A Reddit user told of their recent situation where they refused to adopt their ex’s daughter, even after stating years before that they would follow through with this.
She Considered Adopting His Kids
After the Original Poster (OP) and her ex had a daughter, Emily, she considered legally adopting the ex’s two older children, Alex and Carter. While Carter was enthusiastic about the idea, Alex was not. As a result, the adoption was postponed.
However, a few years later, Carter expressed a strong desire to be adopted by OP. She agreed to proceed with Carter’s adoption and told Alex she was also willing to adopt her as well, should she ever change her mind.
After OP legally adopted Carter, their relationship with Alex began to deteriorate rapidly. Her behavior became increasingly difficult to handle, as she would frequently yell, become argumentative, and engage in destructive behavior, often blaming OP or their younger children for the chaos.
The Eldest Didn’t Want to Be Adopted
The most concerning aspect of Alex’s behavior was the way she treated Carter and Emily. OP often caught Alex calling Carter names, such as “stupid,” and generally putting him down in a hurtful manner.
Alex’s behavior towards Carter became increasingly malicious, going beyond verbal abuse. She would unplug his video games, and delete his game saves, causing him to lose progress.
Additionally, Alex would completely ignore Emily, to the point where she would walk through her playing area and claim she didn’t see her.
She Treated Her Siblings Poorly
OP noticed that Alex only acted this way when their ex was not around, but when OP tried to bring up the issue and suggest therapy, their ex refused to believe that there was a problem and refused to consider family therapy.
As time passed, the situation with Alex continued to deteriorate. Despite OP’s efforts to address the issue, her ex refused to acknowledge the problem, and the bullying persisted.
Eventually, OP realized that the situation was not going to improve, and decided to end the relationship. The divorce was finalized last year, and as a result, OP was granted primary custody of Carter (who is now 13) and Emily (who is now 6).
She Divorced Her Ex While Keeping Custody of Carter
During a recent visit by OP’s ex, their daughter Alex (who is now 16) was at OP’s place for the first time in a while.
Since that visit, Alex has been coming over every time her dad visits to pick up Carter and Emily. During a recent visit, Alex expressed a desire to be adopted by OP.
However, given the past history of her behavior and the turmoil it caused within the family, OP did not think it was a good idea and declined. Their ex then reminded OP that they had promised to adopt Alex if she changed her mind after OP had adopted Carter.
She Wants to Be Adopted Now
OP did not want to discuss Alex’s request in front of Carter and Emily, so they told the children that they would discuss the matter later and asked them to leave.
OP felt that Alex’s desire to be adopted was motivated by financial considerations, as OP has more money than her father.
This may have been the first time Alex realized the difference in their financial situation, as she had never been to OP’s house before.
During her recent visits, Alex made several comments about the size of OP’s house and things her father could not afford. OP was aware that her ex has been experiencing financial difficulties recently.
Despite feeling conflicted, OP had noticed that since Alex started visiting again, she had been much kinder to Carter and Emily.
This left OP with a difficult decision, as she did not want to risk Alex’s behavior towards the children worsening again if she denied her request to be adopted.
They Were Suspicious of Her Motives
Carter had picked up on Alex’s strange behavior and was suspicious of her, but Emily would be devastated if Alex started ignoring her again.
However, OP did not want to take on the legal responsibility of adopting a child who may only be pretending to like them and be nice for financial gain.
Reddit users largely agreed that OP is not in the wrong for refusing to adopt Alex, given that their previous offer to adopt and provide therapy had been refused when Alex was causing issues with their other children.
Many users noted that Alex’s sudden interest in adoption may be motivated by financial gain, given OP’s financial stability compared to her father’s recent financial difficulties.
Some users also expressed suspicion that the ex may be manipulating the situation to benefit himself.
Several users pointed out that Alex’s abusive behavior towards her siblings, particularly Carter, may resurface if she is adopted, and that OP should prioritize protecting her children.
Some users questioned the legal feasibility of an ex-step-mom adopting a former stepchild, particularly when there are no longer any familial ties.
Many users suggested that family counseling and therapy should take place before any decision about adoption is made.
What do you think? Should OP adopt the additional child?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Dean Drobot. The people shown in the images are for illustrative purposes only, not the actual people featured in the story.