Forced Adoption(191 Posts)
Hi, I'm new to this and wanted to talk about this upsetting situation. Where to start...I will try to make this long story as brief as possible...
My sister's little boy was taken into care a while back due to her drinking and drug use although she always made sure the little one was well looked after. What we thought was a temporary thing has turned into a long drawn out nightmare. The social services are now trying to place him for adoption against her will. My sister dearly wants to be given a chance but the social services are not interested and she hasn't been given any support, just talked down to and belittled. None of the family are in a position to help and I would love to take the child on but my husband is not on board with it so I haven't been able to pursue. I was able to visit him recently and can see he is a very sad and confused child. He loves his mum to bits and they have a lovely bond and it was heart-breaking to hear his foster carer telling him "when you go to your new mummy and daddy". I think it's heartless to tell a young child who is clearly missing his mother that they will be going to a new family. I cannot forget the sadness in his eyes as we said goodbye. Yes my sister has done silly things but she is still young and keeping her away from her child is destroying her. I hate the way SS have handled the whole thing and told lies and had no compassion. They have far too much power and are playing with people's lives. I don't know how they can sleep at night. I understand they have to protect children but how many times have they got it wrong? I am sure with the right support my sister can turn things around but I fear time is running out. Has anyone had a similar experience or any advice?
Not wishing to be unhelpful, but removing a child is absolutely the last resort for social services and they will have explored everything they can before this point - including helping your sister to turn things around.
Syd35 it is good for your sister that she has you as a support. I don't know anything about the situation but I would imagine your sister has a social worker, can she talk to them?
I am sure it feels very, very difficult for her and also for you, to be in the middle of this, and for all concerned.
I would imagine it is very difficult for social services, they must also feel caught in the middle, when things go wrong in any direction they get in trouble at work, in the media etc and of course they also must live with all the decisions they make. I can't imagine how difficult it is to make those kind of decisions.
I am sorry I can't offer any advice but just wanted to say that you are obviously very caring wanting to help and I hope you will find some way to help your sister and nephew for whatever is for the best.
I'm sorry your family is going through this and I'm not sure that there is anything constructive I can add. If she can afford it comsulting a family solicitor would obviously be the sensible thing to do.
You say "I am sure with the right support my sister can turn things around but I fear time is running out" - to be honest yes it is - if your Dnephew has been in care "a while" then social services will be concerned that he needs a permanent home and the longer he stays in care the more difficult he will be to place. The sad fact is that whilst social services do sometimes get it wrong when removing a child IMVHO they far more often get it wrong when leaving a child in their home.
I don't know what support (if any) your sister has had to deal with her alcohol and drugs problem but if she has had any at all and has failed to deal with it then I suspect that she won't be offered more. Help like this is in short supply and it is often a one shot deal as a result.
You are obviously very upset by the situation and I do feel for you and your sister but I think your comment "Yes my sister has done silly things but she is still young and keeping her away from her child is destroying her" misses the point. The "silly" things she did obviously had a noticeable effect for anyone to even get social services involved (they don't have the manpower to get involved willy nilly in every small issue in every childs life) and sadly for your sister SS are not concerned with her and how its affecting her but the risk to the child. Of course he is missing her and is sad - it doesn't necessarily follow that he is better off staying with her.
she caused the problem that caused social services to get involved, there's no point trying to blame them for a situation your sister created.
If there is any chance she can clean up her act up then you obviously need to fight for that as hard as you can and try getting some free advice if possble from a lawyer.
I'm not a huge fan of John Hemming MP's approach but he may be able to point your sister in the direction of a lawyer who can help her.
I don't think that SS remove children willy nilly. I'm sure your sister has good intentions with regard to bringing up her son but unless and until she is able to actively implement them, her intentions do not help the child at all. The SS have the child's best interests at heart. They have probably spent a long time assessing your sister's abilities as a parent and unfortunately have decided that she is not up to it, and that the child would be better off in a more stable environment. I can see that you have your sister's best interests at heart, and truly this is an awful situation for you all to be in, but she is the adult in this scenario and her son needs loving and protecting.
Obviously the best solution in this awful situation may have been a family adoption or fostering, but you say that the family is unable to take the little boy. The conclusion therefore is that another adoptive family is the going to be the best option for delivering stability and the right sort of care.
These days, adoptions can be open, which means that unless serious harm would befall the child from seeing their birth family, they arrange for access visits.
Has your sister made any attempts to give up drinking/drug taking since her son went into care?
What has your sister done to comply with what is required of her?
Given up drinking/drugs?
Always been on time for contact time ?
gone to a parenting course?
Thanks everyone for your comments. Italian Greyhound thanks especially for your kind words.
It's good to get an opinion from people who are not involved. I am probably too close to the situation to be a bit more impartial.
I am not blaming SS but I really don't think they have handled the situation in the best way. It's hard for other people to understand without knowing the full story I guess.
I haven't been particularly close with my sister in recent years but I can't help caring about the awful mess she's got herself into and I really pray for a positive outcome for everyone.
Thanks Duchesse for mentioning about open adoption, I will try to find out more as it would be some comfort to at least know how his life is going if it does end up in adoption.
Thanks again for taking the time to post your comments.
"I can't help caring about the awful mess she's got herself into" - of course you do but be careful that in your desire to make things better for her that you make things worse for your son.
It is very difficult for most caring (extended) families to accept that a child might be better off raised by someone else. Love sadly is not always enough.
Even non-open adoptions these days have an element of contact eg yearly letters though you are rather dependent on the adoptive family's good will to keep them going.
oops "her" son obviously not yours
Once your sister has a solicitor she can through them appy under section 38 of the childrens act for an independant assessment, however this will only be considered if she has made changes with regards to her life style, and whether independant assessment centres who often read through the court bundles agree that your sister has made sufficient changes to warrant a further assessment.
This is so sad, is there really no one in the (extended) family who could take on this poor little boy?
Syd35 - they now try and maintain some kind of contact with a child's birth parent if they are not considered to be a risk. Even if she is not granted formal contact, then your sister would normally have letterbox contact where she and her son can exchange letters and cards.
Obviously the best way of ensuring that she gets either direct or indirect contact is to get off the drink and drugs if she can.
I'm so sorry - this must be terribly hard for you.
I would suggest looking at the Fassit website as a start. She can get free legal advice from Ian Josephs - see the Forced Adoption website.
Both websites also have forums where you can share information with parents in similar situations. The parents on this board are mostly approved for adoption and are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that adopted children might be more suitably placed with their birth parents.
Good luck and work quickly, if the SS believe that she is getting help in making a case then they'll try to push the adoption through as quickly as possible.
benignsign - Thank you for the links, they look like really comprehensive resources and I will have a good read tonight. A quick glance has made me realise how many other people are going through similar situations.
"The parents on this board are mostly approved for adoption and are understandably uncomfortable with the idea that adopted children might be more suitably placed with their birth parents."
No, that isn't true - there are very few adoptive parents who don't believe that their childrens lives would be infinitely simpler if they could have stayed with their birth parents.
Adoptive parents tend to be more cautious about the idea that any adoption where the birth parents contest it is a miscarriage of justice because they have more experience than most of dealing with the real problems of children caused by the birth parents - not by social services or foster parents or by the adoptive parents but by the birth parents. Many many of whom contested the adoption.
I'd be happy for you to point out which adoptive parent on this thread is saying that there should not be a chance for birth families to stay together where possible. I don't think from the information given (or probably even the information the OP knows as I doubt that her sister has given her the full story as human nature is to present yourself in the best light possible) anyone is able to advise the OP on what might be best for the child in this circumstance.
In my experience adoptive parents are very supportive to all parties of the adoption triangle on mumsnet and I'd be surprised if you found otherwise (though of course its possible as I haven't read every single adoption thread over the life of MN!). Some AP's are remarkably tolerant of BP's and maintain contact with them despite some appalling behaviour and significant damage to the children that they are raising.
Syd, can I just add a word of warning here, for you personally. If you aren't in a position to take in the child, please try not to get too emotionally involved in this. It may be counter-productive to give your sister too much hope. At this moment in time, she should be putting all her efforts into sorting herself out - that is the first step and one which you may be able to help her with. If she cannot sort out her addiction issues it really isn't in her (or her child's) best insterests to stop any possible placement for the child.
You say that social services have told lies. Do you know this for a fact, or has your sister told you? I have (unfortunately) experience of living with an addict, and if your sister is still using you need to be very careful how much of what she tells you that you believe.
The interests of the child must come first here. Be careful to check that you know what is really going on before you get too involved. And make sure your sister doesn't make you feel guilty for not taking her son. I am sure your reasons are valid.
I also second what Kewcumber says about adoptive parents on here. I doubt there is one of us who wouldn't rather our children had the chance to be brought up by loving and able birth parents. Unfortunately it isn't always possible, and sometimes adoptive parents really have to cope with the fall-out of birth parents who, no matter how much they love their children, really aren't able to care for them.
I absolutely agree with Kewcumber. I have an adopted daughter who is an absolute joy and a blessing. BECAUSE I love her to absolute bits I recognise the very real trauma she has gone through in her short life, not least her separation from her birth mother. BECAUSE I love her I wish she could have stayed with her birth mother.
Her BM is not an evil woman, but a lost and struggling one. I feel sorry for her, and will certainly keep up contact because I feel it's something I can do for her, as well as for my dd.
But I also recognise that, although she did not mean to harm her children, that is exactly what she has done. Terrible, lasting harm. Damaged adults may deserve extra chances and prolonged support to sort themselves out - but not at this ghastly cost to their children. At some stage social services have to decide whether the BP have shown signs that they can change. If they haven't, they must act quickly to save the children from further harm and to find them permanent families before they become unadoptable.
OP, I feel very sorry for you and your sister. I truly do. And I have no idea whether social services have acted appropriately in this case. But you need to understand that at this stage it's not really about your sister and her needs; it's about her little boy. Will he be cared for and protected and loved in the way he deserves if he stays with your sister? If so, go in there and fight for them both. But, if your concern is to keep some comfort and hope alive for your sister, you may need to accept that the situation has gone way beyond that point.
Best of luck to you all.
To clarify Yes I am aware of all the facts and always try to remember that there are 2 sides to every story. I have seen first hand that blatant lies have most definitely been told by SS and whilst I'm under no illusions that my sister's behaviour has started this, I do feel a sense of unfairness - it almost feels like a witch hunt now. If it wasn't for my husband's complete reluctance to get involved I would try my best to have my nephew live with us. This is a great sadness to me but I have to understand and respect my husband's point of view.
Also the SS had already applied previously to the adoption agency and they had declined on the basis that proper procedures weren't followed. They are now in the process of making a further attempt. I hope for a conclusion soon as it has been dragging on for too long.
Thanks to all for listening, your comments have certainly given me food for thought.
You haven't answered people's questions: is your sister still taking drugs and drinking heavily?
I haven't meant to side-step that question. The answer is that she has made progress in tackling her vices but it hasn't been consistent i.e. she has been tested reguarly and hasn't always managed to produce a clean sample. I now expect and await the negative backlash! It's easy to criticise but how many people really understand what it feels like to have an addiction?? I personally find it hard to comprehend as I am her complete opposite and don't even smoke. However, I remain positive that she can turn things around. I'm not making excuses for her but I do realise she feels in a hopeless situation.
no backlash here - and yes sadly I do understand addiction but I'm sure you understand also that whilst she is actively abusing substances that she is unlikely to be trusted to look after her DS and that there is a limited time SS will wait for her because whilst they are waiting her DS is in nomansland.
I also have experience of social workers behaving inappropriately so I'm by no means blind to the issues that can arise. However if your sister is unable to stay clean for the best reason in the world ie to keep her child then how can she be trusted to put her childs welfare first? Most drug/alcohol addicts put their addiction first (by necessity rather than choice) above everything and that will be SS concern (whether that amounts to a witchhunt or not, that is still the concern).
Could your DH be persuaded to foster your DN rather than adopt?
You might also find that (depending on age) the child mind not be very easy to place for adoption so in fact he might spend quite a while hanging around in foster care which isn't really ideal either.
Is your sister having regular contact with him?
I do sympathise with her syd - it must be absolutely terrible to be an addict and I know a bit about it because my 16 year old son is an addict and I feel so sorry for him.
