A teenage girl was losing her patience when her parents decided to adopt a 13-year-old girl and delayed their promise of moving the growing family into a bigger house.
In the meantime, 15-year-old Redditor "i-like-good-sleep" was asked to share her bedroom with either her fussy younger brother or the adopted girl named Jess – who struggles with anxiety and has been known to snap.
The Original Poster (OP) felt like she has become an insignificant part of the family and asked AITA for not wanting her parents to adopt another teenage girl.
"I (15F) live with my parents (mid-40s) and my brother (9M)," she began her post.
"It's always been a dream of my parents to adopt (me and bro are bio-kids) and they had come to the decision that they want to adopt an older kid."
"They got matched with 'Jess' who is 13. Due to the current situation, she is not living with us, but we've met before and she's spent a weekend with us in January."
Here's the thing about Jess.
"Jess, despite sometimes being sweet and kind, is very high maintenance and has a lot of anxiety and anger problems. She can go from 0-1000 really quick."
Prior to her parents making a decision about adopting Jess, the OP witnessed her having a public meltdown and was consequently blamed for not "being responsible" for her "sister."
"During her stay, she got triggered by something when we were in public (she and I went to a clothes shop and my parents were in a cafe nearby - some guy accidentally grabbed her by her shoulder as he thought she was his daughter, and he apologised immediately) and started screaming."
"I was the only person there, and I tried to calm her down but she ran off."
"She was found (shaken, but safe) an hour later. I then got grounded as I had failed in being responsible for my 'sister.' I said I didn't have a sister."
"My parents were angry about this and said that how dare I be rude about her, don't I know how much she's been through."
Though the OP claimed "she's very brave," she made one thing very clear.
"She's had other outbursts, but none so huge in public. She can be cold and untrusting and was very clingy to my parents. I do admire her, and think she's very brave - but I don't want to live with her."
"My parents call Jess often. I often say hi, and try to be civil and supportive. But it seems like the only thing my parents can talk about is Jess, and how brave she is, and she isn't even here yet."
Then came news about shuffling the living arrangements in the house.
"We live in a 3 bedroom house, and my parents promised to move to a bigger one later this year. Recently, my parents broke the news to me that Jess will move into my room, and I can pick whether I want to share a room with bro, or Jess."
"I don't want to share with either. My brother is messy, loud and is your average 9yo boy and Jess has night terrors and screams the house down, and it's enough having to open my house to her, but I value my privacy a lot and don't want her in my room, which is like my special place."
"I was crushed. I asked if we were still moving, and my parents were like, 'We like this place and have no solid plan.'"
It was the last straw, and the OP laid into her folks about feeling neglected.
"I freaked out and was like, 'You guys are forgetting you have another daughter and are too excited about the shiny new one to remember that the one you have has feelings and boundaries."
"And if you're changing everything I've ever known, at least I deserve to be listened to. If this is how life's going to be, I don't want to have a sister.'"
A compromise was proposed and was immediately shot down.
"Good to note: my room is big enough to have a wall put in, and my parents considered it a few years back. I would be happy with that. They refuse, even though we can easily afford it, because it is 'too much effort.'"
"My parents are offended that I'm 'not being welcoming' towards my 'sister', and I'm offended that the life I knew is going to be turned upside down, and I'm not going to have the thing I value most, my privacy. AITA?"
Redditors weighed to declare if the OP was either of the following:
- NTA - Not The A**hole
- YTA - You're The A**hole
- ESH - Everyone Sucks Here
- NAH - No A**holes Here
The OP's concerns were validated and this person suggested the family seek counseling in preparation for Jess' induction into the family.
"NTA. I bet your parents think that taking in Jess is such a kind thing to do, they can't possibly be wrong and everyone needs to just get on board."
"However, you are a person and your feelings also matter. They are being really heavy-handed and not making any effort to make you comfortable."
"Can you ask them to attend family counseling before Jess arrives?"
"If they refuse, do you have access to a social worker or someone as part of this process that you could talk to? Hearing from an independent professional that they need to consider your feelings might help them understand." – efm270
The parents may be confused about the concept of benevolence and are already causing division in the family.
"A lot of people will get so stuck on doing something 'kind,' that they end up being unkind and inconveniencing everyone else as a result."
"I'm actually surprised that family counseling is not included with adoption. It's desperately needed here."
"Adopting is wonderful, but I think it's unreasonable that OPs parents are working so hard for this new child, yet putting in a new wall is 'too much work.'"
"Even though they promised a larger house in the beginning. Favoring one sibling over the other usually leads to resentment even in biological families." – SachsPanther
This Redditor said that introducing a teenager into an established family would generate many issues that would eventually require therapy.
"NTA OP. IT'S NOT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to watch out for another child when you go out. She's 13, not 6, and should be able to go outside without running away."
"Yea, that's the thing the parents don't understand. They're acting like she's been apart of the family for years, developing a dynamic with everyone, and a 'norm' has been established with her."
"These things take time, and you can't force children to get along. Siblings grow a strong bond over YEARS of living together, and co-existing in the same space."
"You should be listened to, and your feelings are valid. Your parents might THINK they're doing the right thing, but they're only doing the right thing by her and what they want. They are ignoring you and your brother's health, safety, and stability."
"Introducing a 13 YEAR OLD into a well established family, especially a child with a lot of issues, is going to require therapy. Much therapy. For everyone involved (the family as a whole, and everyone individually)."
"I'm sure your brother is struggling with all of this as well." – numbersthen0987431
"I'm not as inclined to automatically call this one favoritism, because Jess has a lot of anxiety and anger problems (per OP)."
"Generally speaking it's certainly not ideal, but it makes sense that more attention is given to the kids that need it more (i.e. a special needs kid is logically going to get a lot more attention)."
"That said, Jess is not their kid, at least yet - putting them as a priority over their own kids seems pretty unreasonable and as you're essentially saying, it's definitely sad it's a bad situation before anything is even official." – semiquantifiable
While Jess might require more attention and the parents are up to the task of taking care of her, it shouldn't come at the cost of the OP and her little brother.
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For adopted teens, the book The Adopted Teen Workbook: Develop Confidence, Strength, and Resilience on the Path to Adulthood is available here.