ExH and his new wife are going to adopt. Don't know how to process this.

(65 Posts)
MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 15:24:57

Just received an email from XH he and his wife are in the adoption process social services and the authorities will want to talk to me and his two biological DC.

They were 1 and 3 when he upped and left. He was having an affair and left us well below the poverty line. He, so he now tells me, was in a very dark place. At the time he said that he'd never wanted to be stuck with a family (he hadn't worked for years and having DC was his way of staying home and being house husband). Our elder son is very challenging. He's Autistic. Not diagnosed at the time but was in the process of assessment. His inappropriate emotional reaction combined with xH's depression and short fuse resulted in DS1 being quite heavily bruised. It got so bad that a foutnight before he left I begged my parents to take DS1 for a few days to give them a break from each other.

I don't know why I didn't kick him out. I don't know why I tried to find peaceful resolution all the time but emotionally and physically I was exhausted (DS2 was 1 and hadn't slept for more than 2 hrs continuously since birth). Anyway, the sitauation suddenly resolved because it turned out his increased detachment from the family wasn't just depression it was an affair and they both left their marriages to be together.

It took time for him to accept you can't just check out of financial and emotional responsibility for DC. His parents and wider family have been good.

Role on 6 years he sees the DC every fourtnight for a day and pays 20% earnings, based on what he earned when we divorced. This works. The DC's have a positive relationship with him and we are civil to each other. He's never been badmouthed in my earshot so the DC have largely been protected from the true situation. DS1 who remembers so many details of events appears to have no recollection of this dark time.

I don't want to upset the status quo. Things are good. I'm remarried the boys have a little sister. DS1 is statemented and in special school (DH still calls it very mild Autism though). The boys have a positive relationship with their biological dad and a dad at home that has supported them for the last four years.

So what happens now? What do I actually say to who ever contacts me?

I guess I am still a bit bitter about his behaviour at the time of leaving but time has passed and he does now put the effort in once a fourtnight with the DC.

I don't excuse the bruising but dealing with an Autistic child who laughs as he's kicking and hitting you (hard) whilst you try and dress him, day after day, is extreme pressure.

I've always found email an effective way to communicate with XH. I have an email from him admitting his physical behaviour so it isn't just a twisted bitter memory, unfortunately.

I'm also scared that if I tell the truth and he finds out he'll somehow decide to have a battle for more access to the DC to get me back. Not to the benefit of the DC and him wanting them or him actually using any access that he was awarded.

I feel better for just writing it down.

Any pointers or views to help me process these feelings greatly appreciated.

nkf Fri 04-Oct-13 15:29:10

What a terrible situation. Can you not refuse to be involved? They can't force you to be interviewed, can they?

mamaslatts Fri 04-Oct-13 15:30:18

I think all you can do is give the SW the info you have given here, which you seem to have been balanced about - you've detailed his bad behaviour but also how things have been more positive. Your ex h and his wife will probably be adopting a quite vulnerable child, possibly with some challenging behaviour due to the difficulties they have been through. Everyone involved deserves to have the whole picture.
I would be surprised if at this time he would start to bugger around with access purely because I doubt his wife is in the place where she wants to start playing these kinds of games.

NatashaBee Fri 04-Oct-13 15:34:49

I think you have put it very well here, without badmouthing anyone. Whilst your ex has fulfilled his 'duty' of keeping up contact every couple of weeks and paying child support, it will take a whole lot more effort on his part to parent a child full time, who may have come from a troubled background and have special needs. Do you really think he's up to that? I think at the very least, SS should hear what you've said above so they can probe further into whether he really thinks he's up to adopting.

eatyourveg Fri 04-Oct-13 15:43:33

Just tell them exactly what you said here.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 15:48:05

Oh, responses. Thank you.

I would love to just avoid but wouldn't that just throw up questions in the process?

Regarding how he'd deal with challenging behaviour, I just don't know.

With DS1, DS2 is very good at managing him. He often takes the lead when I'm not around, like when they used to be at school together. He knows how to help avoid tricky situations with his brother and steers his dad. I just don't know how much management of DS1 is DS2 and how much is his dad - this is the kind of area where I don't know if its bitterness and assumption on my part.