But he has put his addiction above his family, his health, his safety, his little brother's safety (ds2 has been physically threatened by ds1's friends, as well as attacked by ds1), his education and his entire future. I am just thankful that he has no children, because I could not stand up and say he would put a child above his addiction - he just wouldn't/couldn't.
If ds1 did have a child, and the option was for him to be in charge of him/her, or placed for adoption I would go adoption every time. And I love my son, and I'm sure I would love a grandchild, but I couldn't put a small child through what we have been through . So again, I would say to you, be careful. Addicts are manipulative, and you sound a little vulnerable to me.
Don't let yourself and your immediate family be sacrificed on the alter of your sister's addiction. Look after yourself as well.
Thanks kewcumber. Unfortunately DH is of no support to me in this situation and won't be persuaded, believe me I have tried! I haven't really got anyone else to talk to about this as I feel it's a bit of a family secret. Even my mother-in-law doesn't know, when she asks after my sister and DN I have to change the subject as she would be very judgemental. So it's all very frustrating.
Thanks for sharing your story maryz. I'm sorry to hear you are going through problems with your DS, it's not nice seeing those you love ruin their lives. You sound like a very caring mum and I hope things improve for you all. You are right that we have to think of the others this affects. It's my DN I am most upset for, he is a real sweetie and I do lose sleep worrying about how it will all end up.
I wish I could just walk away and leave her to get on with it but I can't. If only I could wave a magic wand and make it all better.
If you find a magic wand send a bit of it this way. I could do with one too.
But ultimately only the addict can decide what is worth giving up their addiction for (iykwim). Someone said to me once that ds has to be more frightened of something else than he is of losing the drugs - he hasn't found it yet. And if for your sister the fear of losing her son isn't enough, then it is unlikely you can find something for her.
You can't save her - she has to save herself. You can support her to do that, but you can't do it for her. Oh, and another thing. It shouldn't be a family secret. You have done nothing wrong. You shouldn't feel ashamed of this. ds thinks we don't know what he does, and for a long time I kept it a secret from wider family (and even myself in a way). The best thing I have done is start to talk about it. It is still very hard, especially with the guilt I feel as a parent. But I have to be honest if I ever expect him to be.
Syd35 just wanted to pop back and say that you are a very caring person and I wanted to echo the wise words of these people who know so much more about all this than I do.
I think we all are concerned for children, our own and others. It is horrible to see anyone suffering, especially a sister. I guess I just wanted to say take heart, things do sometimes work out. Please do not allow this to take over your life. It is a terrible situation but your sister may now be able to get some help and turn her life around. Whether this will be in time to keep custody of her son or not, I do not know. If it is not then hopefully her little boy will go to live with a family who will be able to look after him in the way he deserves. Although this is all terrible sad at least this situation is out in the open and others are involved in sorting it out, you are not alone. I hope you will find some support for yourself.
I think maryz makes some very important points from her own experience, and it was so helpful for her to share the sadness and difficulties of the situation.
Anyway, I hope you will find someone to talk to who can help you personally, it sounds like you are not getting support from within your family. If you are losing sleep etc, please do find a place/counsellor or whatever to talk to to relieve some of the pressure.
It is very brave of you to keep on coming back and answering questions, thank you for keeping us updated. Thinking of you.
You must understand, Syd, we - or I, at any rate - am not judging your sister. I do have family and professional experience of addiction, and I am intensely sympathetic. I know her life is not a barrel of laughs; I'm sure she loves her son and wants to care for him.
But, again, the point is that at this stage it's not really about your sister anymore. Not for social services. It's about her son and what he needs. And it doesn't sound as though your sister is holding it together enough to convince social services that she will be able to continue holding it together throughout the coming years, through good times and bad.
I'm sure your sister doesn't 'deserve' to lose her son. I'm sure you must be terribly worried about what impact the adoption will have on her state of mind and motivation to continue trying to turn things around. But, whatever you decide to do about contesting the adoption, I think it really important that you get some support organised, for you and your sister. There are organisations and self-help groups that can help your sister. There are also groups that can help you. You are going through a terrible ordeal, not least the family secrecy and the lack of support from your husband. Please don't try to get through this alone.
syd35 what you need to do first of all is see a solicitor. Social services have a priority to keep children within their birth family if they can. Can you put yourself forward to look after this little boy temporary while things are being sorted out with his Mum. You will need to show that you are willing to do this via a solicitor. Ensure that you can show what support you can provide for your sister and her little boy. Your sisters little boy will have a gaurdian that is purely for the child within a court situation. Ask social services who is the gaurdian and speak with them of how you feel about the situation. The gaurdian is independent and soley for the best needs of the child. There is not much that you can do unless you appoint a solicitor and your sister must do too!! A child can only be adopted when a judge thinks that there is no other option for a child. The judge makes the decisions not social workers.
You have to show and prove that this child is an absolute priority. I have been through a similar situation and I know how difficult it is but it is possible to turn this around.
This little boy needs to be adopted. If you are not able to adopt him (forget about fostering, he needs a permanent family) then you have accept that he needs to go to a loving family who will nuture him and put his needs before their need for drugs and drink.
Your sister has had her chances and she let her son down. I'm not being harsh towards you, Syd, but I'm not going to join in the collective anguish over a drugs/alcohol abuser who has had her son taken away from her.
Italiangreyhound - Thanks so much for sending the positive vibes, it is so lovely of you and has made me glad I posted. Before I posted I wasn't sure anyone would be interested or care.
NoelEdmondshair - I take on board your comments too and don't take them personally but it's not as cut and dry as that. This is a lifechanging situation for all involved. I guess I am just after the happy ending and accept that not everyone will be on side.
I also appreciate the concern for me comments. I am a bit of a worrier by nature but am strong so I'll be ok. It has really helped to talk about this via mumsnet.
I will continue to post updates for anyone interested.
Syd35, yes, I am sure I speak for other when I say we are interested.
I really hope for the best possible outcome for all concerned, but as an outsider I have no idea how that would look!
Would it help you to keep a journal of your feelings and thoughts. It may be a help in the future if you are in contact with your nephew to be able to remember how you felt, etc. NOT that you would give it to him or read it to him but that it would remind you of your feelings and the situation. If this is a naff suggestion, please ignore it.
I do feel for you Syd (usually many more people are interested and care than you think). Its so clear that you want the happy ending and are devastated at this situation. I think you should maybe try to search out some kind of counselling - even if it's just to a helpline of some kind. I think that by now this situation will not transform itself into the happy ending that everyone would have liked. This isn't your fault and maybe you need to talk about it with someone who can help you make sense of all this and help you think perhaps more objectively about this whole situation. I can't imagine how it all feels right now. I do know that when I have been in very upsetting situations it helps me to draw/ paint my feelings (of course you may find this ever so naff or silly!). I just find it helpful to record my feelings on paper, and then look back later - it helps me sort my own feelings out.
I think you need to think about yuor nephew. The state is a rubbish parent, lets be honest here. It may well be better than the childs original home, but its nowhere near as good as most adoptive homes. I think maybe you have to accept somehow that your nephew will probably be best off in the long run adopted. Many children have contact with birth family. You could maybe have a letter from your nephew new mum and dad once a year, or at best maybe actually see him. However you would have to be very supportive of his adoption for this to work, and it would have to be shown to be the best thing for your nephew a swell as for you. You would have to accept that this is now his best chance in life and his adoptive parents would give him the best opportunities and love and security. I truly am sorry for your nephews sake an yours and your sister that it has to be like this. I hope this is resolved soon for everyones sake.
Syd has your family been in contact with frg.org.uk If you sister has a chance of regaining residency (although I am afraid it sounds really unlikely) FRG will be able to tell her.
Give them a call. Explain the situation and they will be able to give you clear and unbiased advice. They are not anti or pro social services.
I am sorry this is happening to your family and to that little lad. I wish I could say it sounds hopeful but if your sister is failing drugs tests it seems pretty hopeless.
I have no doubt she loves her son and of course he loves her. Its not enough though is it?
Push for an open adoption and plenty of contact, i think its the best you can do.
thefirstmrsDeVere - Thanks for that link - I have been googling the subject quite a bit and hadn't come across that one.
The suggestions re writing/drawing my feelings are great. Just writing on here has been so helpful in helping me to deal with my feelings so it's worth a try.
Syd - you sound like a lovely sister.
There is hope - you need to speak to ian josephs - seriously, the guy is amazing with family and adoption/legal advice and does everything for free including the phone calls.
http://www.forced-adoption.com is his website - He gets over 100 new calls a week from people in the UK who need help with cases like this. Call him and leave your number, tell him it's about adoption and he will call you back.
Syd35 how are you doing with the writing or drawing to help you with all the feelings in connection to this? Thinking of you.
I too am thinking of you and hope you feel somewhat better in yourself. I still hope for your nephew that his future can be sorted for the best xxx
I haven't logged in for a few days, how much have the last few posts cheered me up on a day when I'm feeling quite down. Really nice of you Italiangreyhound and Lilka to check in on me! I didn't do the writing or drawing thing yet. I did end up blurting everything out to a lovely lady who really gave me some perspective, I was surprised to hear she'd had someone in her own family with a similar experience so I guess it's more common than what I think.
Thanks fizzledrizzle for the lovely comment and luvscotland for the website recommendation, I have been looking at that one with interest in recent weeks, it's so reassuring to know people are out there who are trying to help.
Sadly no updates on the situation yet, everyone and everything are still very much in limbo.
I may never have been in this situation myself, but I imagine the limbo must be one of the hardest things, you want to help or do something but can't because you have no idea what is going on or what will happen. I hope it won't take long and yet court delays can be horendous. I doubt you can talk about the case much Syd, but if tehy are trying to get a Placement Order so he can be adopted, then it can take ages to get through court.
I am so glad you have been able to talk to someone. I know I don't have any practical help or tips apart from writing/drawing and stress reducing excercises but I do always have an ear to listen even if I have no advice (or whatever an online ear is called lol!!)
I'm sorry to hear things are so much in limbo - both for you, and for your sister and nephew. It must be so hard for the whole family .
I think you should keep trying to talk it out - in some ways the hardest thing is trying to keep everything as some great family secret. It is so difficult to have something like this just constantly going around in your head.
I wish you all the best. Keep us updated. I hope your sister is managing to get her life back into some sort of control .
Syd35 thinking of you.
Syd35 whilst I appreciate it is all in limbo for you- that is what your nephew's whole life will be like until he finds a permanent stable home.
His FCs as hard as they are trying can only be conveying a sense of temporary to him.
He hasn't had stability with his mum.
How long do you think his emotionally immature little mind can take it?
I do agree removing a child from it's birth family is close to the worst thing you can do to them- but sadly sometimes birth parents do worse things and that is why the children have to removed.
Your sister when she only has herself to look after can't even hold it together to stay off drugs to get her baby back. People do manage it-parents do sometimes pull themselves together that is why SWs give them all this time-she hasn't yet.
You have my every sympathy-I would be heartbroken to lose a nephew or a niece, but this baby needs stability and the longer it is left, the harder he will find moving on anywhere, be it back to your sister or on to another family.
I know it's been a month now Syd, but you aren't forgotten here. Sending support your way
Thanks so much Lilka. Frustratingly there have been no further developments to report, not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I am feeling a bit better in myself and have faith that the right outcome will prevail. I will be sure to update when there is anything to share.
Hi Syd, it must be very frustrating for you to see the wheels turning so slowly. I presume if your sister isn't making efforts to sort herself our her son will eventually be placed for adoption.
I am glad for your sake that you are feeling better about this. Just keep telling yourself, that while you can support your sister and her son, you can't (and you mustn't feel that you should be able to) fix things for them.
My thoughts are with you all .
