Redditor Dazzling_Bed4305 and her husband have two children they adopted from foster care.
One of their children suffers from night terrors due to traumatic experiences of being in the system.
He is eight years old and is comforted by the Redditor’s husband–who himself experienced similar trauma when he was younger.
Recently, the husband’s sister announced she was going to have a destination wedding abroad, which brought up a slew of logistical complications.
When a confrontation to address the hurdles quickly went south, the Redditor visited the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit and asked:
“AITA for telling SIL our kids are more important than her destination wedding?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“My husband and I are foster to adopt parents. We have two children we adopted from foster care and our oldest but the second child to become our child, is 8 years old and has a lot of trauma built up.”
“My husband comes from an almost identical background to our son. Right down to how he was treated for so many years.”
“Our son has a very strong attachment to my husband and is only calmed by him when seriously distressed, which is every night without fail. He suffers night terrors due to his experiences in the system.”
“My husband will often hold him until he can fall asleep and he will stay with him and hold him after his night terrors. Without this our son cannot settle again and he becomes inconsolable.”
“He does love me, but does not get the same comfort from me. Because he knows his dad gets it and it helps him feel safe(er).”
“Some time ago my husband had to leave for three days and our son was a mess by the time he got back. He actually had to leave early because he was meant to be gone a week. But my son couldn’t function without him.”
“SIL told us in December that her early September would be a destination wedding in another country. We could not afford to fly all four of us and we communicated this to her.”
“She expressed that she needed her brother to be there at least. My husband told her he would see what he could do.”
“She said it gave us plenty of time for our son to be okay without him for ‘just four nights.’ The four nights are because he would be flying for an entire day, and the wedding festivities are over a day and he wouldn’t make it home quickly.”
“We said we would see. But it hasn’t happened. My son still needs his dad. He has made some progress. But it is delicate. And could be set back if he is pushed for too long too soon.”
“My husband told his sister and she was mad. She said he couldn’t keep putting the kids above all else, that we need to live our lives, especially him. He told her he couldn’t risk our sons progress and that progress is slow, which it has been.”
“She came to me and begged me to talk him around. She told me how badly she wants her brother there and how much she’ll miss him. She said it’s not her fault we didn’t want to spend the money to all come.”
“I told her it’s not that we didn’t want to, but we couldn’t, because it was a lot of money for just one person even. She accused me of coddling our son too much.”
“I asked her if she remembered what her brother went through when their parents adopted him. She said he was never like that and he hasn’t been harmed by not being coddled the same way.”
“I told her they are different people, but surely she knew it had caused trauma. She said her wedding is a once in a lifetime event.”
“I told her that our kids are more important than her destination wedding. She did not take that well.”
ETA because many people are commenting on why we are not getting him help. Our son has been under the care of a team of therapists and a psychiatrist since he arrived in our home. But progress will be very slow. They all acknowledge this.
Strangers online were asked to declare one of the following:
- NTA – Not the A**hole
- YTA – You’re the A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everybody Sucks Here
Many Redditors thought the OP was not the a**hole here.
“NTA. She chose a destination wedding, with that comes the inevitability that some close family and friends will not be able to make it.” – CrystalQueen3000
“Exactly. This. OP is NTA and sister is TA, but for a different reason. Having nothing to do with the kids or anything else, anytime you have an event (but especially an out-of-town event), sometimes some people can’t make it. For whatever reason. Period. Get over it.” – NotNormallyHere
‘She said he couldn’t keep putting the kids above all else.’
“This is literally what you sign up for by having kids. NTA.” – tr573
“Yes. Sister needs to back off. People who have destination weddings need to accept that their choice may mean that some people who are important to them will not be able to make it.”
“I think a lot of people deal with this and are able to be happy in their choice. Sister, however, is being really selfish and uncaring.”
“She can’t expect that everything will be exactly the way she wants. That is life. Sister is TA.”
“OP, please do not feel bad about this. You are in the right, and you should not let any bridezilla make you think differently. You are NTA.” – salymander_1
“There is literally no circumstances where declining an invite to a destination wedding makes someone the asshole. Any bride or groom who plans a destination wedding then gets upset when some people say no, even the people they’re closest to, are automatically the a**ole. NTA, OP.” – Distinct-Inspector-2
“NTA – she knew the reality of your situation. If she really wanted her brother there she should have had a local wedding. Destination weddings are all about the destination and not the people.”
“So she got exactly what she wanted but she can’t have both. She needs to choose what she wants most.” – Snoo-74562
“NTA. SIL is a bridezilla. You will probably still be hearing about how ‘selfish’ your husband was for not putting a whole adult’s petty wishes above the needs of a traumatized child for years to come… but it will have been worth it.” – Jackabug
‘She [sister] said he [husband] couldn’t keep putting the kids above all else, that we need to live our lives, especially him.’
“These kids are your husband’s life. His sister is treating the kids like they are fake family. They are as much family to your husband as his sister is.”
“And he rightly sees that his responsibility to his minor child is more important than any responsibility to his grown sibling. NTA.” – fuzzy_mic
“NTA. How can someone think that the wellbeing of a child should come after her wedding ?!”
“Yes, I agree that your life needs to be more than just sacrifice for the children and that you shouldn’t coddle your children all the time.”
“But YOU are in a very particular situation, with a child that needs more than most child, and that isn’t being entitled or acting like a king child. This child needs your attention, he needs your love, and you knew what you signed up for, and you are doing an amazing job at it.” – MaybeAWalrus
‘I told her that our kids are more important than her destination wedding. She did not take that well.’
“Well, your kids are forever. Her wedding is one day.”
“People who have events need to realize an invite is not a summons. If one decides to have a destination wedding then they have to accept there will be loved ones who cannot afford to come or get the time off work to,come.” – OneTwoWee000
“NTA. Honestly there are too many stories about how foster parents only take their ‘real’ kids on trips, getting a babysitter for the foster kids. You are what foster families should be like: patient, compassionate, empathetic, understanding parents. Your kids are in-fact more important than her wedding.” – SnooDucks9652
“NTA. If you’re going to have a destination wedding, then be prepared for many invitees to decline. It’s so beyond self-absorbed to expect people to arrange to be away from their families, take time off work, and spend a ton of money in traveling expenses just to watch you say ‘I do.'”
“Your SIL needed a serious reality check, and you simply gave her one. You’re not at all in the wrong here.” – prairiemountainzen
In an update, the OP clarified:
“ETA because many people are commenting on why we are not getting him help. Our son has been under the care of a team of therapists and a psychiatrist since he arrived in our home. But progress will be very slow. They all acknowledge this.”
Overall, Redditors thought the SIL was being unreasonable and unsympathetic to her brother and the OP’s situation.