He's only lost his temper with DS1 a hand full of times, that DS1 has told me about, over the last 6 years. No occasions have resulted in physical harm.

EllaMenOhPea Fri 04-Oct-13 15:55:04

You don't have to decide whether he's up to it, the SW will. So just tell the story as you've told it here, and she or he will be able to use the information as they see fit, together with all if the other background info they have,

BettyBotter Fri 04-Oct-13 15:58:43

You will be an extremely important person that social worker will want to talk to as you share dcs with him. They may take what you say with a pinch of salt if you come across as a the bitter ex but they will be very concerned to hear about xh's aggression and inability to deal with the stress of a dc with special needs.

You must tell the truth - both the good and the bad.

apatchylass Fri 04-Oct-13 16:01:12

That's a very tough situation for you to get involved in, but morally, I think you have to be honest with SW about his dereliction of duty with his birth children, and also that he didn't handle the stress of a demanding child. A lot of adoptive children come with deep rooted problems. They aren't necessarily going to be easier to care for than his own son who he has already failed.

It's not just about potentia physical harm. It's about emotional stability and his ability to be there for a child over the course of his or her entire childhood. He sounds like a poor candidate for that responsibility based on his track record with you and his DC.

Thatsnotmychicken Fri 04-Oct-13 16:04:59

I agree tell exactly like you have here. SS know that ex partners can have difficult relationships and will take any subjective feelings into account. They and your exh need to work out how he can manage his feelings effectively if he is going to adopt as adopted children will challenge parents. When we adopted we weren't even told if they had been able to make contact with our ex partners let alone what they said although this may be different if they need to discuss any issues that are brought up. Also I personally wouldn't feel right not saying anything. Imagine if anything did happen, I'd feel terrible.

Meita Fri 04-Oct-13 16:11:12

I think prospective adopters who have ex-es are always at least a bit worried about what their ex will say about them. The SW will really want to talk to you and the kids. But they will also be aware that whatever you say is a) just your side of the story, b) possibly clouded by bitterness resulting from your break-up, leading you to remember negative bits but not so much the positive, and c) possibly an attempt at revenge on your part, if you felt wronged and are still carrying those feelings with you. So the SW if they are doing their job well, will never take what you say as the whole truth at face value. They will however take whatever you tell them as starting points for talking to your Ex about his suitability to adopt in general, and about what kinds of children he/they feel able to care for.
Accordingly I think you should just tell them what you think, what you remember, and then let them do their job - assessing your ex on the basis of their professional judgement.
What you tell them won't make or break your Ex' adoption plans. His reaction to the SWs' probing questions might.
It's luckily not your decision if your Ex should be approved to adopt or not. So just tell them what they want to know and they will form their own opinion. Even if they ask you, do you think he should be approved to adopt, and you say no, that doesn't mean he won't be able to; so if that is what you think, by all means do say it to them.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 16:11:54

You're absolutely right its not my decission.

I'd just love to not have to drag it all up. Its taken so long to reach this level of stability.

I do agree about truth. I just feel that truth can be spun in so many ways and i'm realising in writing it down I'm not fully objective. A good social worker will have seen it all before, and sort the wood for the trees.

I just don't want my rambling to create extra work for an overstretched service. Or if I'm honest to feel responsible for causing difficulties in their adoption process.

I know I'm rambling here but its helping me to process it and hopefully in real life I'll be able to feel happy with how I behave.

Meita Fri 04-Oct-13 16:12:42

Gah, lots of x-posts mean my post is quite redundant, sorry.

starfishmummy Fri 04-Oct-13 16:16:45

Would they accept something in writing, along the lines of what you have posted here, if you don't want to meet with SS face to face.

It might also be worth talking to them regarding your son - I am sure they would be sensitive when talking to a child, particularly one with additional needs, but it might just be worth letting them know the extent of the autism, particularly if your ex is underplaying it.

Moomoomie Fri 04-Oct-13 16:19:31

You have put it so well in your thread, that I agree you should say the same to the SW. I expect they will just want you to write as opposed to meet with the SW.
It is very important that the SW has all the facts so they can take the correct information to panel.
Yes, it will be slightly more work, but that is what an assessment is all about.
It would be worse if an adoption placement broke down because the facts etc were not known.