Yes i agree with most of the posts on here, as a foster carer the only alternative to adoption in years of being moved around in foster carer and i am sure as a loving aunt you would not want that for him.
the problem ss have is that children sadly like food often have a sell by date the older they get the harder they are to adopt and the less chance they have of living a issue free life
also i am surprised you core issue is getting your nephew back and taking issue with ss when your sister is not clean
i would also say their is no such thing as a forced adoption as she has the option to STOP taking drugs and possibly get her son back and she choices not to
and you say your sister wants to be given a chance and yet she continues to use god knows what the child has seen and he must be protected
and unless you have actually been to the case conferences and family court then to be fair you only have second hand information from someone who is using and has has her son removed
SO I ASK YOU ARE YOU FIGHTING FOR YOUR SISTER WANTS OR YOUR NEPHEWS NEEDS
Syd35 Wed 17-Nov-10 21:21:24
Thanks so much Lilka. Frustratingly there have been no further developments to report, not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. I am feeling a bit better in myself and have faith that the right outcome will prevail. I will be sure to update when there is anything to share.
what is the right out do you think??
Sorry I haven't been on for a while. If anyone is still interested, just to let you know the court ruled that my nephew is to be adopted. Just literally found out and am really sad it's come to this. I don't think my sister can appeal or anything so we may just have to accept the fact.
Thanks again for the interest and positive messages from everyone.
So sorry for you Syd and your sister, but I'm sure you realise that the child's safety and welfare should come before anything else. One of the problems for mothers in your sister's situation is that SSD do not have the time (nor probably the inclination) to offer any on going support to your sister. Don't think you said how old the child is - this will be dependent on how quickly he will be adopted. The older the child the harder it is to find an adoptive family, so he will remain with his foster carers until an adoptive family is found. Presumably your sister is still having contact, but that will be cut down quite drastically now that the court have approved the adoption plan.
All prospective adoptors have training groups and he difficulties of birth parents is explained and they are encouraged not to judge the birth parents or to say anything negative to the child. Your sister will probably have the opportunity to meet the adoptive parents in a neutral setting - these meetings are very tense for both the birth parents and the adoptors, but adoptors are usually glad to have met the birth parent, though I'm not sure this is true for many birth parents, and some refuse the meeting.
I know it is of small consolation, but there is usually a system called "the letter box" organised by SSD so that your sister can receive an annual photograph via the SSD letter box and some adoptors send news of the child too, but this does depend of course on the adoptive families. Your sister can send cards/letters etc via the system, but it will be the adoptors who will decide whether to pass these on, dependent upon the child's age and understanding.
All adoptive parents have to agree to tell the child the truth i.e. that they are adopted, and provide a life story book, containing pictures of their "first mummy and daddy" and other "first" relatives, granny, cousins etc. It will also contain pictures of the foster carers etc so that the child has some understanding if his beginning.
You sound like a lovely sister and I am sure you will be a big support to your sister in the loss of her child.
Do take care of yourself too.
I hope it works out well for him - maybe there will be a silver lining in that the shock of this might make your sister take a look at her life, and hopefully get herself together.
Adoption is no longer the dark hole it used to be. Most adoptive parents are very keen on some sort of letter box contact - after all, we all know that when our children are 18 they can contact their birth family, so we want to keep the lines of communication open. I fully expect my children to search at some point for their birth families. I hope when they find them, they find people who have happy and fulfilled lives.
You can be there for him when he comes looking, and hopefully your sister will be in a better place by then.
I'm sorry it has got to this stage syd and hope that this is the best solution for your nephew to live a stable and happy life.
sorry to hear syd.dd2 family wanted to keep her but her aunts dh was very much against it so shes with us now.
dd2 birth family,except her bm, really want to keep in contact and i will make sure they are updated with photos and a letter once a year, hopefully she will want to meet them when shes older.
make your feelings known to social services as it should all be documented. im sure your nephew will appreciate it when hes older.
Oh my God this is so sad. Is there no way your DH can be pursuaded to that on the child? What are his reasons?
Hugs to you xx
I'm sorry for everyone that your sister didn't get it together. I really hope your nephew doesn't wait around long in foster care now, and he finds a good loving family quickly
Most adoptive parents are happy to write letters, some are happy for more - phtos, telephone, or visits. i write letters and send photos to DD2 and DS firstmum once a year. i have met her twice, once was a contact visit with DD2, probably will a third time this year.
I hope you find some peace. i can't imagine how difficult this is. Support vibes and virtual wine/chocolate coming your way
i dont mean to sound harsh and i do not know you or your sister however having seen the effect sof drink and drug abuse on children i will state that it is absolutely for the best that this littl ereamins in care.
that way the cycle will be broken. if this little one was to stay with your sister and grow up in that environment then he would probably grow up to be a user too. i have seen it time and time again.
i know it is devastatingly hard to watch this happen and not be able to do anything but as much as you want it to happen your sister clearly is not that bothered by it.
if she was she would walk over hot coals to get her child back. i understand addiction, and i know how hard it is to recover however if she was serious about getting her son back she would keep off the drugs and go to a rehab program, it can be done, i have seen people do it.
my opinion and it is just my opinion that adoption would
be the best option for this little boy. as cruel as that sounds to your sister.
as for an open adoption, the chances of this happening are unlikely as it is not in the childs best interest.
the court appointed guardian will dismiss that immediately.
how can it be in any childs best interest to maintain a relationship with a drug user?
it just isnt.
has she consistently attended contact, and meetings and appointments?
if not these will all go against her. has she turned up for contact high or drunk? again that will go against her.
im sorry for her situation but sadly it was her own doing.
im sorry this is hurting you so much but i think you have to face facts and let him go. it will be better for him on the long run.
Forced apotion is horrific.
In Ireland, the rights of the family are enshrined in the constitution and thus social servies are designed towards keeping the family together and supporting parents. It is unimaginable that any sane caring professional could imagine that a child is better wrenced off their own flesh and bllod and given to "rescuers".
Google forced adoption and see what you find. There are plenty of campaigners who coould help. Fassit is I think a group, you'll find plenty on google.
Irelnad has, for the past decade been dealing with the repercussions, moral, legal and societal, of the past work of taking babies from single mothers and placing them for adoption. Britain will face this in decades to come and will struggle to understand how this barbaric practice is ongoing in 2011.
And anyone who says ss would not take a child unless totally necessary does not know the reality on the ground.
quietly,its not the single mother issue here, there seems to be very good reason for this child to be taken away.
Its not done in other countries in this day and age, for social services to act the strong arm and take children away from parents who want to keep them. This belongs in the dark ages. The modern way is to spend the money putting in place the resources to support parents. In Ireland, the children would be placed in long term foster care and encouraged to maintain a relationship with their mother, and she would be helped and supported to see the children and address any difficulties she has. It might be more expensive, but it is in my opinion the bettr way of doing it. I only know of England sticking with forced adoptions, most modern countries moved away from it many years ago and I feel it will blow up in years to come as young people sue the country for not supporting them to remain part of their family, even if living with foster carers.
Quietlysuggests - think you may have misunderstood the situation here.
Syd's sister has substance abuse problems, and can't safely look after her son. Syd cannot take him in because her husband does not want that. So the little boy will be adopted. I don't see anybody 'wenching' this boy away from his family. Whilst Syd feels SS haven't handled this as well as it should have been, nobody has suggested that them being involved in the first place was wrong - it wasn't
And I do take offence to your 'rescuers' crap. I don't know any a-parents who claim to be rescuers, nor me, because we aren't. No idea where you got that from
Long term foster care? It's the right thing for lots of children, but you do know the outcomes for children in foster care don't you?? They're appalling!
My oldest could have been placed in long term care, but got adopted by me instead, afer her first adoption broke down. She says she is very glad to have been adopted, and against her bios wishes, because long term care is still care - it isn't a totally permanent family who would happily take a bullet for you, and will not give up on you ever. She was horribly abused - she was removed far too late from her first home.
I am very sure that SS have probably removed children where it wasn't needed, but nearly all children who get adopted do need it. Just ask my three for a start
No I haven't misunderstood the situation.
I'm telling you that taking a child from a substance abusing mother and putting that child up for adoption does not happen in other countries.
In other countries, the child would be taken from the mother, placed in long term poster care with a family, and ALSO allowed and encouraged to maintain a relationsip with their mother.
OPs sister has a substance abuse problem. This makes it unsafe to allow her to raise her own child.
But it does not negate her worth to her child.
Their relationship is more than the substance misuse which does not represent the totality of their relationship.
foster care obviously. not poster care..
So this boy should be made to grow up living without what other children have? A proper family, and total unconditional love? Foster care doesn't hold a candle to adoption a lot of times, and the children suffer for it. he should get the same opportunity as other children to grow up with a proper family, where he belongs in that family totally
Also, what will you do if the child refuses to have a relationship with her? I've seen contact with bioloigical parents break down because the children refused to have anything to do with them anymore. Chilren are forgiving, but only up to a point many times - substance abuse can cause lifelong permanent damage to a child, and that child has every right to be very angry because of it. What do you do if he doesn't want a relatinship? Force him to see her, because she will be upset if he doesn't?
Parents don't own their children. If you abuse a child, why should they be punished for it? If my daughter had been kept in care, she would have lost the chance of a real family. She would have been punished for what her biological family did. That certainly isn't right
She has absolutely zero desire for a relationship with them whatsoever
Have to totally disagree with you quietly
I have 2 birth dc, 1 adopted dd, and two long term foster children. I treat them all exactly the same when it comes to my time, cuddles, finances, education ect. However the children I foster will never be mine. They will also never truly belong to their birth family. They are stuck in between having to deal with all the crap that makes a cared for child differant.
All children deserve the security of knowing where they belong. A child in long term foster care can never have that. Some deal with it better than others but the outlook for looked after children is grim.
I completely disagree with you, quietly. I read a lot of adoption reports before adopting my dd, and there was only one case in which I questioned whether ss were giving up on the mum too soon, and whether she could parent her child with greater support.
In every other case, it wasn't just that this was a mum who was having temporary problems coping because of a drug addiction she could get help with. (There are women in that position, and I agree they shouldn't have their children taken off them.) No, these were women who led terrible, brutal, dysfunctional lives, who had never experienced adequate parenting themselves, who had failed all their other children, who displayed no understanding of what children need or empathy with children's feelings. Let me be really clear: women who use drugs do not necessarily end up like that, but women who have had brutal, dysfunctional lives do often end up on drugs, in order to anaesthetise their pain.
Children need at least one parent who is consistently loving and reliable and on their side. This need cannot be put on hold. Growing up in foster care while maintaining contact with the birth parent, hoping that one day she will be ready to parent, is a recipe for disaster. The child will be bewildered, confused about who is their parent, repeatedly distressed and disappointed by the birth parent. There is a poster on here called TheFirstMrsDeVere who can tell you about the impact of continued direct contact with a birth parent who cannot shape up to be a parent.
You will think that I have an axe to grind: I am an adoptive mother and I wouldn't have my child if she hadn't been taken away from her birth mother. But I am also a birth mother, and I do get how big a deal it is to take away children from their birth parents. I feel very, very sad for my dd and for her birth mother that they cannot be together. I hope that one day her birth mother will be able to get to a place where direct contact will be possible and beneficial for them both. But I also know that my dd needs parenting NOW. Her birth mother is not an evil woman - not by a very long stretch - but her problems are very long-standing and her other children (who stayed with her) are massively, irreversibly damaged in the most horrible ways. It is beyond naive to think that she can be supported to become a good enough mother in time for my dd.
Oh, and quietly, you say that a woman's relationship to her child is more than her substance abuse. You are absolutely right. I have worked in drug and alcohol services, and also in maternity care where I was involved in helping develop services for drug using mothers. I absolutely don't think that drug use in itself is a reason for taking children into care.
But I haven't heard of one child being adopted just for this reason. All the children's profiles I saw were for way, way more than this. There was always a mix of reasons: drug use, alcohol abuse, mental health problems, domestic violence, learning disabilities, neglect, physical abuse, sexual abuse. It is not true that people who use drugs are always a mess, but it is oftten true that people who are a mess use drugs.
It happens here in the US fairly often, so it's not just in the UK. And for the record, I've seen horrific cases of abuse and neglect, and those parents still wanted to keep them and fought like hell to do so. Thankfully, they were not allowed to. I knew a little boy whose arm was broken by his father while he was high, and was also sexually abused by one of his father's friends at a party while his parents were too out of it to know what was going on and protect him. His parents did love him, and wanted so much to keep him, but due to their addictions they could not keep him safe. I fought and testified for him to be taken from them, and I'd do it again in a second.
