Dear Amy: I grew up adopted. My adoptive parents also had a biological daughter who is several years younger than I.

When my parents sold their home 15 years ago, they gave me my adoption papers. These weren't much help in locating my birth family, but they did identify my birth name.

Fast-forward to a year ago, and a DNA test connected me to my biological family. I'm fortunate that my birth mother and half-sister have embraced me, my kids and my grandkids.

Before Dad died, I asked him about telling my sister about connecting with my birth family and he advised me not to, as he didn't think she would take it too well.

I'm alternating feelings about disclosing this to her or keeping it to myself. I'm close to her and I don't want this to affect our relationship. At the same time, it really has nothing to do with her.

What are your thoughts?

Amy says: People in your father's generation sometimes fell back on avoiding the truth in order to spare what they believed would cause someone else's discomfort. People still do this, but I believe that many of us now realize that temporary discomfort is easier to manage than the burden of carrying a long-term family secret.

I'm assuming that your sister knows you are adopted, and, surely, she has wondered over the years if you would connect with your biological family. You maintain that this doesn't have anything to do with her, but it does. You are her sister. You have discovered other family relationships that are meaningful to you. To keep this knowledge from her denies her the opportunity to connect with you in a deep, intimate and sisterly way.

She may be upset, confused, or even jealous that you have these newfound biological family members, while at the same time she has lost some family members who have died. Most likely, she will be upset that you neglected to share this important news with her until now, but she will have to deal with her own reaction. Don't put this off further.

Taking a tough-love stance

Dear Amy: Recently, a reader wrote in describing an extremely codependent relationship. Here she is, only one year sober, enabling her live-in guy, who is drinking heavily and is not nice to her.

Thank you for taking a tough-love stance. I was in a similar relationship where I was constantly giving, giving, giving. Honestly, I was proud of how "nice" I was, until I realized that I was basically paving the way for my partner to abuse alcohol, and me.

Al-Anon helped me to recognize my role in the family dynamic. Eventually, I got out.

Amy says: I urged the reader to accept responsibility for her own actions, value her own sobriety and do more to protect herself and her son.

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