Wanting a family is an extremely personal decision.
For adults who go the adoption route to grow their families, they find themselves in the incredibly vulnerable position of being selected by an agency and children.
But when something doesn't work out, it may be too hard for them to face the rejection.
One couple discovered how far a future mom needed to take her scapegoating when she blamed them for not being able to adopt the boy she wanted.
They started out adopting the Original Poster (OP)'s niece but later wanted to grow their family.
"My wife and I had adopted my niece Katie when she was 3, and when she was 6 we were looking to adopt another child. My wife's friend introduced us to her sister, Jill, who was also trying to adopt."
After meeting someone else who wanted to adopt, it seemed only natural to share their adoption journeys.
"About 2 months into being friends with Jill she found a boy she wanted to adopt, Henry, who was 7 at the time."
"Jill took Henry out for the day. My wife and I were taking Katie to the park so we arranged to meet them there. Henry and Katie instantly got on. Henry was a great kid but very hyper, presumably because he was excited to meet Jill."
But their day didn't go quite as expected.
"Jill commented to me that she hadn't been able to calm Henry down all morning, and asked if we could watch him for a second while she took a breather. We agreed and spent the time talking to Henry, who seemed to fit in well with our existing family dynamic. Eventually it was time for us all to leave, so we went our separate ways."
And Jill's plans didn't go the way she wanted, either.
"Several weeks later Jill called me to say that the adoption had been rejected by the agency. Apparently Henry himself had refused it, so the agency had to decline."
But her rejection actually opened the door for Henry's happy adoption.
"A few months after that Jill found a different child she wanted to adopt and started the process, while we were invited to an open day at a local home, where several prospective parents/families meet the kids. When we were there we saw Henry."
"We were using the same agency as Jill and it was coincidence or luck depending on how you look at it. Henry remembered us, we still got on great with him, and we ended up adopting him. From what Henry has said, he rejected Jill as she didn't have a lot of patience and wasn't willing to work with him, while we were a bit more flexible."
Though they'd shared their journeys up to this point, the couple didn't share their adoption with Jill.
"We didn't tell Jill because at this stage we'd only ever met her twice (once for coffee, and then the park) and while we'd had some contact with her over text/phone calls we didn't know how she'd take this."
Unfortunately, that decision ended their friendship with Jill, as well as several other people.
"We also didn't tell our friend, but after adopting Henry we posted an updated family photo on social media, which a different friend shared, and that was how the first friend saw it."
"She told Jill that we'd adopted him, and Jill replied to our post that she'd considered us friends and we'd adopted 'her son' out from under her."
"We clarified the timeline immediately but our friends were shocked at us and we received several messages saying they couldn't believe we'd done that and saying Henry should essentially be seen as off limits to us because he'd rejected Jill, some even calling us 'greedy' because we already had my niece while Jill had no kids."
"We felt that was absurd and ended up blocking most of them but to this day whenever we see any of them they're still appalled that we adopted Henry and even the people who supported us joke about about us stealing other people's kids."
"Are we TA (The A**hole)?"
The OP reached out to Reddit, still disappointed their relationships had disintegrated the way they did.
Their fellow Redditors voted by declaring whether the couple were: NTA (Not The A**hole), YTA (You're The A**hole), ESH (Everyone Sucks Here), or NAH (No A**holes Here).
While no one expressly felt the couple was in the wrong for adopting Henry, they could at least see where the hurt feelings were coming from.
"NTA. The child did not want to live with her. She needed a "breather" the first day they met. You had no intentions of adopting him, when that was Jills plan."
"But how incredibly selfish of all the friends AND Jill to not see the value in this child being adopted."
"They are literally saying that you should have left him in foster care because he denied Jill. That is appalling in itself." - sdgeee
"Also, Jill doesn't get to call dibs. Henry is a human being! If he got along fine with [the Original Poster]'s family, then it's good that they adopted him. OP did not steal anyone's kid."
"He didn't like Jill, Jill seemed to be impatient with him, he did not want to be adopted, and he ended up with OP. It's not like they adopted him while she was applying, they waited several months. It's not greedy to adopt a kid just because you adopted another one!" - Seren541
That being said, some also pointed out that this situation had a very "girl code" or "high school boyfriend" vibe, in which case the couple may have been expected to view Henry as off-limits, since he didn't want to be adopted by Jill.
"Yeah, this isn't a 'girl code' type thing. This isn't a high school crush who didn't want to go out with you but had a crush on your friend." - vanishingwife22
"Exactly. This isn't stealing someone's crush, it's taking a human being into a loving family. Jill has no right to claim it's her child and that it's stealing when the child didn't even want to go with her and it was months ago. This might be life changing, and Jill has no right to interfere." - Seren541
"Except you can't 'steal' someone's crush either because they are a person who gets decide who they go out with."
"People aren't things. I get the feeling this is the heart of the problem here. Jill does not own Henry just because she liked him, anymore then someone owns their crush because they have feelings for them."
"The other person gets a say in this even if their answer is 'no'." - Iczer6
At the end of the day, the most important thing here is that a little boy was adopted into a loving home.
Though her feelings may have been hurt, Jill didn't have a monopoly on who Henry chose or where he found his happiness.