That being said, Syd, I'm very sorry for your family's loss. You sound like a lovely and caring sister.
quietly I am confused about why you think that the UK is the only country who "forces" adoptions - I don;t know a single country (will look up ireland shortly) who doesn't remove parental rights in the certain cases and if it is appropriate that child will then be placed for adoption. Should (real scenario) an abused and neglected three year old who has been taken and returned to birth paretns 5 times in his first 3 years, finally removed permanently after broken bones be held in limbo for life and denied a family life? This child arrived at his adoptive parents covered in cigarette burns.
The UK has ratified the Hague Convention enshrining the childs right to a family life - in order of preference with birth family, within birth country with permanent adoptive family, with permanent adoptive family anywhere. Kicking around any care system doesn't really get a look in when considering the grand plan for what most people felt was an aspiration for a child.
There are programmes in place to help mothers in need particularly drug and substance abuse programmes, there are also foster programmes for babies born at risk (often to addicted mothers) with the aim to have them palced back with birth family which is successful about 15% of the time. I would even be open to the argument that we should be making more effort or placing more resources in this area but your portrayal of a child being placed in long term foster care sounds more like a life sentence than a life.
I have no axe to grind btw, I am no "rescuer" (nice turn of phrase ) just a parent and my childs BM was not "forced" into adoption, he was relinquished.
quietlysuggests, you cannot possibly think the current system in Ireland is better - there are literally thousands of children in Ireland living with addicts/suffering abuse/living in long-term foster care with no permanency.
Ireland has one of the highest (if not the highest) rate of death of children in care in the world.
The social services in Ireland are so stretched that there is a three month waiting list, at least, in most areas, for a child even to be assessed as "in need of help". Investigations into mis-treatment of children are slow and under-financed. The child is generally kept with the parents way beyond what is acceptable, because there isn't the money or the will to remove them. By the time they are eventually removed (usually when they are a lot older, possibly even into their teens), they are beyond saving - they are illiterate, no longer attending school, and often addicted to alcohol or drugs themselves.
The English system of taking children and "forcibly adopting" them may be tough on a small minority of children and their families, but for the vast majority of children this happens to, they at least have a hope of a future.
The Irish system is appalling.
Kew, the difference in Ireland is that children are never (as far as I know) placed for adoption without parental permission - they go into long-term foster care, and are often backwards and forwards between foster homes and family . This can go on for years, as under the Irish constitution the parents rights outweigh those of the child (amazing really, considering that in the case of abortion in this country, the rights of the child seem to outweigh those of the mother ).
There are no older children placed for adoption in Ireland. There are maybe 20 relinquished babies, and some step-parent and foreign adoptions. There may be a (very) few long-term foster children adopted by their foster parents, usually if the birth parents have died or disappeared.
It is very sad how many children are moved from pillar to post their whole lives .
Yes Maryz I looked it up and some of my co-conspirators when meeting DS were Irish. I understand that legally only children born to single mothers/unmarried couples can be adopted. Isn;t that a bit odd?
That is astonishing, maryz and kew. I had no idea.
maryz - you are very brave. I am intrigued to hear from a parent of a drug addict and the circumstances described below are generalisations not directed at yourself in any way.
As a foster carer of many babies born of addicts I fail to understand how so many are awarded to the grandparents to care for.
Some of the addicts have definitely taken drugs to block out the memories of their own childhoods (their histories do not make good bedtime reading) yet still the babies go to the grandparents because studies that say children should be with their birth families.
Most come from homes of poverty in areas where schooling is not promoted as essential and so the cycle continues.
So I'm relieved to read that you realise that your family has suffered enough and that you would push for adoption, I wish there were more parents like yourself. I wonder how many grandparents take on the daunting task of bringing up grandchildren without projecting forward 20 years and reflecting on their experiences first time round.
kew that is so sad. It's gone from one fucked up extreme to the other.
Yes, as the parent of a drug addict , I would feel it even more important that if my son did father a baby, he or she would have the opportunity of a caring, loving and permanent family. If that meant us losing a grandchild, that would be the price I would be prepared to pay . It might be that I would be in a position of choosing between my son and grandchild and that would be my worst nightmare.
If, however, my son was out of the picture and SS approached me, I feel I could make a very good guardian of any potential grandchild born to my son and any potential drug addict girlfriend he might have - simply because I have proved I am a good parent to my other children.
My son is a drug addict because he has SN, because he is on the autistic spectrum, because he has mental health issues. You can't blame me more than I blame myself - maybe I have failed him, but that doesn't make me necessarily a bad parent, or make his childhood a bad one.
People become addicts for all sorts of reasons - not necessarily because of traumatic childhoods or bad parenting.
Ultimately the child is the important one - if I could not give my grandchild a safe, happy childhood, then he or she would be better adopted by a loving family. The very worst thing would be a back and forth from foster to birth family arrangement, which goes on for years, with no permanence for anyone .
Yes, Kew, children born to a marriage cannot by law be adopted EVER, unless both parents die, because marriage and the family resulting from marriage is legally protected under the constitution.
Are...you...^serious^ ?! That's crazy!
Where did that law come from? Here in the US we have the Indian Child Welfare Act, which was put in place during the 70's because Native American children were basically being stolen from their families. So now white people can foster Native DCs but it's very, very, very hard to adopt them. To a point I understand this, of course! BUT. I've seen so many lovely little ones who could have had a wonderful, stable home and instead have had to float around in the system for years because a suitable Native family cannot be found for them. Occasionally the tribe will give their consent and allow them to be adopted, but not usually until they're older and severely damaged by the instability of their lives. Poor little dears.
As I always thought the laws in Ireland are in the dark ages ! Very very sad they make laws that treat children as property, how backward is that ?
My dad is Irish and had the most appalling childhood. His life would have been way, way better - and so would mine, and that of his other children - if somebody had intervened
Mryz and kew - I had no idea about that! That system sucks
CheerfulYank - i think there have been cases where adoptions have been overturned when the child had NA heritage but the adoptive parents did not follow the law/ICWA properly, and thought they could get away with it - obviously they couldn't. I heard that some tribes are much more restricitve than others? So some will rarely allow any child to be adopted by a non NA family, whereas others are not as concerned
Sad isn't it.
When we first wanted to adopt, we asked about adopting older children, or a sibling group, but were told there were none, ever for adoption .
So we applied to foster an older or sibling group, and were told we wouldn't be considered for fostering as we had no children "and giving them back would be too hard" .
So we applied to (and were very lucky to) adopt babies.
But adoption of babies doesn't mean adopting children without problems. All children who enter this system have problems - it is just a matter of minimising them and surely a loving permanent family is the best option .
Cripes, maybe that should be our next mumsnet campaign!
I'm only half joking. That's terrible! And yes Lilka I think it does depend on the tribe, but most of them (and you can hardly blame them) are unwilling to let their children be raised in a different culture. I feel for them, but it's the same issue-surely a loving, stable home would be the best thing for any child?
I just wanted to add to those who say long term fostering is no solution.
I have a good friend who was fostered by the same family from 6 weeks to age 18 so really this should have been a stable upbringing but sadly she has no relationship with them now. No grandparents for her DD.
They also had birth children and other short term fostered children and she constantly felt unsure of her status and of their love for her and worried she might be 'given back'. Not helped by having irregular contact with her birth father who sounds a very scary man.
It coloured her whole life the constant uncertainty of not knowing if they really loved her (because if so she reasoned why not adopt her?) although she admits that practically she was treated much the same as the others.
When the normal teenage arguments arose their relationship just couldn't withstand it and she moved out and hardly saw them again.
How much better to be adopted at an early age by someone who really loves you as their own and will always be there for you.
That is exactly the situation we find ourselves in mamadoc. I have 2 birth children, 1 adopted dd, 2 long term foster children.
My two long term children have been with us for two years. I really do love them and would love to adopt them but that is not possible. They will never go home, will be with us to adulthood. It breaks my heart to see them in this place where they don't know where they really belong. I know they love me and dh but they can never really be our children.
They can never jump into bed with me in the morning for a cuddle (as my two often do). I still need to ask permission from the parents to take them on holiday ect.
The little girl often says stuff like "when I am 16 I am going to live with my mum because she wants me back". I don't believe mum will ever be able to forge a healthy adult relationship with her dd so she is spending her life dreaming of a future which simply will not happen. The boy has so many problems to face. He believes one man is his father when it is common knowledge that his father is very probably another man that he has never met. I cannot do anything about finding out the truth. I will just have to support him as best I can when he finds out (which will probably be in a very negative way).
I know that when they grow up our relationship with them will probably fail. Their family have a huge influence on them and they still have quite a lot of contact which nearly always ends in a negative way.
I am trying to argue the amount of contact but as we haven't been to panel to confirm their long term placement yet I am very wary of rocking the boat with SS.
Syd35 I just read through the thread again from where you left off last and wanted to say I am thinking of you.
I know discussion has moved on a lot but if you are looking in on the thread I wanted to say all the best to you. Lots of wise people have made some good comments about security for your nephew for the future and I really hope it will all come together in a good way.
I hope that when he is older he will get the chance to meet up with you and build a relationship with you as a grown-up.
I really hope your sister will get the help she needs and will move on to a good future too.
With all best wishes in a difficult time.
I've logged in after a few weeks and amazed to see the discussion is still active.
Italiangreyhound I really appreciate your message, you have cheered me up many a time through this.
My sister has been told all contact will be stopped soon which makes me feel very sad for her and my nephew. I couldn't imagine being told I would not be seeing my son again, I still think this is all wrong but I know the decision is not mine to make.
I truly wish my nephew finds himself with a loving family that really want him - such as some of the lovely adoptive parents who have taken time to comment on this thread.
Syd - Hugs to you
He will find a loving family, and I also hope you feel better in yourself soon.
My best wishes, to you, your sister and especially your nephew xx
Oh Syd, how very sad for you, your sister and your nephew. I am so sorry it has come to this.
Syd, if it is any consolation the hoops you have to jump through these days to be approved to adopt should ensure that the family he goes to will really want him. He is also young, so there will be a wide variety of adoptive parents to choose from, again hopefully giving him a very good chance of being very much wanted and loved.
I am sad for your sister, for you and for your wider family. But adoption is no longer final - you are quite likely to see your nephew when he is an adult, and I really hope your sister can use the intervening years to get her life back.
She must really be struggling at the moment . I hope this will give her the impetus to change her life around.
I wish you all the best.
Syd35 Thanks for your kind comments. I can't really say anything about the current situation, it is hard to know exactly what to say.
We have not yet adopted and are still thinking about it, only tonight my DD (6) said about 'when' we adopt (not if!). She is very excited about the prospect and I think she will make a very good big sister to someone one day, if it is the right thing. So you know your nephew may well end up with new brothers or sisters as well as a new family. You will always be an auntie, I really hope you will get the chance when he is older to meet him again.
If you have any spiritual leanings you can remember him in your prayers. If/when you meet again you will have things to tell him and share.
You've expressed so much concern for him and I feel very hopeful that when he is adopted he will get a new chance. You still have your sister with you (I mean in your life) and I hope she will listen to you, and get her life sorted out so that she can go on to enjoy a family life in the future. Many people suffer fertility problems and never get to be parents at all. I really hope she will find the strength to turn her life around and that you will find peace after this process.
All the best,
This is now a legal situation and the only way forward is definately a solicitor firstly. The government now prefer children to be kept within birth families if at all possible. A family memeber can put themselves forward but will have to undergo a full assessment for a special gaurdianship. If nobody is in a position to do this then I am unsure what options are left. Adoption will probably be the result. The child has to be first priority. Unfortunately within the court situation, it is facts not emotions that count.
It is a very sad situation to be in, I found myself in this situation for my grandson. He now lives with us permanently.
@ Syd35 ... Re your comment at 10:31:23 on Tues 18 Jan 11 "... just to let you know the court ruled that my nephew is to be adopted. Just literally found out and am really sad it's come to this. I don't think my sister can appeal or anything so we may just have to accept the fact."
Your sister could appeal. She could also file a claim, preferably on behalf of her son, under the Human Rights Act 1998. But I think either would only be likely to being successful would be if she could obtain a medical report saying that her drink/drug "problem" and or mental health condition is not serious enough to be likely to cause her son significant harm. If you think your sister could obtain such a medical report (recommendation) I can provide further details of the possible legal options. I'm not a lawyer but have been a litigant in person in the past and have "looked-up" quite a lot of the relevant law.
