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Health & Spirit

A stranger's suggestion brings on DNA dilemma

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I have an 11-year-old son who is adopted.

A total stranger approached and suggested to us that getting DNA testing would be a wonderful gift. He went on and on about what a loving gift this would be. (My son does not look like me, so this man correctly assumed he was adopted.) I found this quite outrageous.

Amy, we know who his birth parents are. My son's birth father had 10 children with different mothers and his birth mother had several with different fathers.

All of the children that his birth parents had together are in foster care.

The birth parents themselves are currently in prison.

The only thing the DNA testing could tell us is if my child's parent of Cuban descent is of native Cuban descent or Spanish -- or some combination of those (or other European ancestry), who ended up in Cuba.

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We could also learn of many half-siblings and other relatives. We don't want them contacting us or our son.

Our son is way too young to deal with the reality surrounding his birth family, and we have always told him that his parents loved him very much, but because of illness are unable to care for him (they are drug addicts, but we haven't told him this). We were advised by the social worker that some members of his birth family are not safe and we should not allow contact.

What he needs to know is that we are his family, and will stand by him no matter what.

Now my son keeps bringing up DNA testing. I don't know what to do. I don't think he wants to meet family, but I do think he wants to know about his heritage.

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