Tommy Fri 04-Oct-13 16:22:58

the SW will be ready for anything. I was interviewed when my brother and SIL were adopting and I practically had a counselling session with the SW about our family life as children!
They don't make any comment or judgement - just listen and write it all down.

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 04-Oct-13 16:24:37

Do you speak to your EXDH now? Could you tell Him everything you have said here?

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 16:32:25

No posts are redundant. I'm very grateful for all thoughts.

Something in writing is a great idea. I'm such a wimp.

DS1 has a great support team via his school and I will find a quiet moment with them to discuss how it could be handled with him, they will no doubt have seen introduction of a new family member many times before. The thing is it isn't really my news to share. Its mine to manage once its out.

But maybe careful management of XH and the school offering to support, which I'm sure they will, will help cut me out the loop a little and ensure that DS1 gets objective support without any unnecessary bitterness creeping in from me digging up the past.

He handled the birth of his little sister very well. He couldn't understand why when he'd counted out places at the table and got an extra chair in, with his grandparents supervision, she didn't sit at the table and use the knife and fork he'd put out. He still thinks that it was odd she didn't when we giggle about it now.

Hopefully he'll be very matter of fact about it. It is a lovely thing for people to open their home to a vulnerable child. There are many positive things I can think to say once he knows.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 16:38:58

I do talk to XH every week. We talk about the DC. We talk about their planned activities, the clothes they'll need, any behavioural issues, any issues that have arisen at school, any health issues.

Talking about what went on within our long ended marriage isn't something I feel I could table without risking the equilibrium we've found. But maybe he's made the decision that these things now need to be processed and discussed.

juneau Fri 04-Oct-13 16:39:20

I would just be honest - that's all you can do. He'll know that you're going to be interviewed and I'm sure he will expect you to be honest.

Also, just because he's not always behaved perfectly in the past it doesn't mean he and his wife won't be able to adopt. How many of us, who are perfectly decent parents, have had moments when we've actually been rather crap? All of us, I'm guessing.

juneau Fri 04-Oct-13 16:42:07

Also, mentioning that he doesn't do too well with a child who has issues such as those your DS has, may help SS to place an appropriate child with them. Quite frankly though, I'm a bit hmm at them adopting a
DC from local authority care if he's not too good at dealing with challenging issues, as it's my impression that DC don't tend to get placed with SS unless they've had a pretty awful home life previously - and that's bound to have repercussions.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 16:54:46

I'm along way from perfect. I'll just depress myself if I list my faults though(and thats just those I acknowledge and know about) .

You're quite right.

None of us are perfect. People do mature and can learn by experience.

So sofar...

I need to be honest

I need to see if I can be honest in writing.

I need to stick to the simple facts.

I need to enquire with DS1's school if they can assist with support.

Likewise DS2's school.

I need to stop behaving like I'm all powerful and its actually in my control or responsibility to be involved in any decission.

What have I missed?

Meita Fri 04-Oct-13 16:57:11

in response to juneau, OPs XH might be at a very different place now. So as that his experience with a special needs child, albeit only on weekends, might stand him in good stead now. He'd go into it with eyes wide open and knowing what to expect, and with strategies in place for if he should find himself struggling.
That's exactly why it's good that SS and not us here are assessing this man. They will most likely go through these points again and again and really try to get to the bottom of it, and then they might decide that this man can't be trusted to hold up well under challenging circumstances, or they might decide that this man has made some bad choices in his past but has come a long way since then, and these experiences have in effect made him stronger and more capable to deal with extra challenges. Who knows. I'm glad it's not me who has to decide who gets to be approved to adopt and who doesn't.

Meita Fri 04-Oct-13 17:01:10

One thing. I believe whatever you tell a SW about your XH will be strictly confidential. XH and new wife will be able to read the full report their SW writes about them, EXCEPT references such as yours.

HavantGuard Fri 04-Oct-13 17:08:52

'I've always found email an effective way to communicate with XH. I have an email from him admitting his physical behaviour so it isn't just a twisted bitter memory, unfortunately.'

Show that to the SW.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 17:08:58

I love mumsnet. A few hours ago this felt enormous and I didn't know how to move forward.