@ Syd35 ... Re "I don't think my sister can appeal"
What probably happened was your sister's solicitor said something like he or she didn't think it would be possible to obtain permission to appeal. I would say the bottom line is that in order to have any realistic chance of obtaining permission to appeal, from judges at the Court of Appeal in London if the placement (for adoption) order was issued by a county court judge, it will be necessary to show that there was something significantly wrong with the legal proceedings so far, ie something which if corrected could have led to a different decision being made, and or some new evidence, eg a medical report, which it could be argued couldn't have been made readily available for use in the proceedings so far.
Thanks for the advice melvinscomment - I have a feeling the law is different in Scotland where my sister lives, do you know much about the Scottish system?
@ Syd35 ... Re the Scottish legal system
I have no experience of the Scottish legal system, but have been a litigant in person in England. Although various details will be different between England and Scotland, I think the same general principles will apply. Below is a web link to section 6 of the Human Rights Act 1998. I clicked the "geographical extent" box on the left of the page and see the Act applies to all parts of the UK :- www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/crossheading/public-authorities?view=extent
Here in England a HR claim or a tort claim would be filed on a N1 Claim Form, available via the HMCS web site, which doesn't seem to work very well at night, so I can't check at present whether or not the same Form would be used in Scotland.
@ Syd35 ... Sorry! The HRA 1998 comments above are relevant to someone else from Scotland on a different thread! I checked the Adoption and Children Act 2002, as in the link below, and see it only applies to England and Wales :- www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2002/38/section/21?view=extent
Then I discovered the Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 :- www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2007/4/part/2/crossheading/the-making-of-permanence-orders?view=extent
It looks like a permanence order in Scotland is pretty much the same as a placement order in England and Wales. A placement order, and presumably also a permanence order, can be "revoked" ie "set aside" or cancelled, but it's very difficult to do and probably only possible if there has been a serious procedural irregularity at some stage in the proceedings, as in this case in England :- www.bailii.org/ew/cases/EWCA/Civ/2008/835.html
However, in addition to the above Adoption Act comments, there is also the question of whether or not it is worth making a claim under the HRA 1998, along the lines that the evidence against a parent was not sufficiently strong to deprive a child of his or her Article 8 right to respect for his or her private and family life.
Melvinscomment - thank you so much for your interest and taking the time to look up the info.
I spoke to my sister yesterday and she is very upset that she isn't being allowed contact anymore as was my nephew at the last visit when she had to explain that she wasn't allowed to see him anymore. Bearing in mind it has taken 3 years to come to this conclusion and to suddenly stop all contact is very distressing.
My sister tells me she has now stopped using drugs but is on a methodone programme so I'm not sure how that would be viewed in any appeal situation.
I shall have a good read of the links you have posted and think about how best for her to proceed.
@ Syd35 ... Here in England, and I think it will probably be the same in Scotland, the social workers generally stop contact between a parent, normally a single mother, and his or her child, when they get a placement (for adoption) order, which seems to be called a permanence order in Scotland. It was easy for me to look the stuff up, because I already knew where it was. The "MJ (Mother)" case, aka "Re B" I think in a published law report, is the only one I am aware of where a placement order has been set aside on appeal. That was because the Adoption Panel which recommended the child for adoption, ie effectively gave the Local Authority permission to apply for a placement order, hadn't been shown all of the medical reports. Lord Justice Wall, who is now President of the Family Division, said that was a serious "procedural irregularity" and as a result the question of whether or not the child should be recommended for adoption had to be referred back to the Adoption Panel for reconsideration. It seems the only chance of getting a placement order set aside, aka revoked, ie cancelled, on appeal is if a sufficiently serious procedural irregularity can be identified in the prior proceedings. I think it will be a lot easier to do the above before the child has been physically placed in the home of the prospective adopters than it would be after that happens. How long that takes to happen will depend on whether or not the Local Authority have any prospective adopters lined up and waiting, so to speak.
A free-standing HRA 1998 claim, or a tort (wrongful acts) claim, is something entirely different to appealing agaisnt the issuing of a court order, even though the objective may well be the same, ie getting the order set aside and replaced by a different order.
A potential major problem with appealing is that if all of the boxes have been ticked, according to what is specified in the relevant Act, there generally isn't anything an appeal judge can do. He or she may not have made the same decision but can't set the order aside because it was "within the discretion" of the "judge below" to issue the order.
For anyone contemplating trying the HR claim or tort claim route, which I haven't actually tried myself but believe to be entirely possible, I think it would definitely be best to write the claim in terms of what is best for the child, ie to argue that the judge who issued the order complained of was wrong to do so because the evidence, that the parent is likely to harm the child in the future, is not in fact strong enough to deprive the child of his or her Article 8 right to respect for his or her private and family life. I think it may be more or less essential for the parent to obtain a recommendation from a medic to that effect. If not available from already known medics then maybe from another one, maybe or if necessary in a NHS Trust adjacent to the one the parent lives in.
Syd35 how are you doing?
Do come back and talk to us if it would be helpful to you.
Thinking of you.
Italian Greyhound - So nice of you to still be thinking of our situation, I hope you are well.
Funnily enough it's been on my mind lots this past week or so as I am visiting my family next week and it's going to be strange not seeing my nephew. I usually get to see him when I'm visiting. He is still with the foster family until such time that someone wants to adopt him. I'd so like to see him but I don't know if that's possible since my sister's contact has been cut.
I am on good terms with his foster family but my sister is not so it's tricky as she got upset one time I was allowed to see him and she wasn't. (I made contact with the foster family directly previously but don't want to bother them too much).
I don't know who to approach at the SS as don't know the names of anyone dealing with the case. I don't want to ask my sister as she will only be upset about it all.
I am finding it hard to let go and the whole thing keeps going round in my mind. Do you think I should pursue asking via SS if I can see him or will it only upset everyone?
I'm so sorry for your situation. And I don't mean to butt in, but I know of cases (here in the US) where children were allowed to be adopted only if they could keep in touch with certain members of their extended families. Maybe this could be the case with your nephew? I would say keep asking, it can't hurt.
Thinking of you!
Syd35 If I were you I would talk to someone about this, someone who can be of help.
Do adoption services have anything useful to say on this, I wonder if anyone else can advise.
I am not sure what would be best. The future for this little boy is of paramount importance but I am not sure how seeing you would affect him. I would imagine it would help him but I just don't know.
I think if there is someone you can discuss this with, then it would be helpful to do that now.
Talking to someone outside the family would not commit you to doing anything or not doing anything but might just make you more aware of the possibilities.
I think I can totally understand how your sister would feel (I mean as much as anyone can understand and put themselves in another's shes!). I mean if my child had been taken away, for whatever reason, and my sis were to see her, I think (hope) I would feel pleased and at least it was a chance to know how the child was etc BUT I can really see how she would feel upset by the fact you saw him and not her.
I think it is best for you to do whatever feels right for you. You seem like a really caring person. If you will feel happier and better knowing you have tried to see him then that is what I would do. I am sure that you are aware that you may (or may not) upset your sister etc but if your concern is to see your nephew and if this is something that is allowed and is considered helpful for him by those who are caring for him then I think it is totally reasonable for you to look into this.
Will you feel better if you do that? Are you doing it because of love and concern for him and also because it will be good for you to see him? If so, and assuming that the visit goes smoothly and does not upset him then I can't see a problem with it.
BUT I don't know - I am NOT an adopter so I have no idea of all the ins and outs of the law about this but I do think it is reasonable for you to ask and find out. Please do keep in touch with us if it helps you.
Thinking of you.
Syd35 I think the only chance your sister now has of getting her child back is if she launches her own claim (which I think is called a "crave" in Scotland) under the Human Rights Act 1998, or a tort claim or similar claim or application, eg under the inherent jurisdiction of the High Court here in England, submitting that the child is being unnecessarily and disproportionately denied his Article 8 right to respect for his private and family life. I think to have any chance of succeeding your sister will probably need some sort of report from a medic saying that her drug/drink use and or mental health issues are not sufficiently severe to prevent her from being an adequate mother. It is possible to file such claims as a litigant in person here in England and I think it will probably be the same in Scotland, even though the paperwork is different. The chances of success must be relatively slim at this late stage in the proceedings. However, if I was in the position your sister is in I would definitely try one of the above types of application to a court. I don't think the court would refuse to hear her claim even if it wasn't prepared very well, especially if it was supported by some new or different evidence, eg a medical report which differed from the report(s) filed so far in the proceedings. I would say it isn't necessary to "prove" that any existing medical or other reports are "wrong", just that they may be wrong. *I think a child's family tree should only be chopped down in relatively extreme circumstances.*
Message deleted by Mumsnet.
You mean I spent hours the other day trying to get a message deleted and then you delete me without me even trying?!! Darn, I'm getting good at this
Here is the latest forced adoption related article in the Telegraph :- http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8392887/Another-horrible-case-for-you-Mr-Loughton.html
Here is the latest forced adoption related article in the Telegraph :- www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/8392887/Another-horrible-case-for-you-Mr-Loughton.html
Maybe the best thing is for the child not to be in the care of an addict who uses while she's supposed to be caring for him. Sometimes love and good intentions aren't enough.
This link was posted on another thread where melvin and wasthattheguy appeared (coincidentally apparently). Mumsnet have deleted that post, and say there is no (known) link between the two posters, but I am reposting it in case anyone is getting too upset by these threads.
No doubt it will be deleted soon .
Syd, I am really sorry that you are finding this so stressful, and I really do feel for your sister, but I am concerned that melvin and wasthat have ulterior motives to
his their "advice" to you.
In my opinion you should follow mrsdevere's advice upthread. Contact frg, and write to social services saying that you want what is best for your nephew, but that you would very much like to keep in touch/be updated/be involved if there is any way you can help. You need some real life advice (and probably someone to talk to), because you are in a very tough position .
Syd I agree with Maryz talk to someone in real life who can help. All the very best.
Please come back and talk to us if it helps you.
Syd sorry that sounded a bit confusing, when I say can help I mean who can help you deal with this in the best way for you, and can help you to be the support you so much want to be for the people in your life.
Do you keep a diary? I think keeping a diary of your thoughts and feelings, or a journal, might help you process your own feelings. Also maybe one day if your nephew asks you questions about this time, you will be able to answer more honestly and accurately if you have an idea of what you have been feeling and thinking. Sometimes writing things down just helps one to deal with feelings better.
Thinking of you.
Syd35 Additional comments re the possibility of using a claim (crave) under the Human Rights Act 1998 to challenge prior court decisions in "public law" child care cases are in this thread :- www.mumsnet.com/Talk/legal_matters/1176783-Childrens-panel-decisions
Thanks for the latest advice. I tracked down the name of the social worker dealing with the case and left my number for her to call me back, surprise surprise she didn't have the courtesy of calling me back.
I am fed up with the whole thing now, I just want to let my nephew know we haven't forgotten him but am on the verge of giving up. These SS should really think about what they're doing. How would they feel if their families were ripped apart.
Sorry to come across negative today when so many of you have been offering support, just feel it's a losing battle as SS are a law unto themselves it would seem.
Thinking of you syd. It must be very frustrating. Hope things work out.
All the best.
Still thinking of you Syd, and I hope you feel a little better today. Keep pushing and calling, and you will get through eventually! I might also (if you feel upto it) try writing your Nephew a letter, that could be put on file for him. Then push and call till they put it there. I know two of my children have at least one letter put on file for them (although I have got copies of said letters, so they won't have to wait to read them)
Social workers DON'T call back, Syd. Hospital doctors don't, either. It is apparently acceptable in both professional cultures and it never ceases to infuriate me.
I'm not surprised you're fed up: you're just trying to be a good aunt, and you would think that the social workers could seize this because, let's face it, your DN may one day be desperately grateful for evidence that his birth family cared.
Lilka's advice is good: write a letter and push for it to be put on file. And take good care of yourself: this must be massively stressful.
