Our families and where they are from are a huge part of our story and who we believe we are.
Those who are adopted might spend their lives not knowing where they’re biologically from, or finding a way to put their biological and adoptive stories together.
But it’s their choice in how they tell that story, emphasized the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor Due_Pin_8186 felt like he didn’t get a say in how he told his story after he found out his adoptive parents knew about his Mexican heritage but chose to never tell him about it.
When it led to a big argument where hurtful things were said, the Original Poster (OP) wasn’t sure how to proceed.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for telling my adoptive parents that I wished they hadn’t adopted me?”
The OP had questions after meeting his birth mother.
“I (17 Male) was adopted as a baby, and recently I came into contact with my birth mother.”
“She found us through the agency and said that she’d love to meet, and so we did and, well, apparently she’s Mexican?”
“I mean, she looks very much white, as do I, but she’s from Mexico. Which I never knew.”
“The past week or so since seeing her has been really conflicting.”
“I told my parents about it and was like, ‘Oh, hey, turns out I’m half-Mexican,’ because, IDK (I don’t know), I figured they didn’t know, otherwise I would have been told.”
“But my mom just said that, actually, my bio-dad is Mexican, too, and they were fully aware of this.”
The OP wondered why his parents didn’t tell him this sooner.
“I have known that I’m adopted for a really long time, and it’s never been a secret.”
“I can remember when I realized most kids didn’t have stories of their parents meeting and choosing them, in the sense that I did better than when I found out I was adopted.”
“I never thought there was something that feels so big that I wouldn’t know. I figured anything relevant, I had been told.”
“I asked why this was something that was kept from me and my parents didn’t seem to get it at all.”
But his parents didn’t see any problem with it.
“My dad was just all, ‘Well, it’s not like you asked.'”
“Somehow, that just escalated into an argument, during which they just kind of said that my parents being Mexican never changed anything about who I was to them.”
“I get the feeling they never even considered telling me.”
“And it just feels like this huge part of who I was or who I could be was taken from me, which feels so stupid.”
“Being mad at that moment, I said that I wished I had been adopted by someone who actually cared enough to tell me about my heritage.”
The OP wasn’t sure what to do after that.
“Obviously, it’s a really s**tty thing to say, and I love my parents, and they’re good parents, but the sentiment behind it rings true even now that I’m not all worked up.”
“They still don’t seem to get it at all, so I can’t bring myself to apologize for the argument.”
“The topic hasn’t been brought up since yesterday, but the tension is kinda tangible.”
“The friend I talked to about it told me I was being really ungrateful for all they’ve done for me and that I need to apologize, but IDK (I don’t know).”
Fellow Redditors weighed in:
- NTA: Not the A**hole
- YTA: You’re the A**hole
- ESH: Everybody Sucks Here
- NAH: No A**holes Here
Some felt the parents did the OP a tremendous disservice.
“Adoptive parent here. Cross-cultural one, too.”
“Your parents did you a huge disservice by not telling you about your heritage. I can’t even put into words what a very big deal that was.”
“I do think maybe you were a tiny bit salty, but they actually owe you an apology, not the other way around.”
“Sit down with them and hit them with all of it, only calmly this time. They deserve to hear it, but nobody deserves to be verbally attacked, right?”
“NTA.” – Total-Being-4278
“I adopted cross-culturally and helped my children keep a connection to their heritage.”
“It is possible your parents just didn’t get it because it was never explained to them. NTA but try not to hold this against your parents.”
“Just embrace your heritage and start learning about it now.” – EnvironmentNo682
“Cultural heritage and ethnicity are huge in America, as we are a nation of immigrants. Many people maintain the cultural traditions of their ancestors and practice these while living and building a life in America.”
“For children of adoption, the desire to learn about their heritage can be very strong, especially if this information was not shared with them growing up.”
“OP assumed their parents did not know of their heritage, because if they had, OP had faith that they would have shared this information. Discovering that their parents knew and actively concealed the information felt like a betrayal from people OP loves and trusts.”
