Dear Abby: Baby’s birth sparks interest in absentee father’s family

Dear Abby: My twin sister and I were raised by a single mom. Because Mom received welfare benefits, she was required to list “potential” fathers in order to receive aid. After a time, the state required paternity tests be given to the men she had listed, so we had no idea who our biological father was until we were 16.

Although paternity was proven, he never attempted to contact us. I recently learned that he died several years ago at a relatively young age (mid-50s). I also discovered that he had at least two other children, one of whom I was able to locate on Facebook.

I don’t want to cause any undue distress by reaching out to them. However, I’m curious about any historical information they could provide, particularly medical or hereditary issues I should know about. All of a sudden I have this overwhelming need for information, especially now that I have a child.

Should I try and contact my half-siblings, or let it go and hope there’s nothing there to find out? I don’t want to hurt anyone, but I feel I just have to know. – Needs to Know

Dear Needs to Know: The revelation that you and your sister exist may come as a shock to your half-siblings, so be prepared. Ideally, the way to go about asking for the information you’re seeking would be through an intermediary such as a lawyer. However, if you can’t afford one, then write a letter explaining who you are and that you are a parent and would like any information that can be provided about any genetic illnesses that run in your father’s side of the family, including his cause of death. While you’re at it, be sure to mention that you are only trying to find information that may be pertinent to you and your child.

Dear Abby: I’m 16, and I have a crush on a guy who is 23. He’s very shy and he didn’t make the first move, but now we flirt a lot. I don’t know what to think because we met at his work, and he’s older than I am. What do you think about the situation? If he kisses me, what should I think? If he doesn’t make a move, what should I do? – Confused

Dear Confused: My advice is to forget about it. If he kisses you, consider the consequences if your parents found out what’s been going on. It could cost this man his job. He may be very nice, but he is so much older and more experienced than you are.

There could be criminal penalties and possibly jail time for him if he’s foolish enough to pursue you.