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Teen says 'no' to being adopted by stepmom after mother's death. AITA?

Teen says 'no' to being adopted by stepmom after mother's death. AITA?


“Step parents are not around to replace biological parents, rather to augment a child’s life experience.” -Azriel Johnson

While this quote is a touching reminder that family is not stagnant and can evolve and grow to include new, important members of our lives, it's not always that simple. One daughter was distressed by her stepmother's insistence on adopting her after her mother's death. She tried to explain her feelings but she is worried that her rejection is creating a deeper divide in her newfound family.

AITA for not wanting my step mom to adopt me and become my mother?


For a little backstory I’m F(17) and my mother passed away when I was 12 from a drunk driver. It was extremely tough on me and my entire family. I was her only child and was very close with her.

My dad M(46) got re married a little over one year after my moms death. It wasn’t easy for me to accept that my dad has to move on. He got married pretty soon into his relationship which was also not easy for me to come to terms with.

His wife F(35) was one of his former co workers and she’s nice but has been a little pushy for me and her to have a relationship. I definitely didn’t like her in the beginning because I was still not done grieving my mother.

Her and my dad have 2 kids together and sometimes when we’re in public or in social settings they obviously call her mom but I call her by her name.

She’ll say you can call me mom and I say thank you and don’t because she isn’t my mom. In the beginning she talked my dad into removing all of my mom’s pictures in the house, we didn’t but her asking rubbed me the wrong way. We moved from our old house and the only pictures of my mom are in my room now which I’m ok with.

Recently my 17th birthday passed. We had a little party at the house just the family and my step grandparents and her sister. After we did dinner and had cake they all set up a surprise in the living room. My dad and her were sat on the couch and my step-aunt was recording.

The surprise was her asking to adopt me and become my mom. I didn’t instantly react but I just started crying. I couldn’t control it.

I didn’t say anything and walked away. Later that night my dad came to talk to me and said I should accept her proposal and merge the family. He told me locking myself in my room and not saying anything to her was rude and I told him I wasn’t accepting bc I have a mom and don’t need her to replace her.

I felt it was wrong in my heart and that I’ve accepted she’s my stepmom but I don’t have to call her mom or act like I’ll ever love her as a mom.

The next morning he told me she cried and I need to apologize for how I reacted and reconsider my decision. I spoke with her that day and explained how I didn’t want to do it and she said she’s very hurt and that it’s rude of me to not accept her after so many years.

I feel like accepting would be like erasing my mom from my life. I know she’s not here but giving my step mother that title feels wrong.

Here is what readers had to say after reading this young woman's story:


NTA Hun and I'm so sorry. This is manipulative and incredibly cruel of them. She did this on your birthday, in front of an audience on purpose because she was trying to trap you into saying yes.

The best advice I can give you is to work on emotionally distancing yourself from them and focus on moving out ASAP. Your dad, I fear, will never have your back the way that you need him to but perhaps if you were to go to therapy together, that might help? Your step mother sounds truly awful. I'm sorry about your mum xx


I don't even think they were being manipulative and calculating or trying to trap OP by doing it on her birthday. I think they're just delusional and incredibly oblivious to OP's feelings; that they GENUINELY thought this was a nice birthday surprise that she'd be happy about. Which, I think, makes them even bigger a**holes.


Absolutely NTA. She could ask, sure, but this is YOUR choice. I’m so sorry that the adults in your life are forcing this on you. It doesn’t sound like you did anything wrong. Do you have any other family that you talk to? Maybe your mom’s side of the family?

The OP responded:


Thank you so much! And I don’t have any of my moms family close all my family lives out of state or in a different country. I have spoken with my paternal grandparents and they were completely on my side and spoke to my father about it. (I don’t think they ever liked my step mom). But they agreed to helping me figure something out and moving in with them.


NTA. Its only been 5 years since you lost your mom in a truly devastating and traumatic way. There is no schedule on grief and just because your father was able to move on so quickly does not mean you should. They should be ashamed of themselves at trying to coerce you into this.


Send your dad this link and let him read it cause he is so wrong. Plus, as an adult, I'm suspect about a few things. Was there an insurance payout or a wrongful death suit? I'm wondering if some of this is actually yours because you were a minor. Especially things like SSI.

I don't buy the relationship timeline. Last, your stepmom could be a friend and mentor, but it doesn't require her to take your mom's spot. Of course NTA.


NTA But your dad is one for not respecting your feelings. It's all about SM feelings. You're the one who lost your mom, and they keep disregarding your feelings. You do not owe anyone an apology. They put you on the spot, knowing already how you feel about her. They thought you wouldn't be able to say no with all those witnesses.

It's a delicate situation, but what would you say to this daughter to give her piece of mind?

Sources: Reddit
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