10 years. Their mother, "Nadine," has mental health issues that prevent her from being a competent parent. She has let them down countless times and has caused emotional scars. As a result, the children have limited contact with Nadine, even though she lives nearby.
Our oldest daughter, "Holly," who is now 22, has chosen not to speak to her mom for more than a year. I believe part of Nadine's mental troubles stem from a secret she has been keeping. I have suspected for years that Holly is not my biological daughter. And if she's not, I know the identity of her biological father.
Do I tell Holly? Do I get a paternity test to find out for sure? My concern is for Holly. Does she have the right to know -- especially for understanding her genetic and medical history? I am not worried about our relationship. I love her, and we have a strong father/daughter bond that will not be affected by DNA. -- HOLLY'S DAD, IRMO, S.C.
DEAR DAD: For the reason you have stated, the test should be done. For one thing, Holly may turn out to be your daughter after all, and your suspicions would be put to rest. For another, if there are medical issues that run in her biological father's family, she should absolutely know what they are.