Now when DH gets home I don't need to just blurt it out and the DC overhear. I can wait till wine o clock mention it, and the way I'd like to proceed.

I need to sign off for a few hours to do tea and pick up DS2 from his cousins house.

But many thanks all.

Meita Fri 04-Oct-13 17:08:59

And one other thing (sorry ;) )
You worry about using up their resources. Just... don't. I believe they'd much rather do things properly now than have to deal with the fall-out of wrong decisions.

We worried about having an initial interview (about our intentions to be assessed as adopters) with a local authority when we were fairly sure already that we were going to go with another LA. It meant a 2 hours meeting, for two quite senior people, at our house so add quite some travel time to that, in effect probably totalling out at over 6h working time (3h each). We nearly cancelled to save them their time. But a friend pointed out, hang on, you're worrying about using up 6h of their time when in the end it is a decision that will affect the rest of your lives. So we didn't cancel (and are glad we didn't as we will now likely be going with them). Similarly, the decisions these SW will be making will be life-changing and have life-long effects for your XH, his wife, and any children they might be matched with at some point... they will WANT to get as much information as they can.

Maryz Fri 04-Oct-13 18:35:44

Can I suggest you don't say anything to your sons, or to their school for the moment.

They are at the very beginning of assessment - it will be years before they get to actual placement (if they ever do), so raising it as a possibility especially with ds1 at this stage isn't necessary.

It's worth making the point that people do change a lot. If your ex is good with ds1 now, the fact that he couldn't cope six years ago is much less relevant than if he couldn't cope now, if that makes sense.

I have been a much better mother to ds2 (who has some behavioural issues) than I was to ds1 (who has a diagnosis of AS). ds1 would say that I hit him, that I tried to break his arm, that I got very, very angry with him at times. Subjectively he is correct - he was very frustrating to deal with and the arm incident was when I had to grab him. I have bruised him when trying to get him to dress/stay on the path/move out of a doorway/whatever.

I think facts are more important than your (or even ds1's) opinions.

So I think a written report very like your op but without the paragraph about being scared of how he will react would be a very fair way to describe things.

Can I ask a question - if you found out his new partner was pregnant, would you have any concerns for the baby? Would those concerns be strong enough for you to consider contacting social services? Or would you think they would (as a couple) be fine as parents? Because it would be tough to stand in their way of adopting if you think they would be ok as parents to a child born to them. The social workers doing the assessment will stress the particular challenges involved in adopting, and will take his relationship with your boys into consideration.

They don't really want you opinion as such, just a factual record of when and how your relationship broke down, and how he is as a father to his children.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 19:19:22

I take your comments about then and now. Not coping then and having developed skills and maturity now are very relevant, so factual presentation and a timeline are important.

Autism does stretch degrees of sanity. I totally get what you're saying about dragging out the road. DS1 still believes he would tell the car off if it hits him when he steps out in front of it. He can recite the highway code but can't understand he doesn't rule the road and drivers need time to react etc.

I don't accept the over restraint of our then three year old very will full son, but its not on a par by a long way with an unprovoked violent assault on a child. This is why I tried to express context of bruising in the op and not pretend he's the big bad wolf.

The way its been presented to me by XH is that social workers will want to talk to me and the DS's fairly soon. Placement around next summer is whats been implied, again by XH. Its my understanding that talking to the DC's is part of the assessment process as to whether they're suitable so, unfortunately as the situation currently presents, we can't avoid not telling them until placement is happening.

I'm happy to be corrected if people can advise of a way round keeping the DC out of the process.

When they found out some years ago that they were expecting a child and members of my family suspected, it was their intention to contact social services about concerns for the childs welfare. I didn't finish rationalising it when she sadly lost the baby. (Something I expressed my sympathies and support for when the subject was raised last year as I lost several pregnancies in very quick succession before my DD was born). But its a good question and my concerns for a naturally conceived child would be sufficient for me to interfere.

However, I'm not choosing to interfere here. I've been told I will be contacted. I've been told social services will need to visit the children. I think its right to be truthful but to try to limit any emotion and keep to facts.

Hopefully i can just write a brief comment, a paraphrase of the op, about the end of the relationship and about his now positive relationship with the DC.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 04-Oct-13 19:52:45

Oh goodness, i've just reread the thread and the paragraph about a naturally conceived child should read I wouldn't interfere, or contact anyone with concerns.

