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Mom Upset After Husband Agrees To Adopt Her Daughter But Not Her Son Who ‘Never Liked’ Him


Creating family is a stressful dynamic.

Blood relation, no blood, it can all be messy.

That is why step-parents can be so trepidatious.

Nobody wants to replace anybody.

But then feelings get in the way.

Case in point…

Redditor adopterdaddd1652 wanted to discuss his experience and get some feedback. So naturally, he came to visit the “Am I The A**hole” (AITA) subReddit.

He asked:

“AITA for not wanting to adopt one of my wife’s children?”

The Original Poster (OP) explained:

“My (41 M[ale]) wife (39 F[emale]) and I have been married for 2 years but together for 5 total.”

“She has two kids from a previous marriage, ‘James’ (15 M) and ‘Becky’ (8 F).”

“I met them both after about 6 months of being with my wife and we all moved in together after a year.”

“Of her own accord a few weeks ago, Becky asked me to adopt her (their biological dad is absent and neither of them have seen him in years).”

“Which I thought was incredibly sweet and I was very moved.”

“I’ve cared for her since she was very small and she thinks of me like her dad so I of course said yes.”

“And was willing to start looking into the process legally.”

“My wife was delighted too as apparently Becky had asked her about this first and she knew I’d say yes.”

“Separately, my wife then said to me that if I adopted Becky I also needed to adopt James out of fairness.”

“However I am absolutely not going to do that.”

“If Becky thinks of me as her dad then James absolutely does not.”

“He’s never liked me and has no interest in bonding with me.”

“He won’t come on one-on-one days out with me.”

“And he never really has, he will barely speak to me, doesn’t want me to come to his school sports, doesn’t want me to know about his life or his friends or his hobbies etc.”

“The few times I’ve managed to convince him to come somewhere with me out of necessity, he seemed like the unhappiest kid ever and so I’ve stopped forcing it now.”

“So you can see why I really don’t think this kid would want me to adopt him.”

“I’m not his dad, I’m not sure he even really thinks of me as a stepdad but as his mother’s husband.”

“But when I explained this to my wife, I’m the a**hole ‘treating the kids differently,’ ‘he’s just a child, you need to be the bigger person.'”

“‘You’ll be excluding him from the family if you don’t, how could you be so cruel and heartless?'”

“‘You’re not the man I thought you were’ etc.”

“I know he’s just a kid, and we haven’t asked him if he wants me to adopt him yet so maybe this is a moot point anyway.”

“But I don’t even want to offer because I just feel so uncomfortable.”

“Maybe I am a bad person.”

“I mean I love him on a familial level because he’s my stepson.”

“But I don’t feel connected with him.”

“My wife has now said if I don’t adopt James I can’t adopt Becky (because apparently I can’t be trusted to treat them fairly).”

“And I can’t say that to her because it would break her little heart.”


Redditors shared their thoughts on this matter and weighed some options to the question AITA?:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

For the most part many Redditors declared our OP was NOT the A**hole.

Let’s hear some thoughts…

“You need to ask him if he wants to be adopted, and if he says no, let him know he can change his mind at any time.”  ~ TinyRascalSaurus

“Sometimes treating kids fairly means meeting different needs.”

“For your daughter, that need is to be adopted.”

“For your son, it may be space and time to process things.”

“The teenage years are a minefield.”

“Your wife needs to understand that the children are two very different people, and need different things to be happy.”  ~ TinyRascalSaurus

“NTA. You are treating the kids the same – each gets his or her own, specific, individual choice.”

“Your wife is treating them differently – daughter’s choice is subject to veto by bro, but daughter has no such veto over choice.”

“Wife is wrong, is letting bro punish daughter, and is only go to alienate kids from one another.”  ~ FeeOverall1497

“James probably has memories of his biological father and wouldn’t like the idea of him being replaced, however rubbish a parent he is.”

“OP is the only father figure Becky has memories of.”

“It would be extremely unfair to James to force an adoption on him at 15.”

