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Single mom freaks when her friends insist on adopting her child. 'Am I going to lose my son?' AITA? UPDATED 3X

Single mom freaks when her friends insist on adopting her child. 'Am I going to lose my son?' AITA? UPDATED 3X


When this woman is disturbed by her son's friends parents, she asks the internet:

"My son's friend's parents want to adopt him. I am at a loss. AITA?"

I (24F) am a single mom to my son, Owen (8). It’s been just us since Day 1. His father isn’t in the picture and has been able to avoid child support for years now (yes, I’ve tried everything). My own parents disowned me.

I had to drop out of high school and have worked a myriad of jobs since then to keep us afloat. We aren’t on the poverty line by any means, but we definitely live paycheck to paycheck, in a one bedroom apartment. It’s not ideal and I hope within the next couple of years, we’ll be some place bigger. For now, it’s our situation.

I’ve raised Owen to know that money isn’t everything. We may not have a lot. He won’t always have the newest this or that. But we have each other. The two of us are very close.

He has never gone without the basics, but I admit, he doesn’t get a lot of fun extras. I try to save a little here and there to make birthdays and holidays fun, but it’s still never anything glamorous. And I think Owen was fine with that. Until recently, anyway.

In our area, all the public schools are based on a lottery system. So, your child has a fair shot of going to any of them, so long as you put in their name. Our neighborhood school is not great and in a pretty crappy area, so I decided to put him in a different one across town.

It’s near my job, so it works out. Last year, when he was in 2nd grade, he met Charlie. They began hanging out a lot after school, with Owen going to his place. I met Charlie’s parents, Nate and Paige a couple of times before this began.

They seemed very nice and supportive. Owen always had a great time at their house. Charlie occasionally came to our apartment, but usually they were at his place. Which made sense. I work and there’s really not much for them to do here, even when I am off.

Summer breaks are easy to find care, as there are several free or low cost camps that I can put Owen in. It’s the shorter breaks, such as Christmas and spring that are harder. Cam space is limited. Spring Break of 2022, I managed to just miss registration.

Paige is a stay-at-home-mom and offered to take Owen for the week. I was hesitant to ask so much of her but she insisted. He had a really fun time with them.

They did a ton of activities and Paige refused my attempts to pay her back at least some (I couldn’t afford all). I admit, I did feel a tad uncomfortable with her spending this much on my son, but at the same time, I didn’t want to deprive Owen of this stuff.

Summer came and while I did get Owen into camp, he spent a ton of time with Charlie as well. He ended up going on vacation with them. I was again, very hesitant, but the experience was something I could never give Owen and it wasn’t too far away. He had a blast.

I kept telling Nate and Paige that there’s no way I could ever pay them back and they kept insisting that they loved having Owen around. They told me what a great kid he is. Sweet, respectful.

At one point, I really pressed Paige as to why she was so insistent on having Owen around so much. That’s when she told me that they never planned for Charlie to be an only child, but all attempts at giving him a sibling just didn’t happen.

They know that Owen will never make up for not having a brother, but if they can give him a consistent playmate so he’s not lonely, they’ll do it.

Should this have been a red flag? Maybe. But at the same time, I found it sweet that the boys considered each other brothers. I thought it was innocent. Surely, Paige and Nate knew the truth. Right? Right?

This continued for a bit and come Christmas Break of 2022, Paige and Nate insisted that I not even bother to try to get Owen into a camp, they’d take care of him for me. I was grateful.

They ended up getting him more Christmas gifts than I did. I tried to set my pride aside because it was about Owen, not me. This is still when things finally started seeming off to me. I understood a gift on his birthday and while they didn’t get him as many gifts at they got Charlie, it was a lot more than you would typically get your kid’s friend.

Fast forward to now. Spring Break was last week and this time, Paige and Nate didn’t just offer to take care of him during the day while I worked, they asked if Owen could spend the entire week at their house. Honestly, it meant I could pick up some more shifts and save up for the bike Owen wants for his birthday. So, I said yes.

I went to pick him up on Saturday afternoon. The kids were playing out back, so Nate and Paige asked to talk to me. They sat me down and said they love Owen and he’s always such a joy to have. I thanked them profusely for all they’d done for him.

Paige suggested that Owen stay a little longer. I pointed out Easter was Sunday plus school started up on Monday. They said they could take him to school. I felt weird and said, no, it was time for Owen to come home.

