Edited for spelling and grammar for ESL Redditor
Whether parents want to admit it or not, there are going to be days when parenting feels really hard, and a break is needed.
But some people are simply not ready to be parents, agreed the “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) subReddit.
When her brother frequently dropped off his three kids for Redditor Friendsyesorno to babysit without any warning, she was beginning to wonder what her brother’s priorities were.
But when her brother left his children in an unsafe situation, the Original Poster (OP) knew she had to take action.
He asked the sub:
“AITA for calling the police after my brother just left his kids and taking guardianship of his kids?”
The OP’s brother had a habit of dropping his kids off for the OP to babysit.
“I (23 Female) have a brother (27 Male) who has three children, a five-year-old and three-year-old twins.”
“He thought I was a free babysitter on weekends so he and his wife could go out. They have just left their kids at my door when I said I had plans, so I was then forced to babysit.”
But an incident last June was the final straw.
“But around June last year, when the twins were just over one year old, I was going to go hang out with my friends, so as I was driving to get my friends, I obviously had plans.”
“But then my brother called me and said that he was on his way over with the kids.”
“I asked why, and he said he and his wife were going out, so I needed to babysit.”
“I said I wasn’t home so he would need to find someone else.”
“He just laughed and said, ‘Sucks for you. Your plans are canceled.”
“I was dumbfounded and said, ‘No, I’m not babysitting.”
“He said he would leave the kids at my door and it would be on me if something happened to them if I didn’t go home.”
“I said I wouldn’t come home and I would call the police if he left them at my door and hung up.”
“15 minutes later, I got a notification on my Ring doorbell device, and I looked at the live view and saw my niece and nephews standing alone at my door, ringing the bell.”
The OP followed through with her threat.
“I panicked, and my friend asked what was wrong. I told them and they agreed to come back with me while they called our other friend to let them know we would be late.”
“Then I called the police. We arrived shortly before they did and told them the story. We gave them my brother’s number, and they called.”
“He didn’t pick up, and the police asked if we can watch them, to which I said no, because he would do this again if I did.”
“They said they understood and told us we would have to come to give an official statement at the station, and a CPS (Child Protective Services) worker would take the kids for the night or longer, depending on if they can reach my brother and get his testimony.”
“So we went, and I assured my niece and nephews that it was going be fine and the CPS lady would take good care of them.”
The brother lashed out at the OP.
“My friends and I ended up staying at my best friend’s house, and around 4 AM, my brother called demanding to know where his kids and I were.”
“I told him I was not home and that his kids were with CPS.”
“He yelled so loudly, I didn’t need to put my phone on speaker for my friends to hear.”
“I reminded him I had told him I would call the police, and I did, so he could thank himself.”
“They ended up losing custody and were changed with endangering a child on three counts.”
But this incident took an unexpected turn months later.
“Five months ago, I was asked if I wanted to become my niece’s and two nephews’ guardian.”
“I ended up agreeing and have had them since.”
“I don’t know how (only my friends knew since our parents died when the twins were almost three), but he found out that I had his kids. Not where we live, just that I’m their legal guardian now.”
“He has been blowing up my phone and social media, telling me I ruined his life.”
“Our grandpa is on my side, but the rest of the family says I should have sucked it up.”
The OP felt conflicted.
“I feel like I had to go nuclear this time, but the guilt is making me doubt if I did the right thing or not.”
“To clarify, I loved to babysit them when he gave me at least 24-hour notice, but when he left them after I said I wasn’t there, that was when I had issues with his behavior, and that’s why I called the police.”
“The three of them are not a burden at all, they are a joy, and I love having them here. Even though suddenly becoming a full-time single parent was hard to adjust to, I haven’t regretted once that I took them in.”
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 pointed out that this was probably the final straw for CPS, not the OP’s fault.
“Lady, he randomly dropped his kids on your doorstep and didn’t call to check on the kids until 4 AM. I’m sure he’s no boy scout… What is he up to on his nights out?” – fejjisthemann
“CPS wouldn’t just take the kids away lickety-split like that without good cause. They probably found stuff at their residence that the CPS deemed unfit for their parenting. They could have had neighbors calling about the kids being left alone outside.”