“This kind of thing needs to led by the children, not the adults.”

“There are so many posts on here from children who were made to call a step-parent ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’ and felt they had been robbed of a relationship with their biological parent.”

“Don’t be that step-parent. NTA.”  ~ beautifulgregory

“When I was teaching I had a ‘fair is not always equal’ saying.”

“Fair is getting the same exact same thing as everyone else but that does not mean things are equal for everyone.”

“If anyone has seen the visual of the 3 kids of varying heights standing on boxes to look over a fence, that’s how I’d get the conversation rolling.”

“Of course it’s a very generalized visual but gets the point across that in life, fairness shouldn’t be the end all goal on society.”

“We want equality and equal access.”

“Typically in my elementary classroom kids would get upset if another child had an accommodation due to a need.”

“So we would have a discussion on needs and what fair and equal means in these situations.”

“Once they understood it was an ACCESS issue not a fairness thing they had no issues anymore.”

“Sounds like the family as a whole should have a conversation like this.”

“As others shared they need to discuss their wants and needs together.”

“It’s okay if one doesn’t need the same as the other.”

“I bet the son would feel appreciated being heard and not forced to do anything just to make his sister happy.”

“Which honestly can help a relationship if you feel validated.”

“Of course it won’t change how he feels overall but might open the door a little more seeing you listen to him.”

“Daughter would get what she needed as well without feeling guilty or having to pressure her brother into doing something he most likely doesn’t want.”

“His wife really needs to stop forcing fairness when the issue isn’t a fairness issue.”

“I completely understand her fe was r of her son feeling left out but again that is solved by having a conversation and seeing what he actually wants. NTA.” ~ QueenLilRiot

“Is their dad uncontactable?”

“Usually the other parent needs to consent to an adoption, too.”

“And yes, I’d agree that forcing either one of them in either direction is bad.”

“Get your wife and you in to talk to a family therapist maybe?”

“TALK to James.”

“Do not give even a tiny whisper of an implication that you’d adopt him just so you can adopt happy little Becky.”

“Tell him Becky asked if you’d adopt her, but nothing’s been decided yet.”

“Tell him you want to know if he’d be ok with that.”

“Do you want him as your son? Sounds like no.”

“If yes, tell him that you do, and you want to adopt him but you support his decision about his own adoption either way.”

“If you don’t want to adopt him, tell him he’s still family to you, whether or not you adopt Becky.”

“And that she’s his sister first, not your daughter.” ~ Meghanshadow

“So Becky gets punished if her brother chooses not to be adopted.”

“Your wife isn’t being fair either.”

“She should have talked to you about adoption before having Becky ask you.”

“You are giving James the choice and she should respect his choice just as she should honor Becky’s wishes.”

“The door could always be open for James to be adopted too.”

“These are two different kids with different wants/needs and that is what she is not seeing.” ~ dragonmom03

“Why is your wife so hellbent on making one of the children miserable?”

“As you said, either way one of them is going to be upset.”

“James is older, he’s more independent and less likely to want to be adopted.”

“Becky is still young and in the family-centred phase, you’ve also been around for as long as she can remember.”

“James can remember life before you, maybe even his biological father.”

“Does you wife intend for Becky to guilt-trip James into saying yes?”

“Because that’s going to end up in James moving out and going low contact when he turns 18.”

“If James doesn’t say yes, then Becky’s heart is going to be broken and she’ll always feel like she wasn’t good enough to be adopted.”

“Either way, your wife is going to f**k over one of your kids. NTA.” ~ UnicornCackle

OP came back with more…

“Edit because I phrased it wrong: I will speak to him about it.”

“I just don’t want to because of how uncomfortable it’s making me.”

“As I know 99% he’s going to be unwilling (and my wife says if he says no then I can’t adopt Becky either out of fairness which is devastating) but I will speak to him.”

Well OP… Reddit is with you and Becky.

James will find his way.

Maybe the four of your should get some therapy and discuss what happens next.

Good luck.