Brother Chooses to Adopt Little Sister After Dad’s Death, Wife Objects

A heart-wrenching decision faces a 28-year-old man when he is forced to choose between his marriage and adopting his 11-year-old orphaned sister. Seeking advice on Reddit, the man hopes to find a peaceful resolution to this difficult situation. Married for two years, he finds himself torn between his wife and his sister’s desire to live with her big brother, disrupting their initially childless life together. However, his wife is not receptive to the idea…

Two years ago, a 28-year-old man posted about the struggle he and his wife, also 28, were facing regarding his 11-year-old sister, who had been orphaned.
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 been removed from Reddit due to reaching its “karma limit,” meaning the original poster (OP) capped the number of comments to limit attention.
In search of advice, the user explains that after their father passed away from pancreatic cancer, his sister expressed her wish to live with him and his wife. However, they had previously agreed to remain 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.”

This is where things become complicated.
He shares that his wife is against adopting his sister, especially since his uncle is willing to take on the responsibility of raising her.

The Impact of Trauma

When a child loses their parent and is left without a caregiver, it can be incredibly traumatic for them. They lose the stability and comfort of their previous home. Wanting to support his sibling through this difficult transition, the OP feels a strong obligation to ensure her well-being.
Expanding on his reasons, he writes, “…my sister has no parents now and I want to make sure she is able to recover and be healthy. Since she wants to be with me, I will not force her to be with our uncle.”
Unfortunately, his wife does not share his perspective as adopting his sister goes against the life she had envisioned.
“This situation has caused a lot of tension with my wife. Things escalated, and I finally told her that I am going through with the adoption, whether she agrees or not. She can either accept it or we get divorced.”
Seeking advice, he asks, “We have not spoken since then. What should I do in this situation?”
One Reddit user comments, “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.”

Another user adds, “Choosing not to have children is one thing. But not taking in a beloved relative, who happens to be a child, during a time of crisis is an entirely different situation!”
A critic offers a different perspective, stating, “The situation is unfortunate, but neither the OP nor his wife are in the wrong. The OP is being a good brother by taking in his sister after her father’s death, but his wife has every right to want (want, not demand) a child-free life as they had agreed upon.” This comment sparks a discussion among child-free advocates.
“I have been called ‘selfish’ many times for choosing not to have children,” writes one user. “What people fail to understand is that, for some of us, it is WAY better…”
Another user, who is also child-free by choice, suggests that 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.” The user also mentions that the guardianship should have been discussed and determined before the father’s passing. “All of this should have been discussed and determined prior to your dad passing, and not during an emotional conversation with an 11-year-old girl, without talking to your wife first. But such is life. You’ve let an 11-year-old decide, and I think it would be terrible to say yes and then change to no.”
Following this, the original poster, now a “single father-ish brother,” provides an update on the situation.
“I spoke to my wife again. She still refuses to adopt my sister since she does not want children. Therefore, we have decided to go our separate ways.” Disappointed by her husband’s decision, the wife accuses the OP of “choosing your sister over me.”

“Yes, my sister is my priority now. I am choosing her over you. This was our final conversation,” he adds. “I have been living with my sister for a week now. Being a single father-ish brother is definitely challenging, but I am enjoying it.”
One user expresses, “Congratulations for being the brother your sister needs, and condolences for having to be the brother your sister needs.”
Meanwhile, another user defends the soon-to-be ex-wife’s position.
“Don’t be too quick to judge the wife. They agreed on no children, and there was another option (the uncle). The 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.”