We have a responsibility to face the consequences of our actions.
We have a duty to think about our choices, measure out their ramifications, and take appropriate steps.
What happens, though, when someone makes a decision, takes an action, and tries to leave you dealing with the consequences?
This was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) JPMartian90 when they came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for some outside opinions.
“AITA for not wanting to be a guardian for a disabled family member?”
OP began with the history involved.
“Long story short:”
“When I was 10 my grandparents adopted three girls from an impoverished country and brought them to the states.”
“My parents felt a bit slighted, because they then chose to ignore anything my siblings and I did, and never took an active interest in lives, but that is moot point.”
“Fast forward to now, I’m 31, wife is 32.”
“We have decided to not have children of our own.”
Everything was fine, until…
“My grandfather is approaching 80 years old and the discussions has come up as who is going to take guardianship of the two girls who have disabilities that require full-time caretaking.”
“First and foremost my uncle and my father are the first in line, but as they age the responsibility falls to my siblings and I.”
OP made their wishes known.
“In these discussions I have been extremely adamant that I do not want to be held responsible for an adult with the capacity of a child when I don’t want children of my own.”
“This has met some obvious ire from my family, denoting my wife and I as selfish, evil people.”
“I don’t really know the girls my grandparents adopted well, but I harbor no ill will toward them, just don’t want to bear the burden of someone else’s good intentions.”
They were left to wonder:
“Am I being selfish or is my family setting unreasonable expectations?”
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NTA
Some responses were very direct.
“You are not responsible for decisions your grandparents made decades ago.” ~ nim_opet
While others pointed out that this all comes down to planning.
“They, the parents/current guardians, are the ones responsible for developing a real, viable plan for their disabled children’s ongoing care.”
“By ‘real, viable plan’ I mean a thoughtfully constructed, written down, financially-backed, and legally binding plan which was developed in conjunction with estate planners, attorneys, medical professionals, etc., and involves willing potential guardians.”
“So when they hear you say ‘no,’ and come back with guilt trips/variations of you’re ‘evil and selfish’ what I hear is: ‘my planning responsibilities for my children are incomplete because I don’t yet have a willing guardian lined up.'”
“‘But instead of continuing on my search, I’m just going to take a sh*tty and short-sided shortcut, and pretend I have the entitlement and moral authority to just force this onto someone against their will.'”
“They possess neither the entitlement nor the moral authority.”
“They are the ones failing their kids by failing to plan. You are not.”
“They also can’t force you to forever rehash this argument or just sit there and get worked over/guilt-tripped.”
“You can say ‘no’ to taking on the responsibility AND ‘no’ to having any further discussion about it.”
“‘My answer is no, and that’s final. It’s no longer up for discussion.'”
“And if they won’t respect that, then leave.”
“Don’t engage or angrily say stuff as you’re walking away, just stand up and literally leave the room or house.”
“Or hang up. Or mute texts. Or do whatever it is that removes yourself from the particular situation.”
“And you have to do that – reinforce the boundary – every single time, no exceptions, so they don’t get mixed messages about what you’re doing.”
“And it might take several times doing that (and an angry/shocked/upset reception to it each time) for it to sink in that you’re serious.”
“But that doesn’t mean you’re wrong to establish the boundary, just that they’re stubborn.” ~ PARA9535307
“Your uncle and father can agree all they want, if you’re not part of that discussion and agreement and do not give consent then it’s not your responsibility.”
“If your family has such issue with it – then why aren’t they stepping up to support?”
“Seems pretty irresponsible on your grandparents part to adopt children now adults who need such a high level of care without a care plan in place for after they’re unable to provide care.”
“NTA at all.”
“Stand your ground. Your choices are valid.” ~ wanesandwaves
“People don’t consider the future far too often when making decisions like this.”
“Having arrangements made about who will care for your child(ren), disabled or not, should be figured out before having or adopting them.”
“Further, the person or people who will be doing the caregiving absolutely need to consent to this.”
“The unbridled arrogance and entitlement of demanding one’s other child(ren) care for their siblings after the death of the parents never ceases to piss me off.”
“You didn’t choose to be a parent and you didn’t choose to be their parent.”
“It’s not your responsibility and to hell with anyone who tells you otherwise.” ~ SkinImmediate3211
Commenters pointed out the entitlement involved.
“It never ceases to amaze me the presumptuousness that some people have.”
“‘Well, sure, OP and wife don’t want kids, but it seems totally reasonable that they’ll want to take on the massive responsibility of caretaking two disabled adults that we adopted.'”
“‘Of course we didn’t need to make any plans for their care, we knew that our family would be delighted to take over from us.'”
“You’re not in the least an AH – it is a massive responsibility to look after someone else.”
“And you’ve already made it quite clear that you have no desire to look after anyone but your wife (who will obviously be doing the same for you)…”
“NTA.” ~ ieya404
“They shouldn’t be your responsibility.”
“You made a conscientious choice not to have children, that doesn’t mean they can unload grown children into your lap.”
“I know it sounds horrible, but so is dumping people you barely know into your lap.”
“Even if that was your choice, can you afford them and all the medical bills they will have?”
“Do you even have room in your house for them?”
“No, let them figure out what to do. They made their beds and they can lay in them. While their intentions were good, it isn’t good for them to try to force them onto you.” ~ Kirin2013
Some responses were dispassionately logical.
“They are not your moral or legal responsibility.”
“Even if you wanted children, having to take care of severely disabled adults is not something most people would take on unless they had a strong relationship to that person.”
“At any rate, the disabled people will become wards of the state and so it is up to the state to find them suitable care when your grandparents die.”
“Your grandparents should have been doing this years ago because it was inevitable given their age that they would die and these ‘kids’ would need substantial care.”
“Your parents can take over some form of guardianship to ensure that the children are being taken care of in the interim while they are transferred to some form of group home.”
“If anything they will be better off since no one can afford to be the full-time caretaker of 3 adults unless they are extremely wealthy so it is better if the state has all responsibility for this.” ~ Jujulabee
While other commenters did point out who was responsible.
“I don’t find what they did endearing at all.”
“Absolutely ridiculous and irresponsible of your grandparents to adopt children requiring lifelong care when they knew they were too old to be able to commit to that.”
“They should have come up with a proper care plan, and if they couldn’t afford that, they shouldn’t have adopted them at all.”
“(Even if they didn’t know the full extent of the health issues, they should have considered the possibility at the time. They were already parents FFS, they should have already had these questions on their radar)”
“It really boils my piss when people do stuff like this.”
“It’s as if they want to make themselves look good to everyone else by showing how ‘selfless’ they are, and in reality, they are making promises that they can’t keep and passing the buck onto somebody else who never wanted that responsibility.”
“It’s very sh*tty, selfish behaviour and I’m amazed that anybody really believes that they were trying to do something nice.”
“This is their problem to solve, not yours.”
“Please don’t take any of this sh*t on board. Just get on with your own life and try to learn from your grandparent’s stupid mistakes.” ~ Skellyinsideofme
Having the self-awareness to know a certain responsibility is too large for you to handle is an underrated skill.
Be accepting of those who tell you where those limits are, because it can be a very uncomfortable place to put oneself.