Adoption is one of those incredibly divisive subjects that some people overwhelmingly praise while others will do little other than question.
But one thing that nearly everyone can agree on is the importance of informing a child of their involvement in an adoption, stated the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When Redditor Confident_Pack_7451 found out she was adopted during a family feud, and later discovered her adopted parents never would have told her the truth otherwise, it created a serious rift in their household.
Later, when the Original Poster (OP) developed a closer relationship with her biological mother, she decided to do something to validate their relationship, which hurt her adopted parents.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for changing my middle name to what my birth name was supposed to be?”
The OP found out through a family feud that she was adopted.
“I was adopted at birth. My adoptive parents and I have a good relationship now, but it was rocky for a few years there.”
“They didn’t tell me I was adopted and I found out in what I consider the worst way when I was 16: a spiteful relative told me. Not out of my best interest but they got mad at my mom and were trying to ruin her life.”
“It caused a huge fight within the family and everyone focused on the drama rather than my entire life crumbling.”
“I finally ended up in therapy at 18 and have been attending on and off for the past 10 years (currently on).”
The OP went extremely low contact with her adoptive parents for a while.
“I didn’t speak to my parents from the time I was 18 until I was 23. They acted like I was insane for being upset about all this.”
“Eventually, they apologized and began going to therapy themselves. We’ve slowly rebuilt our relationship.”
“They have since accepted my search for my bio family and upon finding my bio mom, have been amazing with her.”
The OP had grown close to her biological mother over the past four years.
“My bio mom was coerced into giving me up. She hadn’t wanted to, but her family all but forced her. She had no support.”
“My parents didn’t know this part but purposefully chose a private adoption so I’d never know I was adopted.”
“My bio mom and I have known each other for four years now. She is an amazing, kind, and generous woman who is just like me. I spent so long feeling unseen and different. She was like completing a puzzle.”
“My bio dad died when I was 12, and it’s devastating to know I’ll never meet him. He didn’t want to give me up, either, but they were very young and again, had no support.”
The OP decided to do something to validate her relationship with her biological mother.
“My bio mom told me she had named me Summer, but my adoptive parents changed it. She understood but I could tell the name meant a lot to her.”
“I recently got married and am changing my last name. I decided since I’m changing my last name, I’ll change my middle name too.”
“It’s got no sentimental meaning vs Summer, which does to my bio mom as it’s her favorite season and I was born on the first day of summer.”
“My bio mom cried tears of joy when I told her. She is so touched.”
The OP’s adoptive parents were not happy about the decision.
“My adoptive parents are p**sed off. They say that I have erased them.”
“But I kept the first name that they gave me.”
“They say if I ‘had to,’ then I should’ve just added Summer to my name.”
After receiving feedback, the OP shared some clarifications about the original post.
“I am NOT mad I was adopted. Given my bio mom was coerced and forced, someone had to. I was NOT given up out of love. My bio parents loved me, but if they had it their way, I would’ve been raised by them.”
“I’m mad I was LIED to for 16 years, and by my adoptive parents’ admission, they never planned on telling me. I cut them off because they gaslit me and refused to admit they handled it badly on top of telling me I was crazy for being hurt.”
“I do not need to be grateful I was adopted. I do not need to be grateful they loved me or provided for me. Those are basic things that SHOULD BE done. I am grateful for a lot, but that doesn’t change the awful things they did.”
“My adoptive parents admitted my middle name is meaningless. They picked it randomly (it’s the stereotypical Marie). So yes, I am sure.”
“Finally, I did NOT change my name to be vindictive. I changed it to represent both families. I am not upset my name was originally changed. I get it. I’m just trying to form a connection to my birth family.”
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 reassured the OP the name change seemed to be the right choice for her.
“It’s lovely, and now her name shows her story and combines her three families: adopted, biological, and marriage. I think it’s perfect!”
“NTA, OP. Have a great life!” – AMacaronADay
“NTA. It’s YOUR name. Don’t let them make it about themselves. As long as you’re happy with the change, that’s all that matters.” – annienihilator
“NTA. This is your life, your journey, and your name. Do what makes you happy.” – FaithlessnessAway479
“NTA. I think what OP did was a beautiful way to unite all parts of her identity. How sad that her adoptive parents would take it so personally, rather than just being happy for her.” – Choice_Bid_7941
“Remembering how much time we spent thinking through names while I was pregnant, I imagine her adoptive parents had been thinking about names forever while waiting for the adoption process to play out. It’s a nice memory of that time getting prepared for parenthood. They likely have their own sentimental attachment to the name they chose because of the experience of choosing the name, even if that name didn’t have some sort of family or other connection.”
“If my kid wanted to change her middle name, it would probably sting a little but I would never let her know that. In the end it’s her name and she’s the one that lives with it every day. The parents should work through their feelings with their therapist, not take it out on OP.”
“NTA, OP. My hunch is that your adoptive parents will eventually realize they’re being unreasonable. Hopefully, they figure it out sooner rather than later.” – gimmethelulz
Some agreed and also questioned the OP’s adopted parents’ choice of secrecy.
