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Man adopts BIL's daughter; calls him 'a joke' when he tries to hug her. AITA?

Man adopts BIL's daughter; calls him 'a joke' when he tries to hug her. AITA?


"AITA for calling my BIL 'a joke of a father' in front of his wife and kids?"


My sister Rachel was married to Daniel (40m) for 8 years. They were high school sweethearts and they tied the knot shortly after their graduation. They had a daughter together, Alice (16f), who was Rachel’s entire world.

Rachel ended up being diagnosed with cancer when she was a few weeks away from delivery and after Alice was born, she started chemo asap. It ended up being treatment resistant and aggressive, and Rachel ended up passing by the time Alice was 2.

Daniel emotionally checked out completely. He decided to take a job opportunity abroad, and he left Alice in mine and my wife’s custody. At first he said it was temporary, that he just needed to get things in order before Alice came to live with him, but eventually it was obvious that it would be much longer.

He signed his rights over to us, and we've been raising her alongside our three sons. As far as the boys are concerned, Alice is their big sister, and as far as Alice is concerned, they’re her little brothers.

Daniel got remarried, and he had two daughters. Alice wasn’t invited to the wedding, we only found out about it after his brother mentioned it to us.

Daniel does send money for her, and they write letters back and forth like he and Rachel used to do in school. I know that there has to be some part of him that loves his daughter, but it’s hard to believe it considering how he practically abandoned her after Rachel died.

Daniel’s brother Wes has helped out a bit with Alice too. She’ll go over to his house at least once a month to see him, his wife, and their kids.

A few days ago, I was taking Alice over, and when we got there, we saw that Daniel + his wife and kids were there. I was ready to get back in the car and take Alice home but Daniel saw us and came outside.

He came up to Alice and tried to hug her but she stepped back from him. He looked hurt and when he asked why she didn’t want to give her dad a hug— I snapped. I asked how he could seriously stand there and refer to himself as her dad when all he’s ever been to her is a pen pal. I called him a joke of a father and a sorry excuse for a man.

His wife and their daughters overheard what I said. When Alice and I got back home, Wes called me and left a message saying that he agrees that Daniel hasn’t been the best father to Alice, but I didn’t need to tell him that in front of his wife & their kids. Daniel feels the same way.

I did apologize to Alice for disparaging her father, but she just shrugged and said it would’ve only been disparaging if it wasn’t true.

My wife said she probably would’ve done worse if she’d been there, but part of me does feel that I could have said it out of earshot of his children.

Here are the top rated comments from readers:


I’d say your heroic behavior in stepping up as a father figure for 14 years makes up for one slight AH comment - and the only reason it was an AH comment was because it was in front of his kids. NTA they’ll understand when they are older.


NTA sounds like it was something he need to hear tbh. The only way I'd have a problem with this would be if Alice was embarrassed and she wasn't.

Honestly he probably also needs to hear that Rachel would be absolutely devastated to see what he did to their family. But maybe that's a thought for next time.


Not the best father to Alice? Is Wes joking? Daniel has never been a father to Alice. NTA


NTA. His wife knows what he is doing (being just a pen pal to his daughter). The two daughters will eventually get older and form their own opinions. Hell even his daughter Alice said it was true.


NTA Literally the only possible way you could have been the slightest bit of an a**$ole here is if Alice was upset about what you said. And even then, it would be so minor compared to what your BIL did that I'd still vote him the a**hole. And her brother isn't much better.

It's nice that they see Alice once a month for a visit, but they clearly enable your BIL and have justified his atrocious actions. How dare they expect Alice to still consider this pen pal her DAD?! What you said wasn't just true, it had surely been building up for quite some time.

And then to have to just accidentally stumble upon them, when they clearly didn't even try to visit Alice while they were here?! My blood is boiling just thinking about it.

Also, I just want to say that you and your wife are the furthest thing away from being a**$oles. And I am genuinely so grateful that Alice had the two of you to step in after she lost her mother and was abandoned by her father.

And the fact she took on a big sis role to your three boys is just the sweetest thing ever. I hope Alice, your boys, and the only real parents she currently has here on earth (you and your wife) all the happiness in the world.

So, do you think this OP was being unfair or was he protecting his adopted daughter from a toxic family relationship?

Sources: Reddit
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