I'm (16M), the oldest of four. My siblings are Calia (13F), Thea (11F), and Dex (10M). Our mom died eight years ago. Calia and I are the only ones who remember her, and I remember her more than Cal does. But we have always shared stories of our mom with Thea and Dex. I also have a bunch of photos and videos they've seen, and they do ask about her, including asking our dad sometimes.
Two years after mom died, my dad met my stepmom and married her pretty quickly (about seven months later). At the time, they spoke about her adopting the four of us. I said no. There was some debate between them, and they decided to hold off until she could adopt all four of us.
She was still new to me, so I found it incredibly weird to have someone offer to adopt me five months after I met them, especially when she and my dad were both aware that I remembered mom.
None of my siblings have ever called our stepmom "mom." Thea and Dex call her by a nickname, and Calia calls her by her name like me. But my siblings consider her a parent, while I consider her more my dad's wife.
The adoption topic never really went away, and a couple of years ago, I did some research and learned that adoption would alter my birth certificate, and I would be issued with a new one if I agreed. My stepmom's name would replace my mom's name as my mother. I did a lot of research on the topic because I knew the issue would reach a boiling point eventually. I even got to web chat with a local lawyer who knew the details of that stuff.
A couple of months ago, my siblings asked me why I mentioned downsides to being adopted, and I told them my stepmom's name would replace mom's on our birth certificates, and I did not want her to replace mom on mine. I showed them what I found. Calia understood, and Thea and Dex got it when we put it into more kid-friendly terms.
My dad and stepmom brought up the adoption again last week, and dad said it would be the last time, or they would proceed with her adopting my siblings. I said my answer remained no and gave them a very detailed speech on why.
My stepmom said I could always frame my original birth certificate if that would make it better and people would see it, but I would still be adopted and be her son. I said no.
When they did go to my siblings, they all said no and all said they didn't realize mom's name would be erased, and they didn't want that. My dad and stepmom tried to coax them out of their no, but they all said they didn't want it, and Calia said they only ever said yes because they felt like they should, not because they really wanted to be adopted.
My dad was furious with me and said it was all my fault and I had made them change their minds. He said I robbed them of the security adoption would provide and effectively made sure they would never truly see our stepmom as mom after such a big line in the sand was drawn. AITA?
Here are the top comments and responses from OP from the post:
NTA (Not the A%#hole). I don't blame you for not wanting your mom's name removed and your siblings made their own decisions. I think your dad is pushing you too hard on this. I'm sorry, this must all be very difficult for you.
He is. I know he sees this as insurance that we'd be taken care of if he died or something. But he doesn't get that we have a lot of family we're close to and who would all be willing to take us. Especially in the early days, thinking we should be left with someone we hardly knew did not seem like the best choice.
To me, when first asked to let her adopt me, it was no different than going into foster care because of how new she was to me and even to my dad, really. It's tough because I hate fighting with dad. But I know this is most likely what's broken our relationship forever.
That is not on you at all. He is your parent and should see what is happening with you and take responsibility for your siblings instead of putting it all on you. I also think they deserve to know what will happen to their birth certificates. If this is breaking your relationship, then I really think it isn't your fault. Your feelings make sense; you can only be yourself.
And OP replied again:
I think that's something my dad should have been upfront about. However, I think he knew it would always be a deal breaker for me. Through this whole thing he has been pushy and refused to listen. He involved therapists for a while but not for long.
If he allows this to wreck your relationship, he (and you) needs some serious help. He is the adult. If he can't be understanding, respectful, and accepting of your feelings about this, that indicates some deeper issues. None of that is your fault.
Even if you did go along with it to appease him, his unhealthy approach to this (and whatever other issues the two of you are having) is still present. It wouldn't fix anything in the relationship to back down. He needs to respect your decision and not place his emotional burdens on you.
I think the issue runs really deep but in a way that he will never work on. Dad lost mom too, and he wants to feel like a whole family again. He also wants to feel like he's doing the best for his kids.
He's feeling pretty disrespected that I am not closer to the woman he chose to join our family and bring in as a second mom. That feeling of being disrespected only grows when factoring in that I said no to being adopted since day one, and now even more so that my siblings said no.
He's discounting the fact that even kids can know enough about their world, family, and feelings to figure out that we can genuinely not want something that the adults/parents think is best.
I also think he changed a lot after mom died, and he has less patience and is more prone to anger. It's the kind of anger where he will become so bitter over time, and he probably won't give a damn about us ever talking in the future.
What are your thoughts? Is OP right to not want to be adopted or should he do this for his dad?