Anything I do in writing will definitely be proof read!

Good luck MisForMumNotMaid I think people have given some great advice. All I would say is tell the truth and let the social workers and social services do their job. They need your input and they will value it. You will most certainly not be wasting anyone's time or resources.

Devora Fri 04-Oct-13 23:25:16

Remember that social services also have a duty of care to your children. You can explain to them your desire to keep things harmonious between yourself and xdh, and they should handle that sensitively.

Remember that the sw will already have asked your ex about his existing children and his relationship with him, why his marriage broke up, his parenting style, how he supported his children throughout break-up and beyond, how he handled your son's autism etc. So if they cite these things as reasons for not proceeding you will not have been the person to bring them up (and they won't say, "Mis told us x").

My sw didn't tell us one word of what any of our referees said about us. Hope that helps to reassure you.

RationalThought Sat 05-Oct-13 01:51:57

If you meet with the SW they will ask you if there is anything you've discussed that you don't want shared with your ex. My DP's ex has done this and the SW has said that it's just their opinion and not something that would stop us adopting.

Mutley77 Sat 05-Oct-13 04:24:55

I am a social worker who assesses adoptive parents. I think you sound very reasonable and sensible. If I were you I would ask for the Sw derails and contact them. Imo you need to be involved in how the interviews are managed with your dc, esp given one has sn which your exh may or may not be minimising.
You should also disclose what you have told us including a copy of the email from your exh. This is all relevant info and should be assessed as part of determining his suitability.
Hope is ok please ask if you have any more questions.

Driz Sat 05-Oct-13 04:37:58

Surely you can opt out? For both you and your kids. I think it is not good for you to rake up old ground and really you have quite little to offer in terms of current behaviours

kickassangel Sat 05-Oct-13 05:40:42

I can understand your reluctance to get involved but there are a couple of other points to consider.
1. Why does he want to adopt? If he struggled with his own son then why does he feel he'll do better for an adopted child?
2. Many adopted children come from difficult backgrounds and have some challenging behaviors. Do you really believe that he has matured enough to deal with this?

You talk about the stress that an autistic child can place on a parent, but a young and vulnerable child who has moved away from the bio family can be even more stressful. I have done teaching and youth work for 30 years, and there are many adoptions that work amazingly well, it there are also plenty where it takes a significant amount of time, effort and support before some kind of balanced family life is established.

Please think carefully as his past is relevant, even if it just shows how much he has matured, but as you can make comments anonymously, I think that the full truth is needed here.

MisForMumNotMaid Sat 05-Oct-13 10:05:15

Thank you for the additional input.

My head didn't stop spinning last night and sleep was rather limited. DH was surprised I was so calm considering how scarred I used to be of XH. Unfortunately a lot of the old emotion is back, in my tired state today, and going through the old emails is not helping.

The boys are out with their biological dad (XH) today so its my chance to get myself together and then get on with exciting things like planning birthday parties.

I will email XH later and ask for the forwarded social worker details. He has agreed to let me know when they will be seeing the DC.

Mutley77 Sat 05-Oct-13 23:56:19

Good luck. As I said before I do think you should have a chance to speak to the social worker before your dc are interviewed as ultimately it will be you mamaging the fall out, if there is any, and you should be involved in deciding how the subject is broached with them. If I were the social worker in this case I would want to speak to you before the dc.

Hope it goes OK and once it is over with you will feel a real sense of peace. Although this must be very hard for you it is all part of the process to access your DH and his partner for adoption and your input will be very useful.

KristinaM Sun 06-Oct-13 18:04:37

You won't be able to do it in writing, they will want to meet with you and your DH.

You are not interfering, Your ex and his DW knew that you and your children would be involved in the adoption process. This was their choice not yours

Please don't tell your children right now.the timescale of a placement next summer sound very unlikely to me. If SS decide to go ahead and assess your ex and his DW, they will want to speak to your children as part of this. But that's probably much further down the line. Things are just at a very early stage right now ,it's not definite that this will go ahead, wherever your ex says .

