Sometimes, life deals us a pretty poor hand of cards, and it doesn’t look at our age or situation. Still, we should always try to make the best of what we have.

For example, as this Redditor shared, her niece’s parents were both sent to prison when the girl was 9. For the past 5 years, she has been living with her aunt, who has been taking care of her as her mother did the best she could to get out and get her life and daughter back. But the daughter decided she didn’t want to go back to her old life and requested that her aunt adopt her, creating a very shocking and confusing situation for the whole family. Scroll down to read the full story!

Children don’t get to choose the family they’re born into, but sometimes, they get a chance to try and pick the one they want to live in

Image credits: Benjamin Escher (not the actual photo) 

A woman was taking care of her niece while the girl’s mother was in prison, working hard to improve, get out, and get her life and her children back

Family Drama Ensues After Niece Gives Woman Adoption Papers As A Surprise And She Rejects Them

Image credits: olia danilevich (not the actual photo) 

After living with her aunt for 5 years, the girl decided that she wanted to stay there and, during a family event, gave the woman the adoption request papers

Image credits: Zhivko Minkov (not the actual photo) 

Everyone present was shocked, as the girl was always supposed to go back to her mother once she improved

Image credits: u/Quirky-Savings8676

The woman rejected her request, arguing that she couldn’t do that to her sister, nor could she afford to raise another child, as this would result in the grandma cutting financial support

The OP started by sharing that her 14-year-old niece has lived with her ever since her parents got sent to prison for illegal substance-related offenses 5 years ago. Yet, for that whole time, the woman and her sister have been in close contact, talking via an app the prison provides and visiting with the kids. 

Since ending up in prison, the girl’s mother has been working extremely hard to improve and get her GED, aiming to get paroled, fix her life, and get her daughter back. The woman explained that her sister already had a job and a home lined up for when she got out, so things looked bright.

However, recently, during the OP’s birthday celebration with most of the family present, her niece surprised her by giving her adoption request papers, which was a total surprise. The woman didn’t know what to do, as it upset her own mother and other siblings.

She argued that while, first and foremost, doing that to her sister would be wrong, she could not take care of the girl if she accepted, as in such a case, her grandma would surely cut the financial support she had been providing.

The situation also caused the woman’s own daughter to get upset with her, and the OP theorized that it might’ve been her idea to begin with. Her husband agreed with his wife, while their son said that this was probably something the girl got from TikTok and that it would pass soon.

Most commenters agreed that the woman’s initial reaction was far from the best, but her decision was understandable. However, some believed this was a jerk move, telling her that before thinking about her sister, she really should’ve considered how the child felt.

Image credits: M.T ElGassier (not the actual photo) 

It doesn’t take much to realize that for a child, having one or both parents going to prison is a situation in which the difficulty probably cannot be overstated. Yet, for many of us who have never dealt with anything similar, it might be hard to truly grasp just how much and in what ways that child is really affected.

According to, a child’s social behavior, mental health, and chances for an education are the main things that can be impacted by having a parent incarcerated. The social stigma that children may experience as a result of having a parent in prison can amplify the emotional anguish and create other challenges in their lives.

Additionally, children who went through these kinds of events in their lives might have experienced trauma related to their parent’s arrest or things that happened prior to it. This means that they might have faced experiences that no child should have, like violence in their household or exposure to alcohol and illegal substance use and abuse.

When you stop and look at the numbers, there are way too many children who have to go through this. As Penal Reform International shared, it is estimated that the number of children with parents in prison worldwide is counted in the millions. And if that’s not enough, there are even roughly 19,000 kids who live in prison with one of their parents.

Ultimately, the situation of any child whose parents end up in prison is rough. While, depending on where they end up, some might still be more fortunate than others, their experiences are difficult regardless.

It’s not difficult to understand how the girl might have been hurt by the OP’s reaction, even if she did have only the best intentions at heart. Still, nothing she said or did appeared to be beyond repair, so it’s probably safe to say plenty of hope remains for their relationship.

Do you think the OP was right to act the way she did? Do you know anyone who went through a similar experience that the poster’s niece did? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Most of the commenters agreed that while the woman’s reaction was poor, she wasn’t wrong, but others said that she should’ve put the girl first and was a jerk for not doing so

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