Quietly, I'm in Ireland. My husband and I provide respite foster care to a child who has been in care since she was 8 months old. Her mother was utterly incapable of parenting and was eventually reported to SS by her brother but by then, the damage to our FC was done. The mother was never ever going to be allowed to parent our FC again. Our FC was with one family until she was 2 1/2 and was then moved to long-term care. While her long term foster carers have done their best, she has been difficult to rear as she has many issues that are a direct result of the neglect she suffered in her early months. She has lived all her life with the threat of "being sent back" if she doesn't behave. I have had many phone calls from her foster mother saying "will you take her now cos if you can't, she's going back." No child should have to live with that axe over their head. Every child should have the chance to feel that they "belong" to someone, no matter what.
You speak to any social worker here and they will tell you that the ultimate goal of foster care, its raison d'etre, is to mind the child until the mother is ready/able to resume parenting. There is no account taken of the children who will NEVER be returned to their birth parents. They live in the limbo of long term foster care. Not. Fair. End of story.
Syd, I feel for you with all that you're going through. Don't give up on your nephew now. Any contact he has with you will be so important to him in future years.
lettinggo, that is so upsetting. I had no idea about the situation in Ireland till I read about it on this forum. Tell me, is it very controversial in Ireland? Is anyone campaigning for change?
Syd - I'm a retired sw and tm mgr and have 30 years experience in childrens services. Re sw not ringing back - frustrating I know, but on many many occasions I could not always return calls because I was so bogged down with trying to meet deadlines etc. This is the case for all soc wrks these days, especially in child protection cases. They have to spent 70% of their time in front of computers because that is what Lord Laming recommended after the death of Victoria Climbie. The little time they have left is taken up with emergencies and seeing childre who are at risk and carrying out assessments. I can't begin to tell you how much paper work is generated by taking a case to court and how many deadlines there are to meet, SO they have to prioritise and I'm afraid if it is a case of phoning an aunt of a child in care, or going out to assess whether a 6 week baby has to be removed because of ill treatment, it is obvious which one has to be done. I know it is frustrating and manys the night I have gone home with several unanswered requests for phone calls. In the end you just have to think "I've got one head and one pair of hands" and all I can do is prioritise to the best of my ability.
Re seeing your nephew. Can I ask how long it is since you have seen him and how old is the child. In other words, would he know you, or would you be a stranger to him. Contact has to be in the best interests of the child, not the relatives I'm afraid, so I doubt very much that contact with you will be seen as meeting the child's needs. You say your sister still has some contact (sorry if I've got that wrong) could you not ask the sw if it's ok for you to be with your sister when she has contact. That might be the best solution, both for the little boy and your sister, who would not feel you had seen more of her child than you.
All natural parents have the right to leave a letter on file so that when the child is 18 they can ask if their birth mother has left such a letter and whether she would like contact. It is of course up to the adopted person to make efforts to trace his birth parents, if he so wishes, and not the other way around. Although having said that, with the internet I do know of mothers who have traced their adopted children. There is no knowing what will happen in the future, but I am sorry for the feelings of loss that you and your sister will be suffering. I hope that doesn't sound glib, because I always, always felt sorry for the natural parents, even though the child's best interests must be paramount.
Thanks to everyone for the recent comments.
NanaNina it's good to get the perspective from someone who has been in your position. I last saw my nephew at the end of last year and he is of an age where he knows all the family so I would be no stranger to him. My sister is not permitted contact anymore.
I have decided the best course of action is to write to the social worker since my calls are proving fruitless. Let's hope for the courtesy of a reply.
Thanks again for sharing your experience you sound a nice person.
Syd good to hear from you. There have been lots of helpful comments on here and I think you will find the right way ahead. Please do keep talking to us if it helps you.
Syd35 I think the social workers are even less likely to reply to your letter than return your phone calls. Writing a letter takes longer, in addition to any other reasons for not doing it. It is clear that your nephew would like to be cared for by his mother and remain in contact with his bio-family. The social workers have been able to convince the court that is not appropriate. I am not a lawyer. However, I think the only chance your sister now has of retaining her child is if she can get a letter from eg a medic saying she is likely to be an OK mother. Then for the mother to file a Human Rights Act 1998 claim against the Scottish Government Justice Department www.scotcourts.gov.uk/courtsadmin/jdd.asp via sections 6 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/section/6 and 7 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/section/7 of the Act. Probably in the Sheriff Court www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Justice/legal/Civil as a "party litigant", "litigant in person" in England. In my opinion, professional lawyers, who earn plenty of money via the State, should not to be trusted in "public law" proceedings. The claim could submit that the court was wrong to agree with the Local Authority and deny the child his Article 8 right to respect for his private and family life www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1998/42/schedule/1 for reasons which are disproportionate and not necessary in a democratic society. Depending on the current circumstances the claim could alternatively be against the Local Authority. I think it would not be a good idea to try and argue such a claim in terms of the rights of the parent or the family, because the LA and or the court will just say we are only interested in the welfare of the child. So it is best for the parent and family to say the same!
Syd - I hope you don't take notice of WTTG/Melvinscomment (I think they are one and the same) He/they clearly have an axe to grind regarding child protection. The fact that he says that the only chance you sister has now is of getting a letter from a medic to say she will be "an OK mother" demonstrates that he doesn't know what he is talking about. There will have been many assessments done on your sister, which will have to have been evidenced in court. I am assuming the court have granted a Care Order or Placement Order (the latter means the court have agreed that the child can be placed for adoption). To think that a medic can now pop up and say someone is an "OK mother" is ludicrous.
He is also knocking the lawyers and saying they should not be involved in public law proceedings (which is the law that your sister and the child have been involved in). I don't agree with the system that we have in the UK i.e. the adverserial system, which means the lawyers fight for their client as in criminal proceedings, but it is the system that we have. There will be a LA lawyer acting for the LA and no doubt your sister has had a lawyer acting for her and she would surely be eligible for legal aid. Just thought you may be in Scotland where the laws are different and I don't know how they differ.
This bloke could also be John Hemming - Lib dem MP for Yardley inBirmingham in the West Midlands who is always talking about cases of the Court of Human Rights, but never tells us that any court has overturned the original decision made inthe Family Proceedings Court. I think these men are just raising hopes for people in your position that will not solve the problem and just cause more heartache. God knows what their agenda is - but it's not honest and authentic, of that I am sure.
Oh, dear, here we go again .
syd, I really hope you are ok.
wttg - you already said that (in substance) on Fri 18-Mar-11 09:50:41, no need to repeat yourself as OP has shown herself to be caring of her nephew and understanding of the issues and it seems perfectly capable of taking what everyone has said and doing the best she can with it.
Just thinking of you and concerned to avoid you getting RSI for no reason.
Are you trying a different tack there Kewcumber ?
Syd35 This is how a "litigant in person", "party litigant" in Scotland, would find out about forced adoption cases in Scotland.
Do a search on BAILII www.bailii.org/form/search_cases.html
Here is a recent Scottish Sheriff Court Decision www.bailii.org/scot/cases/ScotSC/2010/14.html and the Acts and Rules referred to by the Sheriff.
Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007 www.legislation.gov.uk/asp/2007/4/contents
Children (Scotland) Act 1995 www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1995/36/contents
Act of Sederunt (Sheriff Court Rules Amendment) (Adoption and Children (Scotland) Act 2007) 2009 www.legislation.gov.uk/ssi/2009/284/contents/made
Oh go away that guy and get a life!
It is John Hemming I recognize his "style"
This is a sorry story, which hopefully will evolve into a positive ending for the child at least.
A letter from a medic to say the birth mother can be a parent? What utter rubbish and likely to send caring relatives on a wild goose chase.
Letters are a much better way of communicating and, in my real life experience, always elicit a response.
SWs are always overworked. Even the best ones dont return phone calls. If they do they tend to be last thing on a friday, preferably leaving an ansaphone message. Cant tell you the amount of times I have recieved the 'five thirty friday message'.
My FD thought I was some sort of white witch when I predicted we would hear from her SW at this precise time. She was amazed when it happened
Any letter you send should be kept on file at the very least. This will be available for your nephew to read when he is ready. Some small comfort.
I think this thread shows both the best and the worst of the internet in responding to a situation like this.
I think it is very cruel and irresponsible to try to encourage Syd to 'appeal' the final adoption order. She is way out of time in any event.
Her sister will have had a lawyer, paid for by the State. The child will have had a lawyer and a Guardian, paid for by the State. Syd concedes that the mother couldn't stay clean and was providing positive samples.
This child will have come to the attention of SS because he was suffering or likely to suffer significant harm due to the mother's failure to parent due to her drug and alcohol abuse.
On the bare facts given I cannot see that any appeal has any hope in hell of succeeding. Children can't wait around for ever for their parents to sort themselves out or for relatives to put themselves forward. It is sad but true.
Syd sounds like a loving and caring person but I have to ask - where was she while her sister was spiralling out of control? Was the sister keeping it a secret? Why did no one in the wider family notice what was going on and step in? How did it get so bad? I can only suspect that Syd only knows the part of the story her sister choses to tell her and I would bet that is but the tip of a very large and bleak iceberg.
I think best thing to do is to say goodbye to your nephew for now - it won't be for ever. He will have a life story book prepared, your sister will hopefully be able to make use of letter box contact and when he is old enough I am sure he will come looking for his birth family. That might be cold comfort now, but little children have a desparate and urgent need for solid stable parenting as soon as possible. I accept that this is very sad and dreadful for birth families to accept but the damage done to children in the households of substance abusers can be massive.
I agree with most of your post spero, but I would be hesitant to criticise Syd at all for "not being around when her sister spiralled out of control".
ds1 takes drugs, he is likely to be an addict for a while. For their own good, I really hope that my other children can step away, and let him either sink or swim. They can't "cure" him, they are unlikely to even be able to "help" him.
I think Syd has done her best, and while she is naturally upset about the turnout of events, she mainly accepts that her sister can't (or won't) cope, and that she herself can't take the child.
I agree that the real harm on these types of threads is the unrealistic advice given by people like melvin who seem to think that an entire childhood in and out of care and the courts is better in all cases than adoption .
Syd just wanted to say 'hi' - thinking of you.
Maryz, of course, I wasn't there and can only speculate. However, I would guess it is going to take more than just one incident of child being left alone, not fed, injured, etc, etc, before SS took an interest. It usually takes quite a long time for SS to step in, unless something major happens and police are involved of course.
I was not suggesting that Syd 'cure' her sister - I know that is impossible. But family members can and do step in, offer respite, even make referrals themselves because they know how bad its got. Syd said her husband didn't want to get invovled. It sounds like this family is distant from the sister, didn't know what was going on until it was too late and the only info they are getting is drip fed by sister.
I am really worried by some of the websites out there and some of the people who pop up to give 'advice'. I was so shocked by John Hemmings last year I was going to write to Nick Clegg about his activities - I am not sure how his activism fits in with his paid for employment as a politician.
I'm sure OP will find that really helpful. I read one of those (recent Scottish Sheriff Court Decision) beginning to end (twice) and didn't get much out of it but no doubt I am not so bright these days as I once was.
supro i dont think you need to be to worried micheal gov the minster in chanrge of children and familes was him self adopted adopted himself i belive and aldo tim loughton used to be a youth worker so theirs no chance of them ever listeing to what jh has to say in matters of adoption and we know the judges do not take kindly to mps getting involed as they would have only gotten the parents side of events
Kewcumber It definitely isn't easy for a parent acting as a litigant in person, party litigant in Scotland, to learn the relevant details of the law. I think a good way to do it is to read relevant judgements. Doing a search on BAILII, selecting Scottish courts only and search term "permanence" brings up the following cases :-
NanaNina You are correct that Syd35's sister will have had lawyers acting for her. The child will also have had seperate lawyers. In my opinion, there is a fairly high probability that all of those lawyers will have been covertly supporting the Local Authority. In terms of future fees, it isn't a good idea for any lawyer to get on the wrong side of a Local Authority or any other public sector organisation. However, litigants in person have no problem getting on the wrong side of public sector organisations, apart from a possible financial one, like the lawyers! Bottom line is it is best for a litigant in person to have very little cash and no significant assets, just in case he or she ends up being obliged to pay the other side's legal costs! If a litigant in person launched a claim which a LA defeated and asked for its legal costs to be paid by the litigant, it would be at the discretion of the judge to decide whether or not to grant the LA's request.
