Adopted brother has never been told about his origin

My brother was adopted at birth through an agency, but he was never told.

Dear Abby: My brother was adopted at birth through an agency, but he was never told. He’s in his mid-50s now. We have no other siblings. Our parents never felt my brother was emotionally strong enough to accept the news of his adoption. Our father passed on years ago, and our mother is now elderly.

From a health care point of view, I think my brother should know, but I don’t feel I have the right to tell him while Mom is living (she is adamant that he must not know, especially after so long). It seems wrong, however, to tell him after our parents are both dead and they can’t explain anything to him, and it may be too late for him to contact his birth parents. I’m sure he will be very angry, and I would prefer to keep the secret. Should I tell him he is adopted after our mother passes away?

In a Quandary

Dear Quandary: No, you should tell him NOW — while it may be possible for him to get the answers to the many questions he is sure to have from his mother.

Dear Abby: Many households no longer use landlines and rely on cellphones. It could save someone’s life if they would enter the phone number of the sheriff’s office of the county in which they reside to ensure there’s a backup to the frequently overloaded 911 system.

This is important, especially if you have two homes. However, it’s also a good idea for people who own a single residence. In rural areas, it can take a long time to locate someone calling from a cellphone, which is no replacement for a landline in an emergency.

Be Prepared

Dear Prepared: Thank you for the suggestion. Many people forget that cellphones — unlike landlines — are not connected to a network from which their location will automatically appear on a screen when they call an emergency number. With cellphones, the caller must VERBALLY give the dispatcher the location of the emergency.

Dear Abby: I want to let go of all past hurts, disappointments and bad things that have happened. I want them gone from my life. I don’t want to walk around angry and bitter all the time, but I am taken all the way back to the original feelings when they are triggered. I want to truly forgive, whether it’s myself, others or even God. Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Trying to Let It Go

Dear Trying: If you’re asking me for amnesia, I can’t provide it. What you’re experiencing is normal, as long as you don’t spend the majority of your time reflecting on past hurts and anger.

When you catch yourself dwelling on long-gone painful incidents, do not waste your happier present by allowing them to take up any more space in your here and now. Take a deep breath, release it, then tell yourself out loud, “That was then. This is NOW!” Then move from that location and concentrate on a different subject.

I know it can be done, because I have done it. And if I can do it, anyone can.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.