Your ex will have to persuade SS that he is a good parent to his existing children. They will make their own decision based on the facts, which they will get from many sources, not just you. You are just one part of the jigsaw of information which they will collect, so Please don't feel responsible for anything except telling them the truth as you see it.

KristinaM Sun 06-Oct-13 19:35:27

I just spotted what you said about your ex letting you know when SS will see the kids

That's not how it works. Ss will write to you and ask for a meeting. They should indicate what kind of things they want to ask you about and explain its confidential .

They will meet with you and your Dh at your home (if that suits you ) . There will probably be two of them and they will take notes. You can ask them about how and when you and your children will be involved in the process

Much later down the line, when they have decided if they are going to proceed with the assessment, SS will talk to you about how and when to best discuss it with the kids, since you are the parent with residence.

They will meet with one or both of the children with you /your Dh/another family member present ( not your ex or his partner) . Your input into this bit is very important, especially as your DS has SN. You need to agree with them on how to best meet your sons needs in this regard. As others have said, they have a duty of care to your children too.


TeenAndTween Sun 06-Oct-13 19:53:28

I don't think they can have any idea now when they might be placed.
He is having assessment now, which should take less than 6 months end to end. If they are approved to adopt then they have to wait for an appropriate match. That wait is as long as a piece of string. They could be matched the day they are approved, or 3 years later (or not at all).

You will need to meet SW in person. They are very unlikely to take a written reference from an ex wife with whom he had children. It's too important.

You need to say about the issues coping with DS1 before he left.

You need to say how he interacts now, to the best of your knowledge.

If asked, you need to say if you have concerns regarding them adopting. If you have concerns on how he might cope with a child with SEN, you need to say so. You can balance that with the fact he is coping with contact. It is up to the SWs to judge how valid your concerns are now, that's their job.

They will almost certainly want to talk to your children at some point. If you think it unadvisable for your DS1 then you should say so.

Be as fair minded as you can, that's all anyone can expect.

BettyBotter Sun 06-Oct-13 20:23:18

Also, of course they will need to assess how your ds's SN will impact on a newly adopted sibling and importantly, vice-versa how an adopted sibling (perhaps also with SN) may impact on your ds. They wont just be assessing what type of a parent would xh be to an adopted child but also what type of child would fit that family.

I suppose that for your ds's' sake you need to give a full and honest answer to their questions.

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Sun 06-Oct-13 20:32:33

I also think it would be better all around to speak to them face to face, as you can't know exactly what they will want to ask you, and what they might want to ask for more information on. It will make the process better. But there's no reason why you can't prepare something in writing as a starting point, and that might help you feel more at ease in the meeting.

KristinaM Sun 06-Oct-13 20:32:38

I forgot to add they will ask you if your ex was abusive to you, not just to the children . Just to warn you. They ask everyone this.

AnandaTimeIn Sun 06-Oct-13 20:41:08

You know, you do not need at all to cover for EX.

Just tell them what you wrote in your OP.

You are not responsible for his future. Only yours and DCs.

PigeonStreet Sun 06-Oct-13 20:48:32

I am a sw who does these assessments in my job. We send a written reference form out to ex partners and would interview them if necessary.
Imo you have been v balanced and that is what they are looking for.

Be honest, stick to the questions they ask and try not to stray into other discussions show how in your pinion things were difficult but also how they have changed.

AndiPandi Sun 06-Oct-13 20:51:56

When we adopted SW did not speak to DH's ex even though they share a child that we had access visits every weekend. I don't recall them even asking, although they might and we possibly truthfully said we didn't think it would be a good idea or something we would be comfortable with.

hermioneweasley Sun 06-Oct-13 21:00:22

Disclaimer - I do not work in SS so this is based on assumptions.

I woukd have thought that any DCs placed with your Ex for adoption are likely to have some emotional and behavioural issues. Perhaps not as pronounced as your DS's autism, but challenging nonetheless.

I woukd have thought that your Ex is very unlikely to be approved for adoption if he left bruises on his son. It says something about how he copes with challenging behaviour.

So, if you see SS and tell them the truth, I assume he is unlikely to be approved.

I woukd have that conversation with him - that you will give your time and meet with them, but that you will not lie, and let him take it from there,

KristinaM Sun 06-Oct-13 22:15:13

I am fairly sure it is compulsory now for assessing SWs to meet with ex husbands /wives, especially those who are co parents . The only exception would be if it was a short marriage many years ago or other extenuating circumstances .