“There’s also a whiff of racism here from the parents. Some (terrible) Americans will say terrible, denigrating things about Mexicans that are rooted in racism and wreak of prejudice. It’s deeply unkind, and I have to wonder if this mentality played a part in OP’s parents’ decision. I really hope I am wrong on that front, but it’s possible.” – shriekingshrew
“I definitely got ‘we love you DESPITE your heritage’ vibes.” – neversohonest
“Parents of one culture/country/religion adopting children from a different country/culture/religion and ignoring the child’s heritage can be a form of genocide when done to scale. It’s a wholesale denial of the culture’s next generation.”
“So, yes, it’s a fairly severe omission. OP had the right to know where they came from and the culture tied to their country of birth and biological family.”
“If they make the choice not to of their own volition, that’s their decision. Being denied that choice, however, is questionable at best.” – LootTheHounds
Others agreed and were uncomfortable with how the parents expected the OP to apologize.
“The idea that adopted kids need to just be grateful all the time and never mad at their parents because their parents decided on adoption makes me so uncomfortable.”
“Let the teenager scream their equivalent of, ‘I wish I’d never been born!’ or ‘You’re not my mom anymore!’ and slam the door like teenagers everywhere.” – RainahReddit
“Just like being born to parents, being adopted is the parents’ doing and their choice, and they take on the responsibility. So they also get called names and put up with teenage tantrums.” – Happy-Investment
“My adopted son has periodically pointed out that I sort of kidnapped him since he didn’t give his consent to the adoption (he was one).”
“I just say yes, I’m sorry he was too young to consent. The biggest decision of his life, and he had no say.”
“That’s pretty freaky when you think about it. He’s a fantastic kid.” – Postingatthismoment
“It’s amazing to find a family through adoption and they did great, but at the same time, he’s a kid who is facing HIS identity and life story and his bio family and discovered there is so much more.”
“It’s not easy. Every adopted person reaches the point where it’s time to discover his or her personal journey from birth since adoption and it’s fundamental. Even for someone who knew and remembered what happened (I was adopted at 7).”
“His adoptive parents didn’t think it was a big deal, but now they know it is and they have to be understanding and maybe self-reflect, not dismiss his feelings in such an emotional time.”
“OP has to calm down and not lash out in anger, but they have to understand how it’s important for someone to know their background and identity.” – Cattoskull
“I think OP isn’t ungrateful for asking questions and being rightfully upset.”
“I think that if you adopt a child that you know is from a different heritage, at some point you should tell them and allow them the opportunity to learn about their heritage. And yeah, to Latinos, family is important but when family f**ks up, we also call them out.” – senorita_
“Identity is VERY important to growing youths, and their heritage is a huge part of that.”
“Maybe OP, having known they were Mexican, would have chosen to engage with Mexican culture, or maybe not!”
“How deep in the culture they are however is not the point. The point is that is an innate part of his identity he was not told, and so OP was robbed of the CHOICE. A choice regarding OP’s identity, and therefore a significant one.”
“And while all kids deal with identity, those with a more disjointed cultural background ESPECIALLY do, and it can cause a lot of issues in life. Cross-cultural adopted kids, children of immigrants born and raised in another country… there is a challenge in knowing who you are and where you belong.”
“It is the DUTY of all parents to give their child the OPTION to connect with whatever cultural ties they have. It is so important for their development.”
“And, OP literally was only saying that most kids say out of anger to their parents. It’s the adoptive equivalent of, ‘I wish you never gave birth to me!’ This kid had a very normal reaction and is absolutely not TA.” – junko-shii
The OP was conflicted, knowing that he had said something hurtful to his adoptive parents, but the subReddit understood why he was upset.
While he could still choose whether or not to own his cultural story, he could have known about it a long time ago, and for all he knew, it could have had a huge impact on his life, had he been given the choice to explore it.