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Teen's refusal to accept stepfather's adoption offer changes younger brother's decision.

Teen's refusal to accept stepfather's adoption offer changes younger brother's decision.


"AITA for not agreeing to my mom's husband adopting me so my brother will agree?"


My brother (13m) and I (16m) lost our dad 10 years ago. Mom got married to Jared 6 years ago and after like a year my mom asked us if we would be okay with Jared adopting us and "maybe changing your last names to his or adding his as a hyphenated last name."

I said no and my brother followed. My mom decided we should discuss it some more in family therapy and we went for a few months, then we had no therapy when stuff closed down, and then we returned when in office therapy was back on the table. Throughout the stay in place order my mom would ask us about our feelings and if we were more open to the idea.

Recently my mom decided to try the divide and conquer way since the therapist mentioned that my brother said no because I was. She tried talking to my brother and he was adamant he would say no as long as I'm saying no.

Mom then sat me down and asked me why I was saying no. She told me she had a few very practical reasons to want the adoption to happen, including protection for us if she were to die so we could stay with her husband.

I asked her if that was because she knew I would want my extended family to fight for custody and to live with them but because she doesn't like them she wouldn't want that and knew my decision would carry some more weight unless I was adopted first.

She denied it initially but then said yes. Then asked me why I was against the adoption. I told her I didn't want another legal dad and did not want the protection being adopted would offer.

She then told me about my brother saying no because I'm saying no and she wanted me to agree so he would change his mind. I told her that won't happen and nothing she says will change my mind. She asked me to at least encourage him to be adopted and I told her I would not.

I did speak to my brother anyway and he said he doesn't want to do it if I'm not and it would feel weird to him to be adopted by Jared when I'm not. He doesn't remember our dad so the attachment isn't a reason for him like it is for me. I told him I wouldn't be mad at him if he said yeah. He said he knew that but still.

Mom and Jared sat me down and asked me again to say yes so he could adopt my brother and once again I said no. Mom started to cry and she got really angry with me. Jared said I was at the age where I could be mature and compromise on this.

He told me I might not love him but surely I don't hate him so much that I would rather end up in foster care than in his care if mom died. He also said I am putting my brother at risk. AITA?

Here were the top rated comments from readers:


Weird, they don't need any of this "in case something happens to your mom." It's probably already in her Will. Your last name has no bearing on custody plans in case of emergency. No judge is going to chuck you in foster care if you have family who can take you. And you're old enough that you could say to a judge where you want to go.

Talk to your family. And is there a grandparent or aunt who your mom listens to who can tell her to knock it off? Maybe a friend? Therapists shouldn't be helping her try to manipulate you. This doesn't sound like real therapy. If you want real therapy, see if you can get access to those resources through school.

And see if you can spend summers with your dad's family. And if they are willing to take you in case if emergency, have them send a letter to her to that affect, and have them talk to their lawyers. They can advocate for custody rights too! Question: are you going to college? Who will pay for that? Because that could be an additional fight/manipulation tactic.

The OP responded here:


There is nobody she would listen to on this, no. I can't think of a single person who would say something and she would listen. Nah, I'm not going to college. I'm going more the route of a trade.


NTA, I am appalled at the amount of emotional pressure and manipulation they are placing on you. You are old enough to make your decision and your brother can always change his mind in the future.

Your mom needs to make a will to make it legally know when she wants to happen to you and your brother if she passes away. The court would take that into consideration. Plus you are both old enough to make it know what you want if your mom dies.


nta they are deliberately misleading you both and being dishonest. brace yourself, I lost my mind reading this, because I was also pressured into being adopted at your age, when my mom passed, only in my case it was almost immediately after she died. So it's gonna be a little rant, but you really should pay attention.

Does your therapist know that whatever is being said in the sessions, she is using to weaponize her arguments and try to pressure you? 'oh brother won't be adopted cause you said no, you should just be adopted, so he will'

You might want to pass on a message about what's going on with the brother, either in front of her if you feel safe from her taking it out on you later, or by calling the office when neither of them are there, or during a recess during school hours to let them know what's going on, with a promise of privacy.

The receptionist can take a message and let therapist know what you said, if therapist is unavailable, after stressing privacy concerns.

"I could be mature and compromise on this"

there is no compromise on adoption. You can't 'half adopt' someone. They clearly have motives they are not being open about.

"He told me I might not love him but surely I don't hate him so much that I would rather end up in foster care than in his care if mom died."

You don't have to HATE someone to not want to be adopted by them. You just have to love them enough to WANT to, and that is not happening here.


NTA don’t let them talk you into anything you don’t want to do - stick to your guns. You wouldn’t go into foster care if your mum died, not if you’ve got extended family OR your mother’s husband both willing to take you in. And it’s not a compromise they’re asking for, they’re asking for you to just give them what they want. You’re doing great. NTA.

So, if you could give the OP any advice here, for the sake of themselves and their younger brother, what would you tell them?

Sources: Reddit
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