That’s when Nate suggested that Owen stay with them long term. I could still see him, but they would take care of him. I thought they were joking and said “Like what, you’d be his guardians or something?”

They got quiet and the reality rushed over me. I pointed out that this wasn’t a movie. They can’t just get custody.

They started spouting some legal stuff about how I could assign them as guardians and they would help make this transition smooth. They told me to think about Owen and what’s best for him. I told them there was no way in hell I was going to give up my son.

I grabbed Owen and we left. I’ve blocked their numbers. Owen has no clue what’s going on. I’m keeping him home tomorrow and took the day off work to figure some stuff out. Legally, they can’t take him.

But now I know what they want and I’m terrified. I don’t want him going back to that school. Do we move? I’m so lost. And I feel so stupid because looking back, all the warning signs were there.

Before we give you OP's updates, let's take a look at some of the top responses:

craycr writes:

This happened to my best friend years ago!! She was attending a church as a single Mom with a toddler named Scott and a kid on the way. The woman who ran the nursery and nursery school at the church was named Donna.

Donna and her husband befriended my friend, started taking care of Scott when my bf was going to doctors appts and such, and Scott was enrolled in their church nursery school for free.

This helped my bf a lot because she also suffered from bipolar disorder and there were times it was difficult to care for the kids.

Her Mom lived a few blocks away and was always available to take Scott when needed, I was there for her too, but her Mom had her own younger kids and health care problems, and I worked four twelves out of town during the week, so bf was really thankful for Donna and the church.

Donna and her husband didn't have kids of their own but did foster children. When my bf was put on bed rest for her last three months of her pregnancy Donna offered to allow bf and Scott to move in with them so they could help care for them. My bf was so thankful for this offer that she never stopped to wonder why.

Four months later she has recovered from her very rough pregnancy and delivery of her sweet baby girl Bree, is ready to look for a new place to live, a new job, and get back to her own life. Donna and her husband were very nice but very restrictive and bf was ready to live her own life again.

Bf found an apartment she could afford and hired a truck and some friends to get her stuff out of storage and from Donna's house.

When they went to start moving the kid's furniture, Donna suggested they wait and her husband could move that in a week or so, give bf some time to get the house set up and settle in. That made sense so she did.

Donna stopped answering the phone the next day. Bf went by and called for three days and could not catch up with them. 4th day was Sunday but when she went to church Donna wasn't in the nursery and people were treating her funny.

On Monday morning she gets a knock at the door and it's a process server. Her kids have been handed over in an emergency procedure to Donna and husband because my bf "abandoned" her kids with them. It would take her six months to get them back.

They claimed my bf was a woman of low morals who used drugs and drank through her pregnancy.

This woman quit her bpd meds for her baby! Twice! She went through an emergency C section and surgery all at once because during labor some major blood vessel pulled away from her abdominal wall and she almost bled to death.

At the guardianship hearing Donna, her husband and several people from the church spoke about how much more deserving of my friend's children they were. About how they could give them a much better life, private schools, etc.

My bf's Mom and Sister, as well as I were there for my friend. I sobbed on the stand as I told the judge about that week where my bf had no idea where here kids were, and how these people who claim to be Christians were torturing my friend by not allowing her access to her own baby to breast feed her or care for her.

They wouldn't even let Scott call my friend Mom at visitations anymore. He had to call her by her given name.

Well, this didn't sit well with the judge, nor did the weekly drug scans that were negative, nor did the accusations of drug and alcohol use where they had no witnesses of such.

The judge gave custody of my bf's kids right back to her that day. Right then. When Donna said she didn't have the kids with her, she left them at the church nursery, the judge faked outrage and said "You mean you abandoned these children?"

Donna angrily said they were with the nursery workers who were experienced child care help. Then he said "Isn't that what bf did when she trusted you?"

The judge made them go with a social worker to pick up Scott and Bree and bring them back to the courthouse while my bf waited. Donna cried and said the baby didn't know who my bf was, and they needed time to let the kids adjust. Nope. Get them now.

I always though their actions were butt crazy out of left field stuff. Then my ex MIL tried to take my kids from me. I still thought it was some butt crazy thing.

Now, after reading stuff here on Reddit, I am blown away that people actually think you will be okay with them taking your kids simply because they want your kid. But they do. That is some messed up stuff.

