Women having a serious conversation

Families are beloved but undoubtedly complicated. Every family is different, and all of them come with unique challenges. One woman asks the internet to help her decide if she was wrong to tell her sister they were adopted.

The Secret

The OP starts by setting the stage with some background information. She explains that she has a younger sister, and they were both removed from their biological parents when the OP was seven and her sister a baby.

The OP says they were placed in foster care and adopted by the first set of foster parents they stayed with. In addition to the OP and her sister, the family that adopted them had a ten-year-old daughter. After finalizing the adoption, the OP says that her adoptive parents told her and their older daughter that they didn’t want the youngest to know she was adopted.

The OP recalls, “They said I was to pretend they were our biological parents. I was confused and didn’t understand why, but I eventually agreed.” Due to having a decent passing resemblance to their adoptive family, the OP comments that it “wasn’t unbelievable.”

“We moved states shortly after. Our adoptive parents don’t have a ton of family, so it was easy to basically start over, and no one knew,” she says.

Fast forward to the present. The OP is now 23, her biological sister is 16, and their adoptive sister is 26. The OP explains that she has recently resumed contact with their biological mother. “It’s been amazing getting to know her as an adult,” the OP shares. “She’s eight years sober and in a better place.”

Being reunited with her biological mom means a great deal to the OP, and it makes her want to offer the chance for her sister to know their mother as well. “I have always believed my sister should know where she came from,” states the OP. So, she brings up telling her sister about the adoption with her adoptive parents.

“Eventually, I gave my adoptive parents an out. I said my sister needed to be clued in.” The OP says. “They refused, and I said if they didn’t, I would.”

The OP makes good on her promise, not backing down, saying, “They didn’t believe me, and I went through with it.” The news is hard for the OP’s younger sister, who she describes as “in shock” and having “really struggled.”

Her younger sister is shocked, and the adoptive family is now angry at the OP for telling her. “My parents have cut all contact with me. And my adoptive sister is just as angry. She has gone low contact with me,” the OP reports.

The OP is caught between the anger from her adoptive family and the feeling that it’s wrong to lie to her younger sister.


The response from commenters was varied. Some sided with OP, citing their personal experiences with adoption. One person says, “NTA (not the a**hole), your sister has a right to her own history, even if it isn’t pretty. I’m also adopted, and I can’t imagine that being kept from me.”

Another person adds, “NTA. Your parents should have told her. What’s the reason for such a lie? It’s ridiculous that they stopped speaking to you.”

Some who were ultimately supportive still saw the other side of things. One commenter says, “On one hand, I can see the logic in thinking it’s not exactly your place to tell her. Though, at the same time, your reasoning makes a lot of sense. I’m going to say NTA, given the circumstances.”

Others disagreed with OP’s way of handling things. One person said, “The way you went about it makes me say YTA (you’re the a**hole). Adoption is a complicated thing (I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that), and your sister is 16, a vulnerable age where a lot is confusing already. It seems you’ve made quite a rushed discussion, and that isn’t fair to your sister.”

“You threw a hand grenade into your sister’s life,” another person says. “She can’t get away, cannot get space, and in reality, most likely feels betrayed by everyone.”

Hopefully, the OP will be able to repair the relationships with her adoptive family down the line. What would you do if you were in this situation? Would you keep the secret or tell the truth?

This article was inspired by this thread and does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cents + Purpose.

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