“Umm… like they didn’t try to erase your bio mom? NTA. You’ve honored all of your parents.”
“My own mother was adopted and her adoptive mother retained her first name as her middle name.” – Particular_Title42
“‘They even specifically wanted a closed adoption so I would never find out I was adopted.'”
“Erasure. That’s exactly what they did to bio mom. And the thing I find funny about that too is in my own adoption, the agency told my family that when I was 18, the bio family could contact them at any time to try and find me if they wanted to since I was of legal age.”
“In fact, that’s how I found my own entire bio family. It was a closed adoption also. So depending on the laws where they live or the agency they went through, choosing a closed adoption still doesn’t guarantee OP would never find out. And that’s not even a concern when you consider how can you expect to keep a secret that literally everyone around you and your child knows.” – Independent_Blood294
But others urged the OP to be careful with her perception of her biological mother.
“As an adopted child myself, it’s all too easy to have rose-tinted glasses towards your bio mother. In my case, whilst my bio mum tells me one version of a story, the evidence from social services tells another story, a story of neglect.”
“I’m pleased you have a good relationship with your bio mum now, but please remember you are listening to her story and opinion. Your adoptive parents also were clearly not given the full story, either. I know for my adoptive parents, adoption was their only route, and I can’t begin to even imagine how hard that must have been.”
“Have you sat down with your adoptive parents and had a good conversation about everything, what led to your adoption? How the adoption process worked for them and you?”
“I don’t think you’re the a-hole for changing your name, but I’d like to share caution in believing every word your bio mum tells you because it might not always be the truth.” – CarlaRainbow
“It’s easy to see the newly found bio mum as so fantastic when she’s not been the one to be strict with you, to tell you to study and tidy up your room, to tell you you’re not going to the party until 3:00 AM. She has also not been the one to put up with your tantrums, to be with you when you were a sick toddler, a sulky teenager, etc.”
“Bio mum is now your friend, nice, but she’s not been your parent.” – Diddy_1978
“NTA, OP. I’m so sorry you were lied to for that long. As someone who is adopted, I never understood why people want to keep it some type of dirty secret. I was told as soon as I was old enough to conceptualize it, and that truly was the best possible choice for me and my family. I have/had a wonderful, loving relationship with my adoptive parents.”
“However, I would really urge you to tread lightly with your biological mother. I know it feels like so many of your questions were answered, or that you finally have a place to land. But the fact of the matter is, you don’t know these people.”
“When you’re so desperate for some type of missing piece of the puzzle to complete you, you’ll start forcing things where they don’t really fit or over-romanticize that part of your life or the ‘possibilities.’ That puts you in a really vulnerable position.”
“If you had been dating someone for four years, would you feel you knew them front back and sideways? Or would you recognize that’s often still the ‘honeymoon’ period (or maybe not a honeymoon period, but like you still had a lot you could learn about this person)?”
“I don’t know, I was adopted. I naturally fell into a circle of people who were adopted. There’s this very specific song and dance you learn to recognize from bio parents that just raises alarm bells.”
“Nothing was their fault, they didn’t want to go through with the process at all, they want to be incredibly involved and they seem just like you. They’re so amazing and there are absolutely no pit-falls.”
“When you’re a desperate person looking for the reason you feel so out of place or empty, it’s easy to really look beyond any red flags. You put those people on a pedestal because they were never there to let you down, so you can build the perfect parent in your mind that you just ‘know they would have been given the chance.'”
“Her mom could be absolutely wonderful, but when you come from this sphere, it’s a really sad common situation. When you come down from the high of that reconnection and realize truly why you may have been adopted out, and when you wake up to the type of person they really were. Or you catch on to the fact that they were poisoning the well and creating a bitter dynamic with the family you’ve spent your entire life with.” – xdem111
“I’m happy for OP that they find similarities in themselves and their bio mum and have obviously found some kind of ‘closure’ for their identity and personality. However, it is easy to come across as a perfect kind person when you see someone maybe once a week.”
“I’m not saying she isn’t a kind great person, but we ALL have issues with our parents, because we have lived with them 24/7, we see all their flaws, we see all their mistakes and incorrect judgments (that sometimes affect our own lives) for years and years.”
“A person you meet as an adult, do not live with, and yearn to have a positive relationship with is always going to come across in a positive way and sometimes ‘better’. It is also much, much easier to put in a bit of effort with an adult than raise a child.”
“OP can also give their bio mum a huge amount of grace for adopting them away but not their adoptive parents for making the mistake of a closed adoption?”
“I think OP should keep all this in mind because this post doesn’t seem realistic that bio mum is still just a person with their own flaws and mistakes, just like OP’s adoptive parents.” – faroffland
While the subReddit encouraged the OP to have the name that made the most sense to her and spoke to her, they otherwise encouraged her to be as mindful of this situation as possible. It might be lovely to have her biological mother in her life, but there might be more to the situation than the OP might realize.
It likely would be best for her to listen to her adoptive parents a little bit more and listen to her biological mother’s story with a grain of salt to ensure she’s getting the most complete story possible.