DEAR ABBY: My biological father left soon after I was born. Mom spent her life in orphanages and foster homes, so she knows nothing about her ancestry, genetics or family information.
I was always curious about where I came from, so finally, at the age of 26, I decided to do something about it. Mom had always told me about "Donny," who she said was my father. I was able to track him down and made contact. At first he denied knowing Mom, then he changed his story. Because he was married and had a family, the matter was dropped.
Four years passed and I contacted Donny again. This time, I offered to meet him on his terms to take a paternity test. He called my mother a liar and said she had been promiscuous. It made me angry because Mom was open with me about him and we have always had a close relationship. The paternity test came back and -- guess what? Donny is not my father! I feel like a fool for pursuing him for nothing.
Mom acted surprised and now refuses to talk about it. I want to know my background, and it's eating away at me that I was told Donny was a deadbeat father and I was lied to for so long. Am I doomed to never know my ancestry? -- MAN WITH NO PAST
DEAR MAN WITH NO PAST: That's a possibility, and for that you have my sympathy. When someone clams up the way your mother has, it may be because the person is too ashamed to admit the truth -- which may be that she does not know who fathered you. There may be reasons why your mother behaved the way she did, having grown up not knowing who her parents were and in a series of foster homes. She may have simply been looking for someone to love her. One thing is certain, however. She raised you to be the man you are today and did the best she could, so please try to forgive her for the deception.