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Man Explains Why He Is Adopting His Stepdaughter, But Not His Stepson — Asks If It Makes Him A 'Bad Person'

Photo: fizkes / Shutterstock 
Stepfather and kids

Families come together in various ways, as many people who have step-parents or siblings know to be true.

Some decide to become a family officially on paper and stepparents adopt their stepchildren.

One man shared his reasoning for why he ultimately decided to adopt his stepdaughter while opting not to adopt the girl’s brother — his stepson.

The man revealed that his future stepdaughter asked him to adopt her.

Posting his story on the subreddit, r/AmITheA–hole, he asked other Redditors if he was wrong for adopting his stepdaughter and leaving his stepson out.

The 41-year-old man began by sharing that he and his 39-year-old wife have been married for two years and together for five.

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He revealed that his wife had two children from a previous marriage, a son named James and a daughter named Becky. 

“I met them both after about six months of being with my wife and we all moved in together after a year,” he wrote.

Recently, 8-year-old Becky approached him and asked him an important question.

“Becky asked me to adopt her, which I thought was incredibly sweet and I was very moved,” he shared.

He added that Becky and James’s biological father isn’t involved in either of their lives and they haven’t seen them in years.

“I've cared for her since she was very small and she thinks of me like her dad so I of course said yes and was willing to start looking into the process legally.” 

Becky asked her mother in advance if she could ask him to adopt her, to which she happily agreed.

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Later, his wife spoke to him privately and advised him that if he adopted Becky, then he must adopt 15-year-old James “out of fairness.” 

However, he claimed that he was “absolutely not going to do that.”

He says he and his stepson are not as close as he and his sister are.

The man detailed the rocky relationship he’s had with James from the start.

“He's never liked me and has no interest in bonding with me,” he wrote. 

“He won't come on one-on-one days out with me and never really has, will barely speak to me, doesn't want me to come to his school sports, doesn't want me to know about his life or his friends or his hobbies, etc.”

He added that he has stopped trying to force a relationship with James after realizing how unhappy James was in his presence.

“So you can see why I really don't think this kid would want me to adopt him. I'm not his dad, I'm not sure he even really thinks of me as a stepdad but as his mother's husband,” he wrote. 

When he expressed this matter to his wife, she ridiculed him for “treating the kids differently” and for “excluding” James from the family.

Although, he does not want to adopt James unless James asks him to as he is uncomfortable with offering to adopt him.

“I know he's just a kid, and we haven't asked him if he wants me to adopt him yet so maybe this is a moot point anyway, but I don't even want to offer because I just feel so uncomfortable. Maybe I am a bad person, I mean I love him on a familial level because he's my stepson but I don't feel connected with him,” he shared.

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His wife told him that if he refuses to adopt James then he can not adopt Becky.

Out of fear of leaving Becky heartbroken, he revealed that he plans to ask James if he wants to be adopted eventually, however, he is convinced that James will be unwilling to.

Redditors offered him advice on how he should go about his predicament.

“You need to ask him if he wants to be adopted, and if he says no, let him know he can change his mind at any time,” one Redditor suggested.

“Give him this opportunity to see you consider him family. His reactions maybe because he already sees inequality in the way you treat the kids. 15 is a tough age,” another user commented.

Others believed that his wife was being unfair to both him and her daughter.

“You have been around since Becky was three, and James was 10. Your wife isn't looking at the whole picture here. James was more grown up than Becky and was unlikely to form the same bond as Becky,” one user wrote.

“James is old enough at this point to be treated like an adult in some respects, and adoption probably isn't something a 15-year-old cares about. Your wife needs to talk to him and not treat him like he and Becky are the same age/have the same bond.”

“I almost feel like the mother was fantasizing about her sweet and loving social media posts about her husband adopting her kids,” another user commented. “This isn’t about image, it’s about the human beings (and yes, kids are human beings) involved.”

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.