There is no doubt having kids can be stressful. A parent’s work around the house is never done.
Redditor FosterFix understands this.
But after hearing about her sister’s plan to become a foster parent, she took definitive action that angered her sister and fractured an already troubled relationship.
FosterFix took to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit where she asked:
“AITA for telling a social worker the real reason my sister wants a foster kid?”
The Original Poster (OP) explained:
“I’m a 28 F[emale] and I have a sister (36 F). For the sake of story, I’ll just call her Jane.”
“Jane is married to ‘Bob’ and they have two kids, boy and a girl. My niece and nephew are wonderful kids and no trouble at all. They fight as siblings do but nothing big. I love them.”
“Now for about two years, I did live with my sister. It was a miserable time that really affected our relationship. She saw me as free labor, money and babysitting. Even when I managed to get a small part time job, she demanded I hand over nearly half my pay or get out.”
“It was hell as she took complete advantage of me. I moved out as soon as I could and we have little contact outside of family gatherings.”
“Now after I moved out, she started complaining how ‘She has no help with the kids and never gets a break!’ I babysit sometimes but I have made it clear, just cause I am off work, doesn’t mean I want an 8 hour day with my niece and nephew.”
“Anyway she started talking about how she wanted to foster a kid. Not a kid but a teenager. I pressed her for more info on this. She wants to adopt a teenager so she has a live in babysitter for her kids.”
“This is her logic: ‘I want a kid around 16 or 17, you know someone who may have been in the system for awhile. They can share a room with your nephew (she only has a three 3 bedroom house) or sleep in the garage.”
“They can help me with house work, chores, cook and help me with my business.(She bakes and sells cookies) Also babysit the kids so me and Bob can go out sometimes or have some alone time.”
“They’ll be so grateful for a home and won’t complain. I won’t have to pay them at all. And then when they turn 18, I can just sign up for another foster kid! A teenager will be so much easier than a little kid, they will be grateful just to have a roof, food, siblings if they have been separated from their real ones and clothes.'”
“I was horrified! Told her it was a horrible idea! She didn’t listen to me. She went on with it anyway. About a month ago, a social worker showed up at my apartment to ask me some questions about my sister. She had put me down as a character witness or something like that.”
“I immediately told the social worker why my sister really wanted to foster a kid and how she treated me when I lived with her. The lady thanked me.”
“My sister called crying saying that she wouldn’t be considered for any adoptions or fosters. The social worker told her that they felt her home and her weren’t a good fit. She asked if I said anything and I told the truth. She went off on me, hung up and we haven’t spoken since.”
“She has sent some angry texts. A couple family members are on her side. They think foster kids are f’king dogs or something and would be so happy just to have a roof and would gladly do all the housework.”
“So AITA here?”
Anonymous strangers weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH – No A**holes Here
Redditors praised the OP for looking out for the potential foster child.
“NTA. What you did was the ONLY ethical option.”
“Not only is this treating another human being like a LITERAL house slave (and a DISPOSABLE one at that), but older fosters tend to have been through a horrifying amount of abuse that means they often need a lot of help themselves.”
“Honestly, the plan to have him live in the same room as the younger children is generally not allowed for that exact reason–its incredibly common for sexually abused children to repeat the behavior to other children because they don’t know better and its been normalized (and I’m guessing the garage plan wasn’t even mentioned to the social worker because that is RIGHT OUT).”
“Older foster children are generally harder to place exactly because they generally need so much work, but all your sister sees is free labor. Unless she somehow lucks out with Actual Cinderella, her flippant plan is not only cruel but exposing her own children to potential physical and sexual abuse, drugs, whatever horrible things the foster child had to do to survive.”
“Also, I’d extremely not trust any family member that is on her side.”
“You shouldn’t be celebrated by adopting a child for your own gain–this is a just a genteel version of Victorian men scooping up orphans and forcing them to work as chimney sweeps and coal miners then discarding them when they get too big to do the work.” – Ayafumi
“NTA. Kids aren’t slaves and shouldn’t be treated as such.”
“I’m glad you got out of living with your sister, because she sounds difficult to live with, and you absolutely did the right thing to prevent a child from being treated like you did!” – La_Laith
The OP responded with details from living with her sister.
“She was very difficult to live with. My first job only paid me 400 at best sometimes and she would demand 350 in rent or get out.”
“She would walk around naked (don’t want to see my sister naked!), walk into my room and take my stuff, lose it and then not replace cause ‘it was in my house!’.”
“Once I woke up to my nephew asking when I was going to make breakfast. My sister and Bob were gone. They left for a weekend and left me with the kids.”
“I started drinking pretty heavy just to deal with the stress and even slept in my car sometimes so I wouldn’t go home. It got so bad that I had a system of climbing in and out my window to avoid her.”
A former foster kid’s story gave credence to the OP’s concerns.
“I was also a foster kid, but I was really quiet and eager to please. I was desperate to be adopted, and probably would have done exactly what this woman asked and then some, and wouldn’t have breathed a word about being unhappy to my social workers. But it would have been so damaging to me.”
“Foster kids are really vulnerable to exploitation in myriad ways. When I was a teenager living alone in an independent living placement (due to a severe shortage of foster homes in my area), I was befriended by a woman in my neighbourhood who had several children.”
“She had me over on holidays, was the only person who remembered my birthday, would sometimes have me stay over and sleep on her couch and do the mum-and-daughter things I hadn’t gotten to experience before, like doing my hair for school or packing me a lunch.”
“But her kindness was manipulation–she’d have me babysit her kids for eight to fourteen hours a day on weekends, have me come over for dinner and then babysit them on weeknights, and even push me to skip school in order to care for her children.”
“I thought she loved me, but she didn’t, she loved my labour. I felt the children were my own younger siblings, and on the very rare occasion I got any extra money, I’d spend it buying things for the kids or taking them out.”
“It took me years to extricate myself from the situation. It’s so damaging to be encouraged to think of love as something that you earn by giving and giving of yourself to other people.” – babyredpandas
The OP updated her post with an edit expressing her gratitude and left Redditors with this reminder:
“Remember no child is in control of the circumstances that may have landed them in the foster care system. They are children and still human.”
“They deserve a loving home and care.”
“Do right by a foster kid. And thank you again.”
It sounds like at least one sister has the right perspective when it comes to how to treat a child in a vulnerable situation.