For some families, items that are passed down hold tremendous significance: jewelry, a desk, clothing, photographs, the possibilities are endless.
But what a family should do when some of the family is adopted was asked in the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
Redditor familynecklaceaita found her beliefs being challenged recently over a family heirloom.
When feelings were hurt, the Original Poster (OP) realized it was more complicated than she thought.
She asked the sub:
“AITA for saying my family necklace will go to my birth daughter instead of my adoptive daughter?”
The OP was in a unique family situation.
“I (30 [Female]) just had a baby girl (Lily) a few months ago with my husband (31 [Male]).”
“I have a son from a past marriage (12 [Male], Jack) and my husband adopted a girl (14 [Female], Emily) about three years ago.”
“I married my husband about a year and a half ago.”
“I also did adopt Emily when we got married, which she barely agreed to.”
The OP also struggled to connect with her adoptive daughter.
“I love my adoptive daughter so much and I try to be a mother figure to her.”
“She doesn’t call me ‘mom’ and isn’t very interested in spending time together, which I respect because she has been through a lot, but I still make a point to include her in discussions and try to spend special one-on-one time with her.”
When it came time to talk about a family heirloom, things got complicated.
“I have a necklace that has been in my family for a few generations (the first one to have it was my great-grandma. She received it on her wedding day, so now it is given to the oldest daughter on her wedding day, which is when I received it).”
“It is very beautiful and priceless and I keep it in a special box that stays locked up with a key.”
“My family is aware of this necklace and my children have seen it and know the significance.”
“We were having a get-together with family because you-know-what is finally allowing it.”
The family was divided on the issue.
“My grandma started asking about the necklace and if it will continue the tradition and go to Lily someday, to which I said yes.”
“My husband, who was half-listening, turned and said, ‘Shouldn’t it go to Emily?'”
“I didn’t want to discuss this in front of our family, so I smiled and said we could talk about it later.”
“My husband kept pushing it, and Emily heard her name, so she became involved with the conversation as well.”
“My mom said that the necklace obviously should go to Lily since she is blood family (which I later told her was a very inconsiderate thing to say in front of Emily).”
“I didn’t really voice an opinion one way or another, but I did agree that it makes sense to go to Lily.”
Some feelings were hurt along the way.
“Emily hates arguments and raised voices, so she said, ‘I wouldn’t want your stupid necklace anyways’ and ran inside crying (my husband went to talk to her).”
“My family thinks that Lily deserves the necklace, and while it is sad for Emily, she is old enough to understand the differences.”
“I really love Emily and I don’t ever want to hurt her, but I agree that this necklace might mean more to Lily since it will be from her direct heritage. Emily already has her own items that her mother gave her.”
“I suggested to Emily that she and I go pick out a necklace together for her, just the two of us, but she refused and isn’t talking to me.”
The OP had mixed feelings after that.
“My husband doesn’t want to get in the middle of this, because it’s my necklace and my decision, but I can tell he feels disappointed that I would consider choosing Lily over Emily.”
“My other worry is if Emily gets the necklace, Lily will find out in the future from my family and might get upset.”
“Please let me know if I’m in the wrong here, I really don’t know how to solve this.”
“To clarify, I’m not against giving Emily the necklace. I worry about her not valuing it, because right now she doesn’t want to be part of my family. If Lily grows up and doesn’t value it, she won’t get it, either.”
“So AITA for automatically thinking my birth daughter would value the necklace more?”
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 said the husband never should have forced the conversation.
“‘My husband doesn’t want to get in the middle of this because it’s my necklace and my decision.'”
“But he threw himself into it immediately. When you told him you guys could talk about it Iater, he pushed for it. It’s nice that now after stirring the pot and causing an issue, he just wipes his hands and backs away” – Underground_Queen
“This was exactly what clicked for me. For someone who doesn’t want to get in the middle, he sure made a considerable effort to do just exactly that. Just wow.”