Here is the latest Mr Booker article, which has various comments attached relating to forced adoption :-
I appreciate everyone's comments although I did think some certain recent posts were a bit strange. Kewcumber I was the same with some of those links.
Spero - I won't go into details here but we are quite an open family and were aware of my sister's problems. Of course we have all tried to intervene but there's only so much you can do for someone. You cannot stop someone being influenced by others and making bad choices. So yes, I have distanced myself to a certain degree over the last few years but I am always at the end of the phone if she wants to talk.
My husband comes from a very different background to mine and he just isn't interested. If I try to speak to him about it he is quite derogatory about my sister so it's a closed book as far as he is concerned.
Thanks for the thoughts Italiangreyhound, I do appreciate your continued interest.
Syd - Its always difficult to know the true situation with only one side of the story but based on what you have posted I think you have probably done the best you can. I also suspect that although your heart bleeds for your sister and her son you probably accept that her problmes do compromise her ability to parent effectively. If they didnt I think you would have been able to have a more involved relationship with her and although you are desparately sad about this and you can't imagine the horror if it happened to you I suspect there is a part of you that can't help but wonder if she is a decent enough parent? If something happened to you and your DH - would you be happy for her to be sole custodian of your children?
I read that link to Mr Bookers article and posting a link on that in comments to this thread is nasty and below the belt Melvin/WTTG, and does your cause no good at all. I have always been open to a discussion about children taken into care incorrectly, I am always happy to discuss failings of professionals in this area even though I think they are by far the minority of cases, the OP should be a natural ally of yours in this area but you cant help alienating even those who should support you in your campaign with your single minded trampling over the reality of those who could benefit from your help. Syd has been very careful to keep identifying details off this thread but there is always the risk that someone outs her in real life.
To paraphrase Jane Austin "poorly done, Melvin, poorly done"
I think this is John Hemmings too - surely there can't be 2 other males posting on here with the same warped views as him. Whatever, I think the best thing to do is to ignore these posts. Sorry Syd because I think this is detracting from your OP but I am sure you are sensible enough to know that melvin/wwtg/JH are all talking nonsense and giving you totally inaccurate "advice" It troubles me greatly that this bloke/men are using these threads because they have an axe to grind, and are falsely raising people's hopes, as others have pointed out.
Hi Spero - nothing changes does it - I did actually write to Nick Clegg but didn't get the courtesy of a reply. I haven't seen JH on the threads for a long time and thought he'd gone away, but see he is back, although since I posted about Wall LJ's criticism of him and the fact that he attempted to sue Birmingham City Council for £30,000 and insisted that the sws should pay out of their own pocket, and being ordered out of court by a Judge in Birmingham he has gone very quiet......here's hoping! Mind if these other 2 blokes are not JH, they too are posting nonsense and clearly do not have the children's interests at heart, but are obsessed with this ridiculous notion of "forced adoption" - sorry I know I am preaching to the converted!
Hello again Nana! Maybe I will try again, you should at least get the courtesy of a response when your raise a query about an MP...
Can I just invite again Mr Hemmings or whoever his latest sock puppet is. Come to court with me. See how I act for my clients. Your suggestion that I would be in any way 'in the pay of' a LA or my fees would depend on not pissing them off is laughable.
I am paid by the Government. It doesn't matter if I piss off LAs, they don't pay me. My solicitors rather like it if I do piss them off.
So, come to court. See it for real. Or keep on obsessessing on some web site and causing needless pain to people like Syd by encouraging them to think they've got a case or can appeal??
My email is phillimore sarah @ hotmail.com. I've already cleared it with the Bar Council.
Shortly after his election in 2005, he made headlines when it was revealed that he was the father of a child with his personal assistant and fellow councillor Emily Cox, though he would stay with his wife and her three children. His wife Christine commented that she forgave him and is standing by him, as he has always been honest about his extramarital affairs, of which she said this was "about number 26". Following the publication of details of the affairs, Hemming voted for himself for the News of the World's 'Love Rat of the Year' competition. In 2010, his wife appeared in court charged with stealing his mistresses' cat. Pleading "not guilty" on 7 February 2011, she was bailed and sent for trial in June.
I don't think he should be lecturing anyone about parenting do you ladies?
Oh my goodness . I remember the cat incident, wasn't the owner a mumsnetter? I never put two and two together.
Sorry syd, it must be very hard to see such an emotive subject for you being so belittled and simplified. I really sympathise with you - there is little you can do for your sister, and in a way probably the best thing you can do for your nephew is to do nothing . Sadly, if you did step in temporarily as many relatives do (especially as your husband doesn't feel able for whatever reason to back such a move), it might be worse for the child in the end, because if that placement breaks down, or if the child goes back to the parent and then back into care (which often happens), the child is then much older and sometimes more damaged, and may never have a permanent family.
This has been a tough process for syd, and I don't think that without knowing all the facts any of us can give concrete advice, just sympathy and support in as much as a crowd of strangers on the internet can.
Maryz - I think you are right to try to bring this thread back to Syd's problems. I hope you don't think I'm splitting hairs but Syd would not be approved to care for her nephew in any circumstances, given that her H is not in agreement. I think in any event that the final hearing has taken place when the judge makes the decision about the child's future and it sounds to me as though the judge has granted a Placement Order to the LA that means the child can be placed or adoption. The adoptors then have to go to court for the adoption order, but that is really just a formality.
Think you are right that all we can do is to empathise with Syd and hope that over time she will feel more settled in the knowledge that the child will be being cared for in a way that will best meet his needs.
Exactly, nananina . But you know, I kind of have to admire his decision - far better to say how you feel and be honest, than to go along with things to keep people happy.
I think to foster or adopt within a family you have to be a very strong person, to give the best to the child often means being absolutely certain how you will deal with the birth parent, and you are constantly put in the position of being torn between parent and child, whereas you have to put the child first (if all that makes sense ). I know a family where the grandparents of an addict stepped in, fostered the child, but then encouraged contact with the mother, and the poor child was ferried from one to the other for years . The grandparents used to get phone calls from the mother's flatmates that she was on a binge, they would collect the child, she would "get clean", they would hand him back, etc. It was horrible.
If my son (who is involved in drugs) had a child, it would be very hard for me to choose, if I was asked to between my son and grandchild , but I hope I would have the strength to make the best decision for my grandchild, because the children are the vulnerable ones here. While keeping a child within the wider family is great, when it works, it can be hard to do in practice.
It also sounds to me that the final decision has been made and I hope it all works out for this little boy.
Syd thanks for keeping us informed. I hope you are feeling better. I really do recommend keeping a journal of your feelings. It may help you in the future to feel good about your concern for your nephew, the way you have tried to be of help, even listening to all our talk as part of your concern. Certainly some people have said some very helpful things on here and it may help in the future to just remember things.
Keep in touch if it helps you.
This might be of interest to Syd or anyone else involved in these proceedings who needs to know more about the legal system. Syd needs to be reassured that her sister would have got good quality and committed legal representation - these cases are not brought to court or decided on a whim and we don't simply bow down to LA wishes.
Its research from the University of Bristol which I hope even JH would accept is a respectable source.
Spero Thank you for posting the Bristol University care proceedings report. I will peruse it as and when I have time to do so.
thanks wasthat etc.
I know that people have very bruising and traumatic encounters with the care system and that it strikes at the very soul of what it means to be a parent.
But I do worry about people who only know a little, or know what their family have chosen to tell them, and come on threads like this and get fed all sorts of information. We all have to be alert to the fact that we all sometimes see only what we want to see or what suits our prejudices.
I am aware of that and try to factor it into all that I do. I honestly do not think there is any risk that I am a pawn in the system or a LA lap dog. I proceed with cases on my analysis of the facts and the law; that is the one real strength of laywers who may be paid for by the State but who are independent of the State. The Gov has to keep on paying me, even if I disagree with it but domestic and international law tells them to. I honestly do not recognise the family law system that the 'forced adoption' et al websites describe.
Perhaps all I can say to anyone in this situation is - act immediately if you are worried about a child. Get legal advice asap if you want to be considered as a carer. Please don't think the court system is out to snatch children or that all social workers are either automatically corrupt or incompetent.
And take what you read on the internet with a big grain of salt.
i had both my children taken and put up for adoption simply because i had mild depression and the social worker watched a tv program about men who kill their children then commit suicide. i've never harmed any child and never will. the social worker could have put support in place if that's what they thought i needed but they just want to have my children adopted. i have since learned that the whole "forced adoption" system is not about the welfare of the children but about how much money the solicitors, psychologists, independant social workers, guardians, foster carers to name but a few can make before the magistrates force the adoption through. i have seen the legal aid forms and a psychologist made £9000 just to have a chat for half an hour, and another £9000 for chatting to my wife. and independant social worker who made £6000 just for writing a report about what she has read in the social workers report.
the whole system is corrupt from the lazy lying social worker right up to the "i believe everything the social worker says" magistrates.
my children always asked if they could come home but were ignored. i hope they take all the people who made money out of destroying our family to court when they are old enough because i have been told "your legal aid will not stretch that far. how will you pay for it?"
just to add to that. not all social workers are lazy and tell lies, we've had some very good social workers over the years who have been helpful and supportive.
p4u1 - I'm sure there are people who on here who can give you better advise than I can. Perhaps you could start a new thread for support as I'm not sure your position is very applicable to Syd who started this one.
Mumsnet adoptions normally are a very supportive board on the whole rather than the battle field it has become in recent weeks. I'm sure if you hang around and make more than one post you will get some some good advise and support from others.
p4ul so sorry to hear your story and I don't mind that you've tagged it onto my thread at all. I am always interested in hearing about other cases.
I do hope you are able to challenge this and get the help you need. Sounds like another case of over zealous social workers sticking their noses in. Something does need to be done about them ripping families apart. We are talking about peoples lives here and it's a disgrace.
Update on my nephew - he has been adopted finally and we have no details except to say there can be "post box contact" twice a year. I am wondering about who his adoptive parents are, how he has settled in and imagine he must be feeling quite bewildered, he only ever wanted to go home with mummy. I hope he will adjust and settle quickly and we can all reunite when he is older.
Good luck Syd. I hope things work out well for your nephew and that your sister gets the help she needs and that you are able to maintain some contact.
I don't think I have any useful contribution left here so will sign off now.
I wish you, your sister and your dn all the best. I think the most important thing for you all is that your sister can get some help and get her life back on track. Addiction is an awful illness , she is still young, she has her whole life ahead of her.
In 16 years' time when your dn is an adult, I hope she can be in a position to be able to be a birth-mother he can be proud of, and that he will be happy to meet. If she can keep up friendly letter-box contact, the chances of such a reconciliation will be much higher.
I hope you too are ok . It has been a long road for all of you.
I wish you the best Syd, and hope good contact can be kept up, and I hope you find some peace
If what Pu41 says is true, he has a copper bottomed case for appeal. Even a baby barrister, qualified five mins, could have torn that LA case apart.
Sadly, I suspect there is rather more going on in that case then is contained in a brief summary.
I don't wish to ever belittle the pain that families go through when a child is taken from their care, but I can't say anymore or link to anymore to try and reassure others going thru this that this system is NOT a corrupt cess pit.
Some parents can't parent. I am proud to live in a country where we want to protect children and recognise their fundamental right to grow up safe and healthy. They are not the possessions of their family. 'Family' doesn't trump everything.
But debates like this over the internet are so depressing and so hopeless because all those who 'believe' the system is corrupt do so quite genuinely. But I worry that someone who is about to go into the system will read stuff like this and be unnecessarily terrified.
If Syd reads the Bristol research, hopefully she will be reassured that her sister got proper robust representation and the right thing was done for her nephew, however hard it feels now to accept.
Sorry Syd cus I don't want to detract from your post but I must endorse what Spero has said about PU41's post. As for the amounts of money he quotes that is paid to the professionals, this is simply ludicrous. I don't know what he means by "seeing the legal aid forms" and knowing that these sorts of costs are involved. I don't know what psychologists are paid, nor lawyers, but as an independent social worker I can say quite definitely that I was paid £1,200 for assessing foster carers/adoptors and that entailed around 6 visits to applicants, 2 visits to referees, liaison with all the professionals involved and writing the report which could take up to 20 hours, and then a half day at the LA fostering panel.
