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Dear Abby 1/31
Aunt weighs telling niece the facts of her adoption
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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 on this matter? -- 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.
    DEAR ABBY: Is it appropriate for my husband's mother to take him alone to dinner to celebrate his birthday? We have been married for 13 years and have two children, yet she did not include the rest of us. My husband thinks it's because she can't afford dinner for all of us, but I think she should then just order a pizza and have us to her house.
    This is the third or fourth time she has invited him to dinner without including us, and I am hurt that I am excluded. Should I not take this personally? -- LEFT OUT ON THE LEFT COAST
    DEAR LEFT OUT: If his mother wants alone time with her son, she could invite him to join her for lunch that day so they could talk privately. As it stands, I agree, you are being excluded  — and I'm curious about why your husband would go along with it.
    DEAR ABBY: We moved to a small (six-house) cul-de-sac last October, and a few weeks later we were outside raking leaves. Two of our neighbors were outside as well, and no one introduced themselves or even waved.
    We left a very friendly subdivision and were hoping to find the same in our new neighborhood. We are just looking for a smile, and someone to watch our house if we're out of town, etc. We'd be happy to return the favor.
    Any advice for this new neighbor? When we bought the house we were told that all the neighbors were friendly and about our age. -- UNHAPPY IN THE CUL-DE-SAC
    DEAR UNHAPPY: Please do not make a snap decision about your new neighbors. The "natives" may, indeed, be friendly. They may not, however, be as outgoing as your former neighbors were.
    My advice is to go to each of them, introduce yourself, perhaps invite them over for coffee, and let them get to know you. Relationships take time to build, and not everyone may respond as you wish, but I'm betting some of them will. Hold a good thought.
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