Step parent adoptions - thoughts?

(12 Posts)
DragonMamma Sun 11-Nov-12 13:31:48

My DD is almost 5, she hasn't seen her bio dad since she was 18months (his choice). The last time he saw her we hadn't been in contact for 9 months previously, despite my best attempts to get him to 'step up'. He saw her maybe 3 times shortly after she was born.

Relationship broke down because of his coke addiction and the fact that he made me call myself an ambulance when I was very ill whilst pregnant because he was too f*cked to remember basic details like my DOB and how many weeks pregnant I was hmm. We lived in London together and I relocated home halfway through my pregnancy to be nearer my parents and support network where I have stayed ever since.

He was unemployed for a long time, when he did get a new job he actively avoided the CSA (hanging up the phone when they called him, not returning paperwork they'd sent him etc) and they eventually got an attachment of earnings order so we now receive monthly maintenance.

I met my DH over 3 years ago, we are now married and now have a DS. He's the only person DD has ever known as Dad and she now has his surname in school, dentist and Dr's etc although legally she is still my maiden name as bio dad has PR.

DH would like to adopt DD just in case anything happened to me as we want to assure that she would not have to live with bio dad, given she knows very little about him (I've recently started to explain the situation in basic terms and how she's had 2 dad's etc but she shows little interest beyond that unless I mention it - understandable given her age). It's not about making us complete as a family as we are very stable and secure - it's more about ensuring stability for her in the event of something happening to me or if DH needed to make choices about her medical treatment, which is likely as she has been in hospital a few times with breathing difficulties.

As I understand it, bio dad would need to give his consent to her being adopted by DH and I really can't judge how he would react to this. He believes in possessions and I would imagine he would try and throw a spanner in the works, out of a sense of 'she's mine' (which I know she is biologically but not in any other sense). I think the not having to pay maintenance would give him food for thought though.

I was also wondering what grounds they would grant an adoption, without his consent? I saw on here earlier that one of the reasons it can be granted is on grounds of abandonment. In my eyes, he abandoned her a long time ago but would this be sufficient in the courts eyes? I have the same email address and mobile number as I always have so he could easily have got in touch, if he wanted contact. He sent me a one line email over a year ago asking if our address was the same as he wanted to send a birthday card (this was at 1.30am at the weekend so likely to be drunk etc) and I responded giving him the address as we had moved and that was it, no further email and no cards etc.

The last thing I want to happen is to upset the apple cart if it's likely to fail. I don't want to rewrite history and I'm not wanting to make stories about how DH was there at the birth when he wasn't, I just want to ensure some security for my DD and to acknowledge my DH as her dad, in every sense of the word. He's flaky at best and I know he would never commit to seeing her regularly and past experience has taught me he drops off the face of the earth when the going is tough or he has a new woman on the scene. The few short visits he made here he spent the entire time bleating 'she doesn't like me' whilst simultaneously texting a women and refusing to interact with a toddler.

If it's a case of wait a few more years of zero contact then I'm also happy to do that, but I keep thinking about it and I'm not sure whether to take the plunge and just go for it. But will I regret it if he's foisted back in to our lives, with all his flakiness, selfishness and possible drug use.

Sorry for the essay!

olgaga Sun 11-Nov-12 22:15:12

Hi - bumping this, am sure there will be someone here with information. If you don't get any joy from this thread, I think there is one specifically for stepparents. You could report your own thread and ask MNHQ to move it to the best place.

In the meantime, here is some guidance which you may have already seen. Good luck.
https://www.gov.uk/child-adoption/adopting-a-stepchild

Hi, I think you need to post this in adoptions ~ I've seen a few threads on step parent adoptions over there and many knowledgeable women who may be able to help. Best of luck.

Hi, I think you need to post this in adoptions ~ I've seen a few threads on step parent adoptions over there and many knowledgeable women who may be able to help. Best of luck.

DragonMamma Mon 12-Nov-12 11:14:42

Thanks both, I will ask it to be moved to adoptions to see if I can get any advice there.

HelenMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 12-Nov-12 16:29:22

Hello. We're moving this thread to Adoptions, at the OP's request.