Tell your son the truth, that his friends parents wanted to take him away from you, and that you would never let that happen.

Tell him that if he sees them at school or around the neighborhood, he is not to go with them for any reason, and establish a password that anyone not you has to give him to go with them if you aren't around. (Be sure and share it with your parent and/or trusted backup.)

He can still be friends with his friend at school, but unfortunately they can't play together after school. Check in with the school and let them know that unless someone is on your trusted list, or has the secret password you have given your son, he is not to leave with anyone else, and certainly no other parent.

Make them aware that you are worried about him being snatched by someone. You don't have to give them details.

And I would suggest def that you get both of you into some counseling. This is some next level stuff and I wouldn't be surprised if DSS doesn't visit you on an "anonymous tip" later. Let all your family know in case these whack jobs try to do an end run to them.

Hugs. I am so sorry this happened to you.

carolinebbb writes:

I am a foster parent, and from my experience, the state isn’t out looking for little reasons to take kids away. It takes a lot to lose your parental rights (at least where we live). If this has happened like you wrote, then I don’t see any reason for the state to step in and do anything.

I do think in our area an older child has to have their own bedroom though, so I don’t know about the one bedroom apartment. If for some reason the state did get involved, they wouldn’t just take your son, they would tell you to move to a place that has another bedroom for him.

Again I’m speaking from experience in our state. If you go 6 months without contact with your child, then that would be considered abandonment, and then the state would file for termination of parental rights. You haven’t done that, but maybe these other parents were trying to set you up for that?

I don’t know, but they don’t sound like someone who has your best interest in mind. Let the school know no one is to pick up your son but you.

Maybe even switch schools, if possible. Sorry you are going through this, I admire you for working so hard to provide for you son. Unfortunately, there are a lot of parents out there that don’t.

6am7am writes:

It's one thing to offer support for a single parent with less means. It's another to take up guardianship of someone else's child. They're not thinking right and Owen would always be "second class" to their son.

They think they're doing you and Owen a favour, but they're really just "buying" their son a brother and playmate. It's so weeeeiiird.

This is a tricky and complicated moment though because they will have developed a strong trust with Owen, and can easily use Charlie to manipulate Owen against you.

I don't know if telling Owen would be ideal (you don't want to burden kids) but leaving him in the dark also seems risky, because as a single mum you can easily be targeted and have him turned against you.

Seeking assistance from authorities like police and the school, getting advice on how best to protect and inform your son, and keeping records, seem ideal. Good luck. You are a great mum and don't let anyone convince you otherwise.

ashamedadd writes:

Adding this here in hopes OP sees this: I can't believe what I just read! Where the hell do they get off thinking they can adopt your son?

You're a hardworking mom who gives your son a safe home, a good school, and makes sure his needs are being met. You work extra shifts to make sure you can do extra special things like the bike for his upcoming birthday.

Please contact the school first thing tomorrow. You need to speak with his teachers, the principals, and probably the guidance counselor. Call around to get some legal advice. You need someone in family law (maybe they can also finally get you CS as well) that can give you advice on what steps to take with these crazy people.

Also, contact child services and let them know what's going on, be prepared to have them tour your home, speak with your employer, and with Owen, this is just to prove you are a good mom.

This puts you on the offensive rather than playing defense if psycho parents(my new term going forward for Paige and Nate) try to report you for being an unfit parent. I'm sorry, this next part will be in all caps because it's important, I'm not yelling at you, just speaking with conviction and passion.

YOU'RE NOT AN UNFIT MOM, YOU'RE A GREAT MOM!!! I'm not sure you can go to the police at this point, that's why you should speak with a lawyer in the next couple of days. Call around and see if anyone does free consults or offers payment plans or discounts.

Like other people have said, save EVERY SINGLE text from psycho parents, every voice-mail, snap, email, basically save every single communication with them, including call logs.

Get a spiral notebook and write out a timeline of everything you've said here with details (save this post, do not delete it), add any other details or instances that may have been left out. Write about what happened before and after sorting break and the conversation with psycho parents.

Take this to the lawyer and CPS and the school. Add things to it if needed as you remember more details or if anything else happens. Try to add dates and times if you know them. If not, give an approximate date(s)/times and put in (approx) next to the entry. This will be very useful in the event you need to get a restraining order.

My last piece of advice is to get a therapist for Owen ASAP, meet with them by yourself first (maybe over the phone so you don't have to get a sitter) and ask them to help you explain things to Owen in a way that won't overwhelm him or give him too much information.

