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Brother wants to adopt little sister after dad dies, but wife refuses, claims he’s choosing sibling over marriage

Forced to choose between his wife or his newly orphaned 11-year-old sister, a 28-year-old man looked for advice from the Reddit community, hoping to find a peaceful resolution.

Married for two years, the man had to make a painful decision of disrupting the childless life planned by him and his wife, for the little girl who wanted to live with her big brother.

But his wife wasn’t having it…

Two years ago, a 28-year-old man shared that him and his wife, also 28, were struggling with a decision made by his orphaned 11-year-old sister.

The post, titled “I want to adopt my sister after my dad’s death, my wife refused because we agreed on no children. Is there a way to fix this?” has since been removed from Reddit for reaching its “karma limit,” which often means the original poster (OP) capped the number of comments to limit attention.

Desperate for advice, the user explains that after the sibling’s father died of pancreatic cancer, the little girl wanted to live with him and his wife of two years, both of whom had earlier agreed to be childless.

The OP writes, “Due to the age gap, I am more like another father than a brother. My father passed away from pancreatic cancer. There are 2 options for my sister: either I take her in or my uncle [dad’s brother].” He continues, “So we asked her who she wanted, and she chose me.”

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This is where it gets tricky.

He shares that his wife refused to adopt his sister, especially since his uncle was willing to shoulder the responsibilities of raising his niece.

Trauma

When a child’s parent can no longer look after them, it can be very traumatic for the child, who loses their trusted caregiver, and the comfort they felt in their old home. Wanting to help his sibling through this transition, the OP felt obliged to support her well-being.

Elaborating further, he writes, “…my sister has no parents now and I want to make sure she is able to recover and be healthy and since she wants to be with me, I will not force her to be with our uncle.”

Unfortunately, his wife was not on board as adopting his sibling did not align with the life she was building.

“This is causing a lot of tension with my wife, things escalated and finally told her I am doing this whether she agrees or not, she can either accept it or we get divorced.”

Begging for some advice, he writes, “We have not talked since then. What can I do in such situation?”

One Reddit user writes, “Yeah I feel like taking in your little sister is different than ‘having kids after agreeing not to.’ The poor thing! Does the wife have no heart?!…She sounds selfish.”

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A second shares, “Seriously, choosing not to have children is one thing. Not taking in a beloved relative who happens to be a child in a time of crisis is a completely different situation!”

“The situation is very unfortunate but neither OP or his wife are in the wrong, OP is being a good brother by taking in his sister after her dad’s death, but his wife has every right to want (want, not demand) the child free life they both agreed upon,” writes a critic, whose comment invited scores of opinions from child-free advocates.

“Always with the ‘selfish.’ I am child free by choice and have been told I am selfish for not having children so many times. What people fail to understand is that, for some of us, it is WAY better…” writes one.

Another “child free by choice woman” thoughtfully explains that she feels the OP should take in his sister, “as long as you understand the consequences of that decision…You and your wife are adults and should be able to amicably and rapidly divorce.” Next, the user suggests the girl’s guardian should have been established before their father’s expected death. “Truly, all of this should have been discussed and determined prior to your dad passing, and not during a weeping conversation with an 11-year-old girl, without speaking with your wife first. But, such is life. You’ve let an 11-year-old decide and I think it would be absolutely terrible to say yes and then change to no.”

Shortly after, the original poster, now a “single father-ish brother” shared an update on the situation.

“I talked with my wife again. She still refused as she does not want kids. So we basically decided to go our separate ways.” Disappointed over her husband’s decision, the wife charged the OP with “choosing your sister over me.”

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“Yes, my sister takes the priority now, I am choosing her over you. This was our last conversation.” he adds, “I have been living with my sister for 1 week now. Being a single father-ish brother is definitely challenging but I am really enjoying it.”

“Congratulations for being the brother your sister needs, and commiserations for having to be the brother your sister needs,” one netizen writes.

Meanwhile, one user stepped in and defended his soon-to-be ex-wife.

“Don’t be so quick to slander the wife. They agreed no children and there was another option (Uncle). OP made a choice under extremely difficult circumstances and the wife chose to remain child free. No one should be attacked in this situation. Not all choices in life are easy, but this was still a choice.”

What would you do in a situation like this? Please let us know in the comments section and then share this story so we can hear what others have to say!

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