This is because there was a sad case when a child placed for adoption was killed by the adoptive father. It turned out that he had been very violent in former relationships but SS had not contacted his ex partners.

So I'm not sure that just saying " I don't think it's a good idea" is an option these days. You would have to have a very good reason and , I suspect, be able to evidence this.

Also not sure how a child could be interviewed as part of the assessment without the consent of the PWR?

MisForMumNotMaid Mon 07-Oct-13 20:51:58

Thank you all. It has helped more than you can imagine to be able to just talk frankly without worry about offending or dragging up old emotions.

I'm more together with it all now. I had a lovely day with the children yesterday, the sun shone and the house is very tidy due to me needing to keep so busy on Saturday to work it all through in my mind.

KristinaM can I ask about the abusive to me bit? When I divorced the solicitor told me that courts were only interested in abuse of the children when it comes to custody etc and other abuse was not really deemed relevant. We never actually went to court over custody so it didn't get pursued. I know this is rather different because its purely about him and his future but would they really want to drag any of that up?

It seams that the way things are handled vary a bit from area to area but the consistency that brings me most relief is it appears that I will be contacted before the DC so I can play my mum card and help support them through the process, should it be necessary for them to become involved.

I feel relieved of pressure that any decision is mine. So I've printed out relevant email exchanges, created a simple paper file and I will await contact.

KristinaM Tue 08-Oct-13 00:18:15

I think what your lawyer meant was that even if your ex had abused you, the court would not consider this a reason to stop his contact with the children . For some unknown reason, the courts seem to feel that the abuse of partners is not related to the abuse of kids ( despite some evidence to the contrary )

However SS should ask you about any abuse towards you . It's not about dragging it up. It's because the best predictor of someone's future behaviour is not their words, it's their past behaviour .

I'm sorry, I guessed this might be an issue for you

Rosencrantz Tue 08-Oct-13 01:36:24

I'd tell the truth about your experiences of him - not wanting kids.

It's not fair on any potential children if you don't.

Mutley77 Tue 08-Oct-13 06:24:43

You will need to disclose any abuse towards yourself. If he has history of being abusive the Sw needs to know so that they can assess the risk of this in his current relationship and the potential impact on any child placed for adoption (who may have experienced domestic violence in their birth family).

Tbh based on what you are saying he isn't looking great at all as a potential adoptive parent but all you can do is be honest and leave that decision up to the social worker and panel.

MisForMumNotMaid Fri 17-Jan-14 13:58:26

Its got to that stage that I'm meeting with a social worker next week. Its been good to reread the thread, I feel much more composed.

Just got to find that file I prepared and hid because I didn't want the DC stumbling across a list of worst bits

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 18-Jan-14 17:20:32

Hope the meeting goes well, MFMNM

quietlysuggests Tue 21-Jan-14 21:16:49

Best of luck

Devora Wed 22-Jan-14 00:50:53

Good luck.

MisForMumNotMaid Wed 22-Jan-14 20:53:12

Thank you for the good wishes. I've survived. Its not been fun. The social worker was very professional and on reflection I can see how she carefully judged how to steer conversation to ascertain the information she wanted. We talked a lot about the realities of parenthood and everyday practicalities. I passed her his emails to read. She said she'll have to see how he reacts to her raising it. I did feel like I spent some time almost defending his behaviour, something I'm slightly annoyed with myself about. But generally I think I was reasonably balanced.

It has stirred up some awful things and she asked me to go through step by step what happened when he last assaulted me. It was the one time I lost composure a little. She asked how things ended and all i can remember is standing in the cat litter thinking he'll be gone soon, he'll go soon, I hope the kids are okay. Then he was no longer there, so I unlocked the back door and the kids were just playing happily. They came in, i locked the back door and I ran and locked the front door. I remember getting them to the table then sitting and crying uncontrollably for a while.

Its going to be obvious where the information has come from and he was fully aware she was coming out. I'm not looking forwards to the backlash so again need to have another adult with me for handovers with the DC. She said she wont be seeing him for a few weeks due to various reasons, so it feels a bit like that stress is hanging over us.