But, he needs some since really this is about him and safety is important. Owen's doctor, CPS, Owen's school, or a lawyer may be able to help you find a child therapist. Or perhaps a social worker or the school counselor could help you explain things in an age appropriate manner to Owen.

You need to make a decision in the coming days if you're going to pull Owen out of his current school. That may not be possible until next school year, though. If it's not, then you need to decide if you are okay with Owen and Charlie playing at school and still being friends. Again, get help from a professional to explain to Owen why there is change.

No matter what you do, please remember the all caps above. Just in case you need a reminder, YOU ARE A GREAT MOM!!! Good luck with everything. Please keep us updated!

I hope psycho parents get a massive reality check that you can't just take someone else's child or even do what they did to you and to Owen! Sending you big hugs! Keep being the amazing mama bear that you are!

And now, OP's update, later that day:

While I understand those saying they potentially meant well and weren’t trying to be offensive…it’s still a risk I can’t take. It’s not like they offered to take him every so often. They wanted him full time, permanently.

To those who said I should just let them…please pass me whatever drugs you are on. I will never give up my son. Do we have the newest this or that? No. We have our needs met. I love my son and I am not letting him go.

As for everyone else, I took your advice and reached out to the school. I told them that Paige and Nate are no longer allowed to pick up Owen and explained I do not feel safe with them around each other. They understood.

There’s not much they can do outside making sure they never pick him up. It’s too late in the year to move classes but next year, Charlie and Owen will not be in the same class.

I notified the police but again, they can’t do much. We have zero in writing and a simple request to have my child isn’t really breaking any laws. Unfortunately all I can do is hope they don’t try anything.

I still haven’t spoken to Owen. I think it’s fine if he talks to Charlie and plays with him at school, but I have to find a way to explain why they can’t have play dates or sleepovers. As well as to never to go anywhere near Nate and Paige. I guess that’ll come in time.

I’ll update again if anything happens. I’m hoping this is the end. As some of Nate and Paige’s defenders said, they did take my “no” well. So hopefully they realize how totally out of bounds they were and leave us alone.

Update 2:

Monday night, I talked to Owen and explained that Nate and Paige were not safe. He was confused and I explained that they wanted to take him away from me. I think it spooked him as he started crying, saying he didn’t want to leave me and he didn’t want to see them again. I held him and assured him he wasn’t going anywhere.

He understands he is never to go anywhere with them and that the school is taking measures to protect him. I said he could still talk and play with Charlie at school. He said he doesn’t want to.

I was honestly worried he’d hate me but you all were right. Telling him the full story made him realize how serious it was. He understands the gifts and trips will stop and says he’s alright with it.

Also, I wanted to address one last thing: I’ve gotten a few people offering me money or gifts. Please do not do that. I am very appreciative but that was not the purpose of this post. If you wish to do something, donate to your local shelter or other charity. Owen and I are not in need, I’d rather see it go to people who need it.

I didn’t see Nate or Paige at drop off, nor have I gotten any contact (but then again, I did block them everywhere). Thank you all for your help. I’ll update if anything else happens (hopefully it won’t).

Update 3:

I have tried to post this update in True Off My Chest but it keeps getting autodeleted. Since I have so many followers, I figured I'd update here and hopefully it gets around. Well, what everyone feared would happen, did.

Tuesday, he returned to school. I told him he could still talk with and play with Charlie. I was hesitant to drop him off but figured you can’t live in fear.

Most afternoon, my son takes the bus to a local rec center for aftercare. I had already told the school everything and that Nate and Paige were not to pick Owen up. I managed to call and even make sure he got on the bus. Aftercare was also made aware of the change in pick up list.

Well, a half hour later, I get a call that Paige had tried to pick up my son. The front desk refused to release him. Didn’t say why, just that she was no longer on the list. It all escalated so quickly. She wouldn’t leave and the police were called. She was escorted out of the building.

While she wasn’t brought to jail, there is a police report and I am using this to go to court and get an order of protection. Paige and Nate are also banned from the rec center so if they *do* show up, they will get arrested for trespassing.

The police are working on ways to protect us and the local social services office has been made aware of the situation, so should they try to make a claim, they’re aware of the situation.

What do YOU make of OP's story? Any advice for her?

Sources: Reddit
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