“Trust me, CPS has been to your brother’s house before. This was just the last straw, and something had to be done for the safety of the children.” – GardenSafe8519
“CPS is not going to take kids away from their parents for a one-time mistake. That they did means that there was a pattern of neglect. The situation was bad enough that the kids would be better off in your custody rather than their parents.” – canuckleheadiam
“NTA, and if CPS removed the kids, there was definitely a whole lot more going on.”
“Also, the parents can actually do things to fix what they did wrong to get their kids back.”
“Don’t feel guilty, you helped them out of a bad situation.” – thetorts
“Yeah, they don’t take kids from a couple, and then place them with a 23-year-old who isn’t a parent unless there were significant issues.” – eightmarshmallows
Others were concerned about how the brother was treating the OP.
“CPS has to conduct an investigation that ideally should involve more than the initial claim. Whether it does or not is probably dependent on the social worker’s caseload.”
“That said, I agree that just dropping them off at an empty house is enough cause to take them away, but that’s my personal belief.”
“I don’t work for CPS, so have your grains of salt at the ready. I’d be willing to bet that CPS did a house inspection of your brother’s house and stuff there added to the loss of their guardianship.”
“I was a latchkey kid, but my parents would have gone absolutely homicidal if someone had left me alone at an empty house at five years old. (And in my opinion, the world was a bit safer in 1980 when I was five. At least where I was. I got lucky with my folks.) Leaving kids that young anywhere is definitely abandonment.”
“You are NTA. You did right by those kids. Listen to what they say about their parents. Document it, just in case. You don’t have to ask them flat out; it may make them uncomfortable and more likely to bottle up. They’ll say things that will enlighten you sooner or later. Thank you for taking care of them. You’re a good egg!”
“You may want to consider changing your phone number though.”
“It may be worth using your current number as a second phone line as a ‘family number.’ Block your brother for sure, and get a new main number that you don’t give to your family, as they’ve proven they can’t be trusted to not subject you to your brother’s rage.” – VexBoxx
“Rather than block him again, you may want to let the messages come in and provide them to CPS and the police. He is harassing you.” – I_Suggest_Therapy
“Maybe let your family members know that giving away your info will only get your brother into more trouble for harassment. I am assuming that they think they are being helpful to your brother.”
“Best of luck with the kids! It sounds like you and your partner have their best interests at heart. Sounds like these kids need family like you.” – pammademedothis
“NTA, but your brother certainly is. Your brother has no business trying to force you to give him the time of day, never mind demand that you cancel whatever you’re doing to be his free babysitter. Let him sit in a six-by-eight for a while as he contemplates how to be an adult.” – Loosh_03062
“I feel sorry for the children that they got stuck in between the two of you, but you had their best interests at heart, and clearly their own father did not. And as others have stated, if CPS took them away, there was way more than you knew, so you probably saved their lives, or at least saved them from having a more horrible childhood.”
“And good for you for stepping up to take care of them. I read this in another post about bad families and your response to your family should be, ‘Why aren’t you looking out for the best interests of these children like I was?’ and let them try to respond.”
“NTA!” – MinniesWorld
After receiving feedback, the OP felt reassured.
“I felt guilty since my whole family was telling me I broke a family apart for no good reason, but you all have assured me that what I did was a good thing.”
“I agree this was just what tipped the bucket over, and that there had to be more to behind the CPS decision, but thank you all for your kind words. It was really reassuring, and I will definitely talk to the case worker about the harassment as a few suggested.”
“But again, it was not the babysitting my lovely niece and my nephews that was the problem, it was my brother’s attitude and him leaving them unattended while knowing I wasn’t home, that started all of this.”
While the subReddit sympathized with the children who were in this tough situation, they didn’t think the OP had done anything wrong, and they were grateful to her for officially taking her niece and two nephews in and giving them a stable home.