Its not good for the boys. It sounds like if a child is placed, very high likelihood due to a serious shortage of adopters, XH will be encouraged to not have the DC in his home for some months to allow the new child to feel settled and secure. When they are introduced it should be very short amounts of exposure.

Whilst my boys dynamic with the new family is taken into account I interpreted that its the adoptees interests which are paramount to SS so the fact they'll be shoved out of XH's home life is significantly secondary to the fact that a child is better off placed than in the system. I can see that a child would be better placed but a second rejection would be so unfair on my DC.

My mum is spitting nails. It really feels like he can have his cake and eat it. My mum, in her anger, believes he'll get a child, give up on the boys then six months down the line give the adopted child back. Then maybe a year or two down the line start sending solicitors letters to play at being dad again. The courts would no doubt grant him access.

I do feel if he abandons them again, as part of playing the adoption game, thats it. He doesn't get to play anymore. If the DC want contact then I would never stop them and would make it possible for them in transporting etc but it will have to be them led - i will no longer hear anything he says or respond to any communication from him.

Probably I need to stop thinking three steps ahead but I can't think through any positive scenarios where the DC don't end up bruised.

This writing things out is very cathartic.

Devora Wed 22-Jan-14 23:03:28

Oh, I'm so sorry you've had to go through that. It must have really dragged you back through stuff you are trying to move on from.

Did the sw say she thought he would be approved?

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 23-Jan-14 07:05:39

I felt it was implied that its very likely he'll be approved. The interviewing past significant partners etc just throws up questions to discuss and manage them through how it could be handled differently.

She did talk about how the children in care can often have undiagnosed special needs potentially masked by the more apparent ones of attachment issues, so the pressures wouldn't necessarily vary from dealing with our son.

She did mention panel once or twice. I think she was just working through the angles that she'd report it.

KristinaM Thu 23-Jan-14 11:40:57

I'm sorry too, it sounds very stressful. And of course you are worried about the impact on your own children.

I think it sounds very odd to suggest that your ex should stop his children visiting so that his new child can settle in. This would be the case with other family members or neighbours , but not with the newly placed child's siblings. If it all DOES go ahead ( I mean once the couple are matched with a child) you need to query this with the social worker, preferably in writing.

Lots of people who already have children adopt a child and I've never heard of them being asked to keep the child's new siblings away from them until they settle in. It's nonsense.

The fact that the social worker even implied this indicates to me that she is rather inexperienced. That and her apparent dismissal of domestic abuse. I would be suprised if her senior and the panel take it so lightly.

So please try not to worry too much right now, it's far too soon to say that it's definitely going ahead.

I also want to say that you TOTALLY did the right thing in disclosing what has happened with your ex. What SS do with it is up to them. But at least if things go wrong later, you won't feel that you are responsible in any way .

Moomoomie Thu 23-Jan-14 13:25:00

What a totally stressful situation for you. I agree with others that you have totally done the right thing by talking to the SW and raising your concerns. The ball is now in their court.
Sorry it has brought up some old emotions and feelings, I hope you are able to put this behind you.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 23-Jan-14 16:25:27

Thank you for the responses. I was feeling a little self indulgent and wallowing a bit last night. I've got busy today and its helped me to regain perspective. Writing it down here, even in an indulgent, way helps get it off my chest. I don't want to be that boring person who always has drama in their life so people smile at and avoid.

You are all right about the importance of having the meeting. It was important to express my version of life then. Its now in their domain to deal as they see fit. I do feel comfortable with all I discussed and my own conduct generally through this. I'm happy that the social worker led the discussions and raised the questions that led to her reading his email.

Maybe digging it all up will slowly make me stronger and processing it will enable me to put it behind me. Life is infinitely better now.

Thank you for reading/ listening to me waffling on.

KristinaM Thu 23-Jan-14 16:39:08

I don't think You are being self indulgent at all. It's very difficult to talk about these painful things, especially in the circumstances.

You were left to bring up a baby and a SN 4 yo on your own. One day a fortnight isn't a major contribution to co parenting. I'm not sure that someone who has been such a poor parent to the kids he has already is an ideal adoptive parent. But SS will have to make up their own minds on this.

No wonder your mother is bloody annoyed.

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