Kewcumber Tue 13-Nov-12 00:19:00

I had to apply to dispense with birth parent consent for different reasons and I can tell you that courts won't do it lightly and they are unlikely to do it without contacting her birth father at all. Dispensing doesn't necessarily mean that they won't bother asking him just that his consent being withheld might not prevent the adoption.

Most common reason isn't actually abandonment but unreasonably with-holding consent ie that the adoption is so obviously in her best interests that with-holding consent is unreasonable.

However this is relevant...

*The requirement of the Children Act 1975 - to refuse an adoption application by step-parents unless satisfied that no other order would protect the interests of the child - has been abolished, but most courts will observe the same basic principle, that to deprive the child of the opportunity for contact with the father and his family (often the main purpose of the application) is of no advantage to the child as such. The need for the child to be embraced in the new family, a much more praise-worthy objective, can adequately be met by a joint residence order, which gives the step-parent parental responsibility and all the rights of a parent. Change of name can also be ordered at the same time.
There are cases, it's true, where an adoption order would be of real benefit to the child, especially when the natural father has never played a part in his or her life. Applicants must satisfy all the usual requirements of the law, in particular that they must be married and demonstrate a stable and durable relationship, and undergo all the other investigations by Social Services and the courts that are part of the adoption process.*

MakeItALarge Tue 13-Nov-12 01:23:41

Hi, Im in a similar position in that I would love my oh to adopt my ds. The biological dad was not in any way a bad father, just a man child who was several children that he and his family do not see, through their own choice. He has requested I never contact him again, we see him occasionally (small town) and he will cross the road to avoid having to see our ds.

My oh is a great dad to ds, and has full pr. Id love to do adoption but Im not sure how selfish of me this is, I feel like Im doing it for me and oh, rather than ds iyswim. My main worry is that ds will feel even more rejected by his bio father if we do go through with the adoption.

Also from what Ive read it is quite an arkward process, and there doesnt seem to be much advice, Id love to hear someones opinion who was adopted!

InSPsFanjoNoOneHearsYouScream Tue 13-Nov-12 01:31:09

My bio dad signed his rights over to my step dad once he realised he wouldn't have to pay for me. (Not like he did anyway)

My mum also had to adopt me when ny step dad did. To me at 10 it seemed straight forward. I went into a room with my mum and dad and a panel of people were there. One asked if I was happy for him to adopt me. They also gave me the option to change my first and middle name. Mum wouldn't let me grin

This was christmas eve 10/11 year ago now so don't know if anything has changed.

I did not feel rejected by bio dad as when I did see him I never called him dad and I never will. The best thing he did for me was sign me over. The fact my birth certificate now says the man who brought me up from the age of 2s name and some man I saw once in a blue moon meant a lot.

DragonMamma Tue 13-Nov-12 09:30:19

Thank you all for replying, it means a lot to get some outsider advice and perspective.

Kewcumber - can I just clarify, the passage you've quoted, does that mean they will look at other avenues to give my DH 'rights', as opposed to adoption? I'd be quite happy with anything that would give him some rights, if something were to happen to me. I'd also like to legally change her surname to reflect what she's known as and what she thinks herself as so it's more straightforward when it comes to things like exams at secondary school etc.

Makeit - was getting your DH pr fairly easy? I understand that bio dad has to consent?

WWYD in my situation? Risk rocking the boat for some long term security or just leave it and hope I don't get knocked over by a bus? I suppose I could also wait until she's a bit older so the time he's not seen her is more again?

Her family also has no contact, his mum has never met her, nor has she met his brother and her cousin. His sister met her as she drove him here when she was born. I did maintain a bit of contact with his sister and sil for a couple of years, sending updates and pics at Xmas and they reciprocated but that dried up as his sis moved abroad. His mother send money her first Xmas and that was it

Kewcumber Tue 13-Nov-12 21:02:20

does that mean they will look at other avenues to give my DH 'rights', as opposed to adoption?

Generally yes - though as I said I'm no expect. I think it would be wise to get some legal advice and no, I wouldn't leave it, I would make sure that your DH has a legal responsibility for her.

DragonMamma Wed 14-Nov-12 13:17:37

Brilliant. I will go and see somebody in the New Year when I'm not paying out for birthdays and Christmas.

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