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Man refuses to be adopted late in life to 'emotionally appease' younger stepsiblings. AITA?

Man refuses to be adopted late in life to 'emotionally appease' younger stepsiblings. AITA?


When this man is disturbed by his family's complicated request regarding his adult adoption, he asks Reddit:

"AITA for refusing to be adopted to present this nicely packaged story to my young stepsiblings when they're older?"

My (M) dad got married to Eve last year. Eve has two kids. Her son is 4 now and her daughter is 2. There's a lot of deep stuff in Eve's background and in the kids' with their paternal side of the family. But they really had nobody other than Eve until my dad and Eve met.

Once they got married my dad adopted them. Then my dad's relatives didn't want the kids to be treated the same as the rest of the grandkids and told dad they would never mean as much to them as the rest of the bio family would, so he told them to get lost and cut ties with them.

When all three other sides (dad's, Eve's and the kids paternal side) were basically not in the picture dad asked my mom's family (my mom died when I was 2) if they would embrace my stepsiblings as family and treat them the way they would me because they were now my siblings and my family and I loved them so it was important for me to see them being embraced by my family.

My family actually asked me if what dad said was true and I told them it wasn't. I said I hardly even knew the kids let alone loved them. My family told my dad they would never see my stepsiblings as their grandkids.

I should also maybe make it clear that my dad and maternal family did not remain close or like family after my mom died. I still saw my family but dad was never involved and he would go to his own family when I was with mine.

I never liked my dad's family so it was never a huge deal to me to not see them and it's not a huge deal not to have them around at all. They were always really annoying about how girly I am and they could never believe I would want to have a "manly" job when I graduate.

Eve was pretty depressed when she realized she hadn't made her kids' family all that much bigger and that they had been rejected even more. So dad decided that we would be the tightest little unit and we would all "choose each other" so they would know they were chosen and loved despite all the rejection.

My dad decided for this to fully work I should let Eve adopt me. I refused without hearing anything else and I told him Eve will never adopt me and I don't care how much of a nice story it paints for her kids because I am not doing that for them. He told me they are little and Eve said it would mean so much to them.

Dad told me part of being a big sibling is putting the younger kids first. I have to emotionally appease them. I told them the kids were never going to be my priority and I would never go out of my way for them like that.

Dad offered a compromise then of me writing and signing a contract saying I would always be their big brother and I was so lucky to choose two awesome siblings which I said no to as well.

Then the adoption stuff was pushed more. Eve tried telling me I would still be able to call her Eve most of the time but just call her mom in front of her kids. Dad told me I was being selfish for refusing to do this and reiterated that the kids should be our priority. AITA?

Let's see what readers thought.

themadmagpielies writes:

NTA - most of the US, the age of majority (for contracts and such) is 18, except AL & NE, which are 19 and MS, which is 21, I think? So this contract nonsense is unenforceable, but they might use it as evidence that Eve can adopt OP without their consent? I doubt a judge would fall for that? Regardless it’s super shady.

I bet their next shady play is to try to make their paying for any part of your college contingent on you being adopted.

OP, how long have your dad and Eve been together? This all seems very rushed. It seems like they have skipped step 1, which is building a relationship with Eve & her kids before ever considering adoption. I would be pushing family counseling, regardless, because the relationship with the 3 of you is a mess.

Their obsession with being a tight family unit seems like a them issue, that a family counselor might help defuse. I would be blunt with the counselor that them pushing the adoption thing is making you consider going non-contact as an adult.

That said, if you have no interest in forming more than a casual relationship with Eve & her kids, that’s OK. Just because your dad married Eve doesn’t make you all instant family. Relationships take work from all sides and they need to match the effort building one with you that they are demanding from you.

I would also talk about all of this with your support system on your Mom’s side so they are in the loop and can fully support you. Good luck OP!! Not a lawyer.

ejkemma writes:

NTA. But unlike many others here, I don't believe your dad and Eve are the AH either. I think they really want the big happy family and they are being rejected at every turn. Your dad's family are the AH on the other hand. Your dad adopted these kids, so they are legally his.

They shouldn't be treated differently from the other grandchildren. However, none of this is your responsibility or your burden to bear. It's Dad and Eve's problem.

Hopefully your younger siblings (not stepsiblings anymore since they've been adopted) won't suffer too much mental trauma from the family rejection, and hopefully you can get away from the drama soon yourself. I wish you all the best.

redmoggy writes:

NTA. The hypocrisy of parents forcing kids to accept/love their step-siblings without an ounce of effort or patience to let them bond organically, to then accuse their own child of being selfish, when they are the ones that get married (often without checking with their kids how they feel about their new partner) and naively assume the marriage certificate makes them a family.

This just baffles me and makes me wonder if those parents know their kids are human beings, with independent feelings and values of their own.

Looks like OP is NTA. Any advice for him?

Sources: Reddit
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