Redditor "lea345" admitted to having a mother who is more concerned with "status and appearance" and lacks maternal instincts.
The mother had given her first child up for adoption and they were recently reintroduced into each other's lives.
The child—now a grown woman named "Sarah"—made an impression on the Redditor and they established a relationship. But their mother expressed opposition after the Original Poster (OP) performed an act of kindness towards their biological sister.
Now the OP is asking AITA (Am I the A**hole) for continuing to keep in touch with the daughter her mom gave up for adoption.
The OP began the post with some historical context.
"So, my mom got pregnant when she was 20 and gave the baby up for adoption. Years later she met my dad, got married and had me."
"The daughter she gave up, I'll call her Sarah, is now 35. About 6 months ago Sarah reached out to my mom and they got to meet and talk for the first time."
"After that, Sarah was invited a couple times over for dinner to meet us; I liked her, but I think by the third dinner my mom had definitely changed her opinion of Sarah, and it showed."
The OP mentioned they don't see eye to eye with their mother.
"I will add my mom lacks certain maternal instincts; she will always care deeply about status and appearance, more than anyone I've met, which we've always butted heads over."
A recent dinner cemented the fact that their mother does not approve of Sarah and her lifestyle.
"Sarah is a waitress, a chain smoker, dresses a bit sloppy, and just generally wouldn't fit in with my mother's standards or her world. She also had a previous drug arrest when younger, for cocaine, which she told us about on the third dinner."
"After that dinner, my mom said we should probably stop meeting with her and literally called her a 'disappointment.'"
But by then, the separated siblings already had a rapport going.
"My dad was also surprised but just leaves the decision up to her. I didn't say much but before this, Sarah and I had already followed each other on Instagram and exchanged numbers. We texted maybe once every couple weeks, just talking about random stuff."
"I think she got the hint my mom didn't want her around anymore but we really didn't address it. I feel bad for her, I can only imagine it would be hard to finally connect with your biological mom and be let down like that."
Sarah's life took a sudden dip, but luckily, the OP was there to catch her fall with financial support.
"Anyways, with everything happening recently, she lost her job. I saw her post about this and wanted to help, so I sent her $400. I have a decent job and have a good amount saved, so I felt like I could afford to, and she is my biological sister after all."
"Maybe part of it was guilt over how sh**ty my mom was."
Mom did not approve.
"My mom found out about this and got very upset. She said I had no right to keep in contact with Sarah let alone be sending her money, that really it wasn't my business to do this, and that it was very disrespectful to her."
"I didn't think she'd be this upset over it and I have no experience with this kind of situation. I don't feel like I'm in the wrong but I'm curious what others think."
Redditors had no problem pointing out the mother's shortcomings.
"So your mother gives up a child, and later she thinks she has the right to be 'disappointed' with how the child turned out? Wow, talk about entitlement. [Not The A**hole] (NTA)." – wetcoast1987
"Obviously the mom as op put it, is all about appearances. Since she finds Sarah below her standards, she wants to pretend she doesn't exist anymore, so in her opinion, OP should as well."
"OP's mom doesn't care for Sarah, and she doesn't want people knowing the 'disappointment' exists. In her mind, if OP keeps talking to Sarah, others will find out and tarnish the mom's appearance to others." – Dealingwithdragons
People agreed that the OP is an adult who is capable of making their own decisions.
"Plus why wouldn't OP have a right to talk to Sarah? It's her own sister!" – BornGeekyNerd
"OP's mom needs to get the stick out her a**. She has absolutely zero right to demand OP doesn't interact with her. Mother can go screw herself for the most part because OP appears to be an adult."
"Adults make their own decisions and she has no right to interject that. Seriously, suck it up buttercup. If OP don't live with their mom, I have zero idea as to why she thinks OP should listen to her."
"I think I would have attacked her and called her a poor excuse of a mom because she gave her eldest child up for adoption and decided her appearance means more than anyone and anything."
"Deciding her eldest is a failure even though she put her daughter in this mess in the first place. I have absolutely no patience for this supposed 'mom.'" – VanillaGhoul
"OP, if your mother is trying to shame her daughter for having a sordid past, feel free to remind her that she gave birth to that daughter out of wedlock, and therefore has no leg to stand on with her puritanical attitude."
"Sarah is your sister. You get to have a relationship with her. NTA [Not the A**hole]." – beatissima
"OP, Sarah is a person, you are a person, your mother doesn't control either of you."
"You control your own life, and who you're friends with. Be friends with your sister, don't worry what your mother thinks, she doesn't get a say in your life." – HeroWither123546
Some Redditors thought mom should get some slack after much derision.
"Why shame someone for giving up a baby? Yeah the mom is being an a** but she did the right thing in giving up a child she couldn't support."
"Probably the only right thing I see in this story. No need to shame someone for making the decision to give up a kid so they could go to a loving family." – firstladymsbooger
"Thank you. There are a lot of very sh**ty comments all over this thread ragging on the mom because she 'threw away' or 'discarded' her daughter. Adoption is the moral, responsible choice in a lot of circumstances."
"This sub has a very debilitating issue with any form of nuance. Just because the mom sucks for judging her daughter, and for trying to control her daughters' relationship with each other does NOT mean that every single thing she's ever done in her life was automatically bad."
"Giving her daughter up for adoption is NOT why she sucks." – freeeeels
But those standing by the mother were fact-checked based on her behavioral description.
"I don't think it's necessarily shaming her for giving the baby up for adoption, I think it's more so she's so quick to judge others and she got pregnant young and out of wedlock."
"There is nothing at all wrong with that, but for somebody who is all about appearances that would be a pretty big skeleton." – Bami943
"Exactly, this reaction is all projection by OP's mother. She probably feels a lot of shame, probably had a lot of shame and rejection from those around her at the time, and now she's afraid if she can't brag about her daughter it will prove that the shame is still there." – ItsAllAConstruct
Some parents would actually be proud of the OP's gesture.
"I can't imagine a less disappointing thing than what OP did. That's probably the most admirable thing a person can do, I would be so proud of my son if he did thatNTA OP, you're a saint." – galway_horan
We don't know where the OP got the altruistic trait from, but good on them.
The book Homing In: An Adopted Child's Story Mandala of Connecting, Reunion, and Belonging is available here.