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Rage over wife telling husband not to bequeath inheritance to adopted children


A mother-of-three has sparked outrage on social media after trying to convince her husband to give two of his children less of his inheritance because they are adopted.

His partner had planned to split the money left behind by his late mother equally between his biological son Ethan, 16, and his adopted siblings Aiden, 16, and Gracie, 12, with the funds earmarked for their college education.

But while his wife Ami was apparently happy the money was going to Ethan, she felt their two adopted children should only receive “part” of a suggestion that has torn the family apart.

His position is reminiscent of a concept called “kinship selection theory,” the theory of evolution that says parents direct more favorable behavior to biologically related children than to their unrelated children.

File photo of a boy covering his ears as a man and woman argue – a mother has drawn fierce criticism over her treatment of her two adopted children.
Djedzura/Getty

In a 2015 study published in the journal Evolution and human behaviorthe researchers put the idea to the test by comparing data from 135 pairs of “virtual twins”, a term referring to siblings around the same age where there was an adopted child and a biological or just two adopted children.

The results showed that parents tended not to favor their biological children over their adopted children. Although their adopted children scored higher on negative traits like arrogance, their scores were similar to their biological children’s on positive attributes.

The father posting to Reddit as Late-Statement8422 certainly seems to put his three children on an equal footing, having adopted Aiden and Gracie a decade ago.

“We have university funds for all three children with the same amount, so they can afford to go if they choose,” he explained.

When his mother died, he said she left him “lots of money” which he decided to use to “fund their accounts” rather than paying off their mortgage.

However, his wife, Ami, became angry at the amount of money it would cost to put them all through college. When he confronted her about it, an argument ensued in which she apparently told him she was “happy to fund Ethan’s college but only partly for Aiden and Gracie.”

“I told him it wasn’t fair because they are all our children, not just Ethan,” the father wrote. “He doesn’t mean more just because he has our DNA.”

However, she felt she “deserved things too” and spending all their money on the three kids means she “doesn’t get what she wants”.

Ami left the family a few days later, with Aiden later apologizing to his father for “initiating a fight”, although he appreciated that he “defended him and Gracie”.

Although he insisted he wasn’t ready to ‘give up’ Ami and their marriage and was convinced there was more to his complaints than meets the eye, he did says if she was just “greedy and selfish, then she can forget about having any kind of relationship.”

But while he seemed keen to keep the door open to reconciliation, others online felt it best to slam it.

Forward_Squirrel8879 said, “I don’t trust anyone who could think and talk that way about the kids they’ve been raising for a decade.” Beneficial_Ship_7988, meanwhile, commented, “I can’t imagine adopting two blessings and then denying them everything I can give them to make sure they have a safe and wonderful life.”

GlassSandwich9315 added: ‘It’s absolutely awful that your wife apparently thinks less of two of your kids because they’re adopted’ with 3rd-Time-Lucky concluding: ‘There is no going back on what she said AND the kids heard her say it.”

Although this represents an extreme case, Professor Lisa Doodson, who runs the website happysteps.co.uk, said Newsweek it is important that all children, adopted or not, are treated equally.

“Children will recognize where there is an imbalance and this can affect the relationship not only with their caregivers but also with other children,” she said. “Those who are treated better will feel guilty and the others will feel rejected. The imbalance can also affect the relationship between the children.”

Even so, she appreciates that each individual case is “nuanced” and that other factors may play a part in any potential imbalance. The key is communication. “As long as you can look them in the face and explain why there are perceived imbalances, you should be on the right track,” Doodson said.

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can seek advice from experts and your story could be published on Newsweek.

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