“OP is NTA. The necklace should go to whomever OP wishes. I understand the disconnect between Emily and OP, but an heirloom necklace isn’t the way to build a connection.”
“And to be honest, after the way the husband pushed and pushed till there was an issue, I have to wonder how much of the divide between OP and Emily is his doing?” – logirl1975
“He does not get to push the issue in front of Emily and the rest of the family, creating an argument and causing Emily to be aware of the situation and feel bad, when he could have held his tongue and they could have discussed it privately, yet later say he doesn’t want to get in the middle.”
“He should have thought about that before he spoke. Also… it’s not his heirloom to decide the fate of!”
“What an a**hole, OP needs to call him out for s**t-stirring and then washing his hands of it. He’s not communicating like a partner should.”
“It’s a messy situation but there are a lot of facts about OP’s relationship with Emily that make me think she’s not in the wrong for feeling the item should go to Lily.”
“It’s not that Emily is adopted, it’s that their relationship doesn’t really feel like a mother/daughter one, apparently because Emily isn’t comfortable with that.”
“This sub talks all the time about how step-parents should let the stepkids lead in interactions and not push to make the relationship more than what the kids are comfortable with. That said, it’s understandable it would hurt Emily, especially since grandma made that tactless comment about being blood.” – atomskeater
Others confided they would not be comfortable giving a necklace to someone who didn’t want to connect.
“OP also got put in an impossible scenario. Surely we could imagine an AITA from the POV (point of view) of the stepdaughter who feels like she has a stepmom who pushes her to wear a necklace she feels no emotional tie towards?” – recycledpaper
“I could just imagine my husband telling me that his daughter, my stepdaughter, who I love to the moon and back, should be getting my great grandma’s diamond earrings which I got from my own grandma before dying in the holocaust. Right.” – SnooObjections738
“What an a**hole move.”
“It makes sense for the necklace not to go to Emily (who he adopted before marrying OP) because:”
“‘I love my adoptive daughter so much and I try to be a mother figure to her. She doesn’t call me ‘mom’ and isn’t very interested in spending time together, which I respect because she has been through a lot.'”
“Emily has the autonomy to choose not to consider OP her mother. And that makes sense, it sounds like Emily has a dead mother? She has things from her mother at least.”
“But if OP is not Emily’s mother, then Emily is not OP’s oldest daughter who gets her inherited jewelry.”
“A**hole husband REALLY made it a problem by insisting on arguing about this in front of Emily and OP’s entire family. It’s like he was trying to cause emotional damage and drama on purpose. NTA.” – TheHatOnTheCat
After receiving feedback from the sub, the OP shared an update:
“We are going to table the necklace discussion for now and decide later if there is anything we want to happen to it.”
“The current plan is to buy each of our children (including my son) a special gift on their wedding day.”
“The necklace will either be kept in my possession or go to my younger sister (who thinks we should take turns with it anyway) who is currently pregnant and could give it to her child.”
“I realize that I struggle a lot with Emily with trying to have a relationship with her, but I need to just continue and make sure she gets as much love as she can.”
“Tomorrow I am going to talk to Emily and tell her I never meant to upset her, and that I love her just as much as Lily, regardless of a silly tradition. I will keep trying to see if she wants to spend time with me and hopefully, someday she will want a relationship.”
The OP updated again after having the conversation with Emily.
“We (as a family) discussed it and the necklace will be put away because it simply is too early to decide who may or may not get it in the future.”
“Emily said that right now she doesn’t really care about the necklace and wants Lily to have it.”
“This weekend we are going to go to a few shops and pick out a special item for each child that they get to have.”
“I now know that she is my oldest daughter, and if my family disagrees, they can fight me over it.”
Though the family clearly needs to have more conversations in the future, the subReddit agreed it was ultimately up to the OP and her daughters to make the decision.
The situation, fortunately, wasn’t an issue of favoritism between an adopted and a biological daughter, but rather, who would experience the greatest sentimental tie to the heirloom, which is an important question to ask anytime something is being handed down.