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'AITA for refusing to respond to my biological sister who found me through a DNA test?' UPDATED

'AITA for refusing to respond to my biological sister who found me through a DNA test?' UPDATED


Connecting with family can be super loaded if you didn't grow up knowing them.

In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a man asked if he was wrong for refusing to respond to his sister after she found him through DNA results. He wrote:

"AITA for refusing to respond to my 'sister'"

I, M24, recently did a DNA and ancestry test. I won’t name the brand because I don’t want this to seem like an ad. I was adopted by my parents when I was 7 years old. I don’t really remember much, if anything, of my life prior to being adopted. But I know that I was neglected, to say the least. Just to put that context out there.

I’ve never really had intentions of meeting my biological family, I’ve always thought they obviously didn’t care about me so why should I waste time caring for them? When I did the DNA test, I knew it was a chance that I would be matched with a close genetic relation. But I never had any intention of messaging with any of them.

Even though my parents have been supportive of me finding a connection to my bio-family. Anyway, the DNA test came back a few days ago and I matched with someone who apparently is my biological half-sister. She sent me a long message explaining that she’s been searching for me for a while and she would love to speak and help me build a picture of my biological family.

She said that she lived with me and my dad (her step dad) and our mom when I was young. She was 7 years older than me and when I was removed into foster care she moved in with her dad. I read the message, but I haven’t responded. And in all honesty, I don’t plan to.

It’s nice that I know someone’s out there who cares for me, but I still don’t want anything to do with my bio family. My brother (also adopted) Oliver says that I am being selfish by not responding. He says I should think about what my sister might be thinking, but I don’t think he understands since he has an always kept a link to his bio-family. We ended up getting into a huge, stupid, argument over it.

And he says that if I wasn’t going to respond I shouldn’t have even done the test because now it just gives my “sister” false hope. I told him he didn’t understand what I was going through because he never lost connection with his bio-fam. And he said I’m an idiot for thinking that.

We were both probably equally rude, I’m not trying to paint him as a bad person. We had a dumb fight. So AITA for refusing to respond to my “sister?"

The internet had a lot to say in response.

Ok_Childhood_9774 wrote:

NTA. Your feelings about your family connections are exactly that--yours. If you are not ready to be in contact with your half-sister, that's fine. Maybe you will someday, but it's ultimately your choice. Your brother has no business pushing you.

OP responded:

Thanks, I genuinely think my brother doesn’t understand how stressful it is because he has always had that link to his bio-family.

Bearmancartoons wrote:

NTA but you should really respond with something given you made your results public. “Hi thank you for reaching out. Right now I am still working through my own feelings about knowing my real family. At some point in the future I may be more open to connecting but for now I just need some time.

OP responded:

Thank you for your comment, and I know you probably didn’t mean anything by it. But they aren’t my “real family”. My real family is the family that took me in and cared for me. I don’t blame my “sister” for anything that happened to me, she was a child herself. But I don’t consider her my family. Let alone my “real family."

Lemonthymetime wrote:

NTA, but I am in the camp of it would be kind to at least acknowledge in a response since it sounds like she has spent all of that time wondering, were you safe, cared for, was it a better situation, did you get stuck in the system, etc. Giving her closure does not mean that you have to build an ongoing connection.

However much or little information you feel appropriate.

"Thank you for reaching out. I am not looking to reconnect with my past on an interpersonal level, but I wish you well."

"Thank you for reaching out. I am not looking to build bridges looking backwards nor maintaining future contact. I wish you well and rest assured that I was into a wonderful family and live a good life." etc.

Express-Chapter9429 wrote:

NAH, but I don't know why you'd make your info publicly available if you weren't planning to respond to anyone.

OP responded:

Pretty sure the one I used said I couldn’t see my matches unless I was public, I guess I was curious as to if I had any matches. That were close. My other sibling did one and the closest he had was a 3rd cousin so in all honesty it was a mixture of I was curious and not expecting anyone to be closely related to me.

Classic-Ad4398 wrote:

NAH. However, you don't remember much of a previous life. She does. There is a whole world that may open up for you. At a minimum, she may also have went through trauma. She may have loved and cared for a baby sister to the extent a young elementary age child could. Then you were taken from her. She may have loved you very much. Your not letting her know you is sad.

OP responded:

I’m a guy btw, but yeah I get what you mean. Thank you for your comment.

