A relationship with your family as an adult is a complicated thing.
It is made exponentially more so when you didn't have one with them at all growing up.
How do you connect with people after not being in their lives for decades?
It's time we return to our favorite board on Reddit, AITA. For those not in the know, AITA is short for "Am I the A**hole?"
Responses can vary, but are usually one of these:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA -You're The A**hole
- NAH - No A**holes Here
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- INFO - Not Enough Information
However, they got information about their birth parents.
"I was given up for adoption when I was a baby by my parents who were 19 years old."
"Due to reasons, I was taken from my adoptive parents and put in foster care when I was 11 and remained in the system until I went to college."
"When I turned 18, I was given my mother's contact information by someone. I found out she was married to my biological father. They had public profiles on Facebook and Instagram. I ended up messaging my mother who never responded."
"I then tried to message my father who basically replied saying that he's sorry but they would rather not have me in their lives. That it took them a while to grieve over giving me up and that they don't want to go through all that pain again."
That must sting. OP is lucky enough to not just know his bio parents are around, but gets their contact information.
However, getting turned down by them has to be absolutely awful. You aren't looking for money, or payback, just a chance to know your bio family.
There is an upside for OP though.
"I ended up messaging my grandmother (my mother's mom) who was actually happy to know me. I met her in person and we really bonded."
"I also have two younger siblings but I didn't contact them after what my father said."
Getting to know their grandmother is pretty nice! Especially since she's someone who wants them around.
There is the temptation to reach out to more people, but that can happen in time. Grandma can possibly be a link back to those who would like to meet OP, while the parents can stay out of it.
At least, that's how things might have gone.
Instead, this happens.
"Well four months ago, I saw my father post of a picture of them at some Church event and say "my beautiful wife and our two amazing kids"."
"This was on their church Facebook page. This was probably wrong but I replied with a comment saying "Don't you mean three kids?""
"I didn't really expect the amount of people responding to that as I did. There were a bunch of people my parents knew that started asking questions. I freaked out and deleted my comment."
"Then I started getting dms from people, including people I was related to. Later that day, my grandmother made a post confirming I was a child given up for adoption."
Well, the cat's out of the bag now.
"So now, I started making connections with some extended family and have been to a few family parties. My parents have been told they aren't invited unless they accept me which they haven't."
"The whole drama has kind of messed with their lives and business. My parents are now apparently separated. I don't really accept that as my fault."
And so OP asks the question, were they wrong to do this?
As we said, it's a complicated matter. Were there better ways to go about this? Probably. Did some people want to meet OP anyway? Yes!
But OP's actions threw a giant stone in his bio parent's window.
It sucks what happened to them, but OP deserved to meet his family, right?
"NTA Just because these so called adults wished to continue to lie to their immediate family and church by "forgetting" you existed, doesn't give them clearance to control you, nor your ability to be recognized as a person."
"They adopted out a baby presumably because they couldn't care for you adequately, and that's great, however, after growing up, and having additional children, and after realizing you were in fact an orphan, the moral and Christian thing to do would be to offer you a home and family. After all, you are their child. And they can certainly take care of you now."
"To publicly disown you is wrong, and even though they aren't legally responsible for you through the magic of adoption, they now are in a different place. They should have done what is right and admitted what they had done all those years ago."
"You deserve a family, your family, and if one of them is to self absorbed and selfish, it's not your responsibility to protect them."
"NTA big time." - PerkyLurkey
"NTA - I can see how you would have been triggered by that post and considering they knew you had their facebook profiles they really should have thought about the fact that you aren't obliged to keep their secret."
"You spoke out to your birth family and they have no right to stop that. The family is as much related to you as to them - and have obviously picked you over them." - sdkjfoeijoenl
"I'm gonna go against most and say NTA."
"The pain you endure your entire life in this situation is the most unbearable thing. So what if it upset their reputation and made them uncomfortable for a little while."
"I'm sorry but I feel like if these parents would have been adults and had a discussion privately with their child from the beginning, this wouldn't have happened. OP is the innocent person here."
"Do they not deserve basic information and acknowledgement from bio parents, even if it's to explain things and move along in private?" - pgbaby08
"NTA and I am blown away by why so many people think it's ok. You didn't ask to be born. The least they could do was acknowledge you."
"It's ok op. I hope you have healed from this" - nosynobody
On the other hand, there were better ways forward. The comment was petty and led to a lot of powerful emotions.
It wasn't OP's call to force their parents to confront this. They legally gave up OP and went through all the pain of that to move on with their lives.
OP had other ways to meet the members of his family who wanted to meet him.
"Yes. YTA. You intentionally disrespected their wishes. I get it, it sucks. I was put up for adoption myself and even went through a failed adoption too."
"But that doesn't mean you get a pass on shitting on their wishes like that. That was pretty much the worst way you could have gone about things. You could have quietly started reaching out to people who seemed related to them through private messages."
"It isn't your fault that they seem to have separated. But it is a total asshole move what you did. YTA because of how you went about things not because you wanted to know your family." - abstractnerddreams
"YTA - I'm sorry that you never had a relationship with your biological parents. But you know what you did was wrong.
You could've made those connections through grandma instead in a much easier way, but you overstepped." - GreyOlson
"You didn't respect their right to privacy and stalked them on social media. You were told to let go, yet you kept pushing. Throwing cheeky comments on social media, when no one is aware of your ties, is not a way to go about it."
"And then you forced yourself to meet "the rest of my family", when you were clearly told to keep your distance. Now you see nothing wrong with their family falling apart and you don't accept it as your fault."
"I personally find your behaviour disgusting." - include_strawberries
"YTA. Your bio father gave you a perfectly reasonable explanation as so why they wanted to remain no contact. Not only did you go around that but you publicly humiliated them because you were holding a grudge.
I get not feeling accepted by your birth parents SUCK, but that is not the way to have a relationship with them. Now any relationship you may have hoped to have in the future I'd most likely never going to happen.
They had their reasons and secrets. You are an adult, you should know about respecting people's privacy by now." - meagsteph
If you ask 100 people their opinion of this, you'll get 100 different answers. The truth lies in a morally gray place where there may be no true answer.
It sucks that the parents didn't want any responsibility for OP, but they also have no legal requirement to.
Similarly, it was insensitive to make the Facebook comment announcing themselves, but OP had no legal requirement either.
We hope OP is enjoying getting to know their family. We hope the parents find some new kind of peace in their lives.
And we hope you all know the best way to be 'NTA' is to just consider another person's feelings.
The book Fixing the Fates: An Adoptee's Story of Truth and Lies is available here.