I did also do ISW parenting assessments for court via an agency and I was paid £35.00 per hour, and I don't this is excessive. I can assure PU that on average I would receive around £1,500 for these cases. Mind the agency I worked for did very well out of it. These figures of psychologists being paid £18,000 per case is ridiculous. CGs are paid around £30 an hour too.
I promise I won't respond to Pu again because I realise this is detracting from the thread, although Syd sadly you have come to the end of the road with your nephew, and hope that you will have some good support over the coming months when you are bound to be feeling very low.
Thanks NanaNina, I'm starting to come to terms with it now. It has been dragging for so long, that in a way, I'm almost relieved it's come to a conclusion so we can try to move on. My sister hasn't opened up much about how she's feeling and ends up getting defensive when I try to talk to her about things but I imagine she's hurting really bad. I've found it helpful to share my thoughts on here albeit "with a crowd of strangers on the internet" as Maryz recently put it - and Maryz I hope your son manages to turns things around, I know what you must be going through.
Also want to thank those of you who have followed my thread - kewcumber, Maryz, Italiangreyhound, hester, Lilka and others, even melvin/whoever who I think was trying to be helpful even if he's rubbed others up the wrong way!
Syd, you sound like such a lovely lady. I really hope you and your sister can find some peace, and that your nephew is settling well with a loving and wise family who can guide him through the years ahead.
Pu41, I feel odd about responding to you on Syd's thread, but will happily do so if you want to start another thread. All best.
Syd really wish you all the best for the future, and for your sister and your nephew. He will all always be your nephew and he will always be your sister's birth child. I really do hope your sister can turn things around, and I agree with maryz that it would be good for her to be the birth month that your nephew can be proud of. One day I feel sure he will make contact again with her, and you; I hope you will both be able to have that relationship with him then.
You have shown yourself to be a very caring person and I hope that you can now have some peace about this whole situation.
God Bless you and your wider family.
I will try and look in from time to time if you ever feel the need to talk.
birth mother not birth month! Sorry Syd it's late and I'm dozy!
When I said he will make contact with you, I meant via your sister, although maybe if you have left a letter on record for him then he may contact you - I'm not an adopter and so not sure how it works.
All the best.
Syd, as a retired social worker I have to say that, strangely, the profession do not have a culture where the deep bond felt by a child to its mother, and then to the extended family is taken into account enough. I seldom met a child who did not wish to live with their parents or other family members, often despite quite dreadful circumstances. I also taught social work practice in a college and was often considered out on a limb when I said what I found to be true regarding these matters. It seems to me that the efforts and resources (incl money) should be put into supporting families to stay together. There are few wealthy families where forced adoptions take place. Just another thing, not widely known - many adoptions are not permanent - they 'break down' and children end up back in the merrygoround of care facilities. Adoption is not the golden panacea that is imagined and can detroy whole families in one fell swoop. I am not in any way underestimating the difficulties of addiction and all that you have so honestly described. Just want to say bless you for your love and concern for this little boy and his mum. I do hope you are given the chance to keep in touch with him - it could be his emotional lifeline. With much love x
Eilum..... I am wondering why, for your first post on MN you choose to reserect an old thread to tell us we are all about to destroy our whole family be adopting. We are aware of the percentage of adoptions that break down, but it is not a huge number.
I feel very patronised by your post.
The other day there was a little girl on breakfast tv, she was 8 and said she just wished the social workers had cared more about getting her away from her awful home life and into a normal family than trying to keep her dysfunctional family together! That from an 8 year old!
I work in CAMHS and see the result of kids brought up by addicts and its not pretty, the damage is everlasting, lots go on to be addicts themselves or make bad choices at an early age to get away or end up being the parent, an awful responsibility to have to take on!
SW rarely take kids away and when they do more often than not it is for a good reason, their first responsibility is to the child and it us an awful situation for your sister to be in but even on methadone she is still an addict, just to a legal form of the drug she was addicted to.
As much as you love your nephew you must understand that being with a drug free loving family is much better than having to cope with the uncertainty of what having an addict as a mother brings.
I don't think either social workers or adoptive parents see adoption as a 'golden panacea'. In fact, preparation for adoption is pretty much a dripfeed of everything that could possibly go wrong.
Having said that, adoption has given me a wonderful daughter, and has given her parents who love her, a warm safe home, books and toys, stability and security - none of which have ever been possible for her birth siblings. Whatever the future brings, I can't believe that won't set her up for life better than the alternative. Sometimes, when we're being 'realistic' about adoption, we forget that.
Eilum - I find it really hard to believe you were a social worker to be honest.
"I seldom met a child who did not wish to live with their parents or other family members, often despite quite dreadful circumstances." - this isn't news to anyone surely and can't possibly be a reason to keep children in "dreadful circumstances". I don't think there is a legal basis for removing a child because a parent doesn't love them enough, but as is so often quoted at adoptive paretns and its equally true of birth parents "love is not enough".
"I do hope you are given the chance to keep in touch with him - it could be his emotional lifeline" I'm very pro birth family contact but "emotional lifeline" - a bit dramatic.
l do not believe any child should be adopted if the parents or child do not want this....forced adoption and closed courts should be stopped...Social services need to concentrate more on children that have been seriously harmed instead of targeting those for lesser reasons...seriously they use you not taking your children to surestart or your child has developed nappy rash as reasons of neglect,this is preposterous but it is going on...l do not think any one is safe from them.Some people will comment and say you deserve it but if it turned out that they where targeted their views would change. Not every one who has ss involvement are bad parents but they in a lot of cases are been made out to be unfit. When is their(THE SSs ) tyrannical reign going to stop. Even one judge has likened the ss to Stalin and Chairman Mao and that says it all....
That is very interesting, missydeedee. Do you have evidence for any of your assertions?
These are not assertions,these are facts...This is going on... You want evidence go out and speak to some people,families,,, but there again you cant because in these cases you can not talk about any cases going through family courts,,,why are they so secretive... But they can then give out info, when advertising the children in adoption magazines...the evidence is there listen to people and their stories,not everyone lies.
Doubt it. Never seen any evidence myself....
No one denies there are a small minority of cases in which perhaps the wrong decisions were made
But I am very glad we have a system which allows the children to be put before adults. Try telling my eldest DC that she shouldn't have been adopted because her original parents were (very) against it, and see what response you get
my nieces am afraid where adopted though unlucky for them their adopted parents were not nice people,they were both abused in more ways than one and that is not all ,l know of quite a few people who have suffered by their hands and in their hands..My daughter is having to fight for her son,l have had involvement so l can say as a fact what l have stated is true.There are children out there who are beaten or worse, but can they really justify taking a child for something so silly,in alot of cases they need to try in some cases to help more. l see from all sides but feel strongly that more needs to be done. I AM GLAD THAT THERE ARE SOME GOOD PEOPLE OUT THERE,but there are always two sides to a story...not everything is has the ss say in alot of cases. there is good and bad every where its just sad that children do suffer in more ways than one...and families too.
Sorry l would like to add this, it is now the ss are going in and now saying ( A CHILD COULD BE AT RISK OF HARM OR SIGNIFICANT HARM) not that they are at the present time been harmed etc, so what does that say..l am just very concerned at where this is leading. Do they have a glass ball and can foresee the future. They are aiming at the less severe ,what about the children who are beaten or worse..some have died... this is a sad world.
missydeedee, when they say a child is at risk of harm, that doesn't mean there is a theoretical possibility of harm. It means that there is evidence that makes it reasonably likely that a child will be harmed. Usually that evidence comes from past treatment to older siblings, with no change in lifestyle that would suggest the parent won't continue behaving in the same way.
So, very common situation: mother abuses drugs and alcohol and has a series of violent partners. Children are neglected, perhaps abused, and eventually go into care. Mother gets pregnant, still using drugs and alcohol, maybe living in a crack den, with a life full of violence and instability. Baby is born. Mother resists support offered to her. True, she may not have harmed the child yet. But it is not crystal ball gazing for a reasonable person to conclude that child is at risk of harm, is it?
Your point of view comes from someone who has SS in their lives and those of your family, I'll say no more!!!!!
It is sad that your husband refuses to be an uncle to his nephew- his nephew didnt ask to be put in care
What if that boy were him- luckily he will never feel what your nephew must daily have to endure
you have needs, values and principles too, what about your husband honouring your principles of forgiving your sister, valuing family and above all providing a stable, loving home for your nephew. Very understandable you feel sad your husband and mother-in-law are not wanting to love, protect and provide stability for their nephew/grand-child's cousin.
I hope your sister can turn the corner and win against her addiction-great she is really trying, hope she keeps tying even if she stumbles at times
best wishes and hope you are able to continue seeing your nephew-lovely you are wanting the best for him now and in the future, maybe you can provide a loving auntie (and cousins to play with) for him over the years
Some people really do annoy me you judge with out knowing any thing and its because of people like that that this country is in the mess it is...people need to get their heads out of the holes they hide them in. SS do not just have involvement with lower class it goes through all the classes....But if and when it happens to you or some one you know would you be quick to condemn people... l lived in care from a young age... the reason been MY MOTHER DIED AND MY FATHER WENT TO PIECES... NO ABUSE THERE. Most of my time in their system was hell abused in foster care and in the childrens home.. so until you know do not base your opinions on what you do not know. I HAVE LIVED THEIR HELL. SO DO NOT DO ME THE INJUSTICE OF CONDEMNING ME WITHOUT KNOWING ME OR THE TRUTH.
sounds horrific DeeDee I cared for children in care for a bit and saw how sad they were and how their parents were often very loving and deserved more of a chance with SS but had such a battle ahead to be heard and their children really got messed up by unstable living arrangements and paid carers that can never replace unconditional love-even from selfish messed up parents
So glad u have the courage to tell others
So glad you keep hopeful for the future and for others situation to be better than yours and others that were unacceptable
missydeedee, I am not judging or condemning you. In fact, I wasn't talking about you at all, but about the wider situation - which I do know something about.
I'm very sorry you had such a bad time in the care system.
I feel for your sister, i am in a close sort of situation.
I had my baby in 2011 i was 15 at this point, i was placed into a foster home during my pregnancy abd developed an amazing relationship with my foster mum to the point she was basically my mum! After giving birth me and my baby got on great, i breast fed and we had a very close bond.
Well social work didnt like the fact i was doing a good job as they wanted to take my baby from me since they found out i was pregnant, so they moved me from my 'mums' into another foster home saying that me and my foster mum weren't getting on?
anyway, me and this new foster carer didn't always see eye to eye, she tried to control everything i did for my daughter and told me i wasn't doing a good job. this upset me as i tried my best for my child, from days of being placed in that foster home i felt low and upset, especially with the way social work and this new foster carer were treating me so i attended a doctors appointment and was diagnosed with depression, now 15 year old mum with depression would you not think i would need some support instead they decided to put in more assesments which was more stress for me, one day me and the carer had a fall out and she called social work next day amd they discussed removing me from my baby! Well that time never worked and to remove me from my baby because i told the carer to back off and let me look after my baby my way which i think is fair? Well 2 weeks later i told her to back off again when sge fed my baby formula behind my back which i feel is very wrong!!! Well i picked up my daughter and walked to the kitchen to take my depression tablets and she followed me and watched my every move i was waiting on the midwife coming and after i took my tablets she came to the door with a social worker which confused me we continued with our meeting and as they were leaving i noticed the carer in the kitchen counting my tablets and this annoyed me so i took my tablets and put them in the cupboard and she took them back out so i grabbed them and threw them on the table as i was upset and walked out with my daughter and went to my room to cool down and social work said i was a danger to my daughteri accept i shouldn't have got upset but i was bullied for so long i couldn't take it, they removed me from my daughter that night she was only 3 months old and she hasnt lived with me since and now social work have there hands on my baby they won't let go, she is now 14 months old and they are attempting to adopt her amd the reason they want her adopted is because some of my family don't talk to some!?
what does your solicitor say? and if you haven't got a solicitor, please get one urgently, you won't have to pay. If they are saying the reason your child is being adopted is because some of your family don't talk to one another, I don't see how that can possibly be a lawful reason.
Either you and your daughter are the victims of a very serious miscarriage of justice or you desparately need to talk to someone who can explain properly to you what is going on.
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