This user was getting married and wanted a picture of all her immediate family. She even allowed her niece and sister-in-law in the picture but excluded her “adopted sister.”
OP (Original Poster) is a 26-year-old woman with a 14-year-old adopted sister named Ally.
They became “related” when OP’s 24-year-old brother, Michael, started dating Ally’s 24-year-old sister, Maya, when they were both freshmen in high school.
Trouble at Home
Maya and Ally did not have a good home life growing up, and OP’s mother is a person who believes “my home is open to everyone.” So, the longer Maya spent at their house, the more often she would bring Ally over since she constantly had to babysit her sister.
When Michael and Maya were 16, OP said, Maya practically lived in their guest room. Ally would always be over, spending most weekends, holidays, summer vacations, and school nights at their house.
A Growing Bond
OP’s mother and father both say they love Ally and treat her like one of their children. OP’s other siblings, an 18-year-old brother and a 16-year-old sister, also treat Ally like she’s a part of the family.
When Michael and Maya moved out, Ally stayed around even more.
OP said she had no problem with Ally. She’s a good kid but didn’t like how she was “foisted into” their lives.
Maybe Not So Bad
OP admits that she should have tried harder to get to know Ally because she is mature and intelligent for her age. She was around 16 when Ally started coming around, so she wasn’t really into being around kids then.
Not a Legal Situation
OP said that Ally is not legally adopted, and she still has her own family and home she can go to. At the same time, her parents spend a lot of time and resources on Ally, so much so that OP thinks it’s ridiculous.
Not My Sister
Everyone in her family called Ally their sister or daughter, and OP refused to do the same. She never felt a close bond with Ally like the rest of her family did, but she did try to be friendly, buying her presents for Christmas and birthdays, but she never considered her family.
When OP got married, she invited Ally, who came with the rest of her family. When they started doing wedding pictures, she wanted one of the whole family, which included Maya, Michael, and their daughter.
Everyone but Her
When her mom brought Ally up to be in the picture, OP had to tell her mom no. Her mom got upset, but Ally assured her it was okay. Then, she sat alone while the rest of the family took pictures.
OP’s mom wasn’t aggressive, but the situation made it obvious to everyone else that Ally wasn’t allowed to be in the picture. Now OP’s entire family is angry at her over the problem, but they took the picture because they didn’t want to fight at OP’s wedding.
Not All the Pictures
OP also said that she didn’t keep Ally from all the pictures. She let her be in some of the other ones.
She also let Ally sit with the regular guests waiting to eat at the dinner reception. She was confident that Ally was also in some of the standard wedding photographs.
A Harsh Truth
Later, OP’s mom told her that when they got home, Ally spent the entire time crying because OP didn’t love her, which OP agreed with because she didn’t love Ally. She felt like her family forced a kid upon her, which put her into a position where she “had to be an a**hole” to get the picture she wanted for her wedding.
What the Community Has to Say
Many Redditors fought over whether or not OP was in the wrong. Ultimately, most decided that she was wrong for how she treated Ally.
Some Redditors thought that she might have some pent-up issues with Ally, saying, “I’m so sorry, but you’re the a**hole. Unless my math is failing me, this child entered your life when you were 16, and she was about 4, and you already had 3 other biological siblings younger than you but older than her. Your words sound resentful, as if your family started neglecting you then. But you’re taking it out on Ally like it was her fault her sister and babysitter removed her from her bad home life. Do you think she had designs on worming her way into your family? That’s not what happened. I hope you understand that. Perhaps therapy could help.”
However, not all Redditors came down against OP, with one saying, “Wow, massively weird energy” on this comment thread. Not the a**hole. A bottom-line principle is that nobody should force themselves to be family with anyone, period. All these commenters seem to grasp that when a family member pushes a stepsibling or stepparent onto someone. That framework applies here. If you genuinely are kind to Ally, that’s all you owe her. My god, you can take a family photo at your wedding.”
A Complicated Family
Many Redditors noted that while OP may not think of Ally as a part of her family, the rest of the family has already decided she is.
One Redditor said, “You seem incredibly cruel. Your family did a wonderful thing for your brother’s wife and sister. They have been around for long enough that everyone views them as family. It sounds like it caused no trouble in your life. You are so lucky you grew up in a happy, loving family, and it’s so insensitive to show such disdain for a 14-year-old who doesn’t have what you have in a family. And Ally showed a remarkable amount of tact and decency for a 14-year-old. She didn’t cry or argue or ask why. She just went and sat down. That’s the kind of person you refuse to accept as a sister? One who puts not causing a scene on your big day above her feelings of hurt? With such etiquette, anyone would be lucky to have her as a sister, blood or not. You’re the a**hole.”
Do you think OP was wrong to exclude Ally from the family photos? What role should legal adoption play in accepting another in our family?
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This post first appeared as She Refused to Let Her “Adopted Sister” in Her Wedding Photographs, Which Made Her Go Home and Cry. Now, Her Mother and Family Are Angry With Her. Was She Wrong? on Quote Ambition.