ConsistentClue6791 wrote:

I agree. NTA and you don’t have to respond. From my understanding you’re a bit indifferent or unbothered by the news? If you think you can manage your emotions no problem, then acknowledging the message, explaining your stance and wishing her well could provide her a lot of peace with minimal effort on your part.

If it is emotional to reply, sending a message to provide her some closure would be a kind and selfless act. She might not have found a good family like you did.

OP responded:

Well, I never knew I had any biological siblings. In fact I thought I didn’t. In some ways, I don’t want any ties to my biological family. Because they gave me up, I had a mother who didn’t/wouldn’t protect me from my father. I ended up in a loving family, with parents who care for me and siblings who I know and care for.

In some ways I want to entirely leave any ties to my biological family behind. I don’t feel any ties to them, and I don’t think I want to. I get that it could be difficult for her, but idk. Messaging feels like I am reinforcing a connection that I don’t even want to exist.

mr_shmits wrote:

NTA, I guess... I mean, it's totally your right to respond or not.

But your brother is right - why'd you even do the test?

"I told him he didn’t understand what I was going through because he never lost connection with his bio-fam." Ok...but then do you want a connection or not? Because doing the test, knowing that there's a good chance someone would match with you and possibly try to contact you, makes it seem like you want a connection.

OP responded:

I don’t want a connection, I wanted to know my heritage. Plus I liked seeing the facts like I have 1 of the genetic factors for cystic fibrosis.

Four days later, OP shared an update.

Thank you all for sharing your points of view, I read almost all of the comments and appreciate all the advice and kind words most people sent out. I decided in the end to take the advice of most of you and send a message to my “sister” which said:

“Hello [Name],

Thank you for reaching out and I appreciate you sharing that you have been searching for me. As you know I was taken into foster care at age 5, which I don’t remember much of.

I was adopted by my mom and dad when I was 7 years old into a loving family. I have been cared for greatly by them and love them with all my heart. I have been to [name] University and have graduated with a First Class Honours degree in Education and am currently working as a teacher.

Although I appreciate you reaching out I am not currently looking for any connection to my biological relatives at this time. I just wanted to send this message to let you know I am well and have had a happy life being part of my new family.

Best of wishes, [Name]”

I think that message is alright and makes it clear I am not looking for any connection. She has read the message but has not responded, although I don’t expect her to. Thank you all again for your advice and help with dealing with this stressful situation.

The internet kept it real in the comment section.

MercuryAlipes wrote:

As much as I think you were NTA, I’m glad to decided to do this. It does seem like the right thing to do.

sweetpotato37 wrote:

OP's sister was innocent in this situation, just like him. It makes me so pleased he message her, just so she knows he's safe and happy. She's probably been missing and searching for him for years. Definitely the right thing to do.

Stellaluna92piano wrote:

I'm so glad that you decided to message her this once. Your message made it clear that you're not looking for a connection but gave her the reassurance that you are living a good life. The best of both worlds.

OP responded:

Yeah she literally just sent me a really nice message back, so I’m glad that I provided closure for her. Even though finding out I have a bio ‘sister’ has been stressful and something I never expected. In some ways it’s been nice finding out.

MercuryAlipes responded:

If you don’t mind, would you share what the message said? If not don’t worry, I’m just being nosy.

OP responded:

I don’t mind, but I’m going to re-write it and take out some personal information. But the gist is the exact same. Hope that’s okay.

“Hello [My Name]. It is so great to hear from you and I am so pleased to hear how well you’ve gotten on."

"I completely understand and respect your decision about contacting biological family. I also went to [Name] University! But I imagine a few years before you did! It makes me so happy to know you’ve found an amazing family who was able to love you in the way that you deserved to be loved. I just wish I was able to be part of that life also!"

I got married last year and have a 2 year old son named [Name]. I hope one day you will feel open to meeting him, although he’s young I’ve told him about you and how we used to play Peanut-Butter-Dog. Do you even remember that? Sending all my love” I have no clue what peanut butter dog is or what that means, so don’t ask me lol.

abritinthebay wrote:

I’ll be honest, she sounds lovely. I know you’re not looking for more contact right now but I hope you leave that option open - for both of you.

Also now I really want to know what that game is.

Accomplished_Can4708 wrote:

Maybe irrelevant or too nosy. Do you have any idea why you were adopted out whereas she staying with your birth mom? Seems like she would have been neglected too.

OP responded:

No, she was moved in with her father. My bio dad was her step-dad.

It seems like this exchange ended in the best way possible, given OP's choice.

Sources: Reddit
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