Dear Abby: My sister, "Elizabeth," died recently. She had adopted a baby at birth and insisted that the child not be told that she was adopted.
The "child" is now in her 50s, and we think that for years she may have suspected that she was adopted because she's different in appearance and temperament from other family members.
On the off chance that she has siblings, would it be wise to inform her at this late date of her adoption? I think the reason Elizabeth didn't want her to know was that she was afraid of losing her daughter's affections. I did not agree with that decision, but I honored it while my sister was alive. What are your thoughts? – Staying Mute in New Jersey
Dear Staying Mute: Remain mute no longer. Your niece has a right to know her personal history. Adoption stopped being considered a deep, dark secret decades ago. I am sure she will have mixed feelings knowing this was kept from her for so long – but it's important you share with her any and all information you have so that she can initiate a search if she wishes. At the least, she should know if there is a genetic predisposition to any illnesses in her background.