Here's the original post:
So this story is a bit complicated. Or at least some friends have told me it is. I (45F) found out I had a hostile uterus when I was 25 after having some trouble conceiving. Doctors said it would be very hard for me to conceive, and if I did it would be hard to carry to term. So we decided to adopt a baby, and we adopted a baby girl a year later due to how long the process was.
We will call her Emily, who is now 19. Three years later, I found out I was pregnant. This was such a shock to me and my husband, and we didn’t even know if I would be able to carry to term. She was born a bit prematurely but she came out healthy. We will call her Mary, who is now 16.
I know, this wasn’t the best idea, but we never told Emily she was adopted until she was 15 because we thought it would be better to tell her once she was old enough to understand it. She was obviously very upset we never told her, but eventually she forgave us and understood why we did what we did and our relationship is great.
We never told Mary because she was still young when we told Emily, and we wanted Mary to choose when she wanted others to know. Also we had heard stories about bio children treating adopted siblings differently and treating them badly and we were worried that would happen. We made sure people never mentioned the adoption around the kids to make sure issues like this never happened.
The problem: Mary overheard Emily talking to her friends about being adopted because she is currently staying at home for spring break. Mary is now mad at us and Emily for lying and not telling her the truth about her family. We told her we left the decision to tell her up to Emily and that we didn’t want her to feel any different about her because she is still her sister.
Mary said she wasn’t her real sister and that we had lied to her for her whole life. Emily is obviously very hurt by this, and so are we. We didn’t know she felt this way about adopted children, but we also think she may be just in shock and angry and saying things she know will hurt.
Our whole family is hurt by these actions, especially my husband because he has adopted siblings as well. Did we go about this all wrong? Are we a-holes for waiting until Emily felt ready to tell Mary? Any advice on how to help resolve this would also be appreciated.
YTA. How did you not learn from this first time you lied? Don’t hide this shit from your children. If she had grown up knowing the truth it would have normalized that this girl is her sister, instead you hide it and made the whole relationship seem like a lie.
keeping Emily's adoption a secret from Emily herself, then doing a big reveal like it was a shameful fact she couldn't handle until she was older;
keeping Emily's adoption a secret from Mary, then forcing Emily to decide whether, how, and when to reveal her adoption to her sister;
deflecting Mary's frustration and anger, that was rightfully directed at you, onto Emily by saying, "we left the decision to tell her up to Emily."
allowing your daughter to develop and express unhealthy and hostile attitudes toward adopted family members
And kdsexologist said:
Y T A for so many parts of this story. Your older daughter should have known she was adopted from the beginning Your younger daughter should have known at the same time as her older sister. Children can cope with the truth about their adoption status. What they can't cope with is the people they trust most in the world lying to them.
If your younger daughter had have known from the start that her sister was adopted there would have been less opportunity for your older daughter to be hurt too.
And winterismeowing said:
Soft YTA only because though I think it was a huge mistake not to have raised both girls knowing this, I understand that you did it out of love. I have to say I hope you can understand that your keeping it a secret is what has made this all an issue. But there is no going back now and you have to step up and fix the situation.
There’s still time to do the right thing for this juncture. I would say that you have to straight up admit to your girls that you and your husband totally screwed up. Apologize profusely but also tell them why you did it, and reiterate as many times as you have to that this is your fault and not either of theirs and shouldn’t ruin their sister relationship.
Tell them they should be angry at you and your husband and should cast the blame on you guys, not each other. And keep saying you did it because of how dearly you love them both. Parents fuck up. It doesn’t make you a bad parent. I hope this gets resolved for your family.
ETA: We are going to have both girls for dinner tomorrow to have a real thorough talk about what’s happened and try to help Mary and Emily understand each other better and our decisions as well. I would also like to point out Emily specifically did not want Mary to know, which is why none of us ever told her because she said she was not ready. We did not want to push this boundary.
UPDATE: We had dinner with both daughters. Mary apologised for saying Emily was not her real sister and apologised for saying that. She is however still angry at us for keeping it from her. Emily said to Mary she was scared she would think differently of her and would stop loving her as a sister. We got a new therapist for family therapy and individual therapy. We do realise we were wrong in waiting to tell them both,
and me and my husband apologised from keeping it a secret and acting like it was a bad thing. We do love our daughters dearly, and although Mary still feels a little distant from us and treats us less close than we were before but it’s understandable. It seems Emily and Mary’s relationship has repaired and we will continue to tell them we love them both equally.