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Reasons why children become available for adoption?

(141 Posts)
melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 09:54:24

Re children available for adoption at either Local Authority or private adoption agencies, is any detailed information provided as to why they were removed from their natural parent(s)?

walesblackbird Sat 12-Mar-11 10:48:09

Well, generally children will be taken into care because birth parents have proved themselves to be less than able to care adequately for a child.

Occasionally some birthparents relinquish a baby but more often than not it's because they've neglected or abused a child and are simply unable to provide a basic level of care.

As an adopter - if that's what you're asking about - you will be given a lot of information about a particular child and some of his or her background. You don't though, in my experience, always get the full story.

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 11:03:56

@ walesblackbird et al :- So does that mean the prospective adopters aren't told the details of why the child was removed from the natural parent(s)?

RipVanLilka Sat 12-Mar-11 11:09:38

Yes, you are given the story of why they were removed. How much information you are given really depends on the LA and their policy and the individual SW's. Some LA's have a policy that the adoptive parents must read the whole of the childs file before they decide to adopt. Others SS decide how much to tell. Sometimes they will not give the whole story, usually because if they said how badly the child was abused and the effects on the child, then it becomes much harder to place the child

I didn't know my oldests full story, because SS didn't actually know it. They barely knew a sixth of what was going on, and that much was enough to remove her (though far too late) but after she lived with me for a few years she started telling me about it, and it was so much worse than what I had been told

So i agree with Wales - yes you are told why, but sometimes not the whole story because the extent of the abuse is played down, or hidden from you, or is not known about

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 11:13:32

Does anyone know what the adoption agencies say when there hasn't been any physical abuse of the child?

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 11:37:09

ie do the adoption agencies say the child was removed from the natural parent(s) because the Local Authority thought the child was at risk of being harmed in the future?

Fayrazzled Sat 12-Mar-11 12:00:28

My friend is going through the adoption process at the moment- she has been approved by the panel to adopt a child 4years+. So far she has been given a fair amount of information on the child she registered an interest in. e.g. 60 page report commissioned by the child's LEA. There is a lot on information about the family background; what led to the child being placed in care; the child's schooling; psychological assessments etc. Her own social worker is helping her to "read between the lines" though- it seems a facile example but it's a bit like buying a house- you need to understand what is implied by the terminology.

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 12:14:02

Thank you walesblackbird and RipVanLilka and Fayrazzled for your comments. I've heard that children are sometimes removed from their parent(s) because the Local Authority believes them to be at risk of suffering emotional harm if left with the parent(s). Have any adopters seen that stated as the reason why the child was removed from the parent(s) and made available for adoption, even though there had been no physical harm to the child?

RipVanLilka Sat 12-Mar-11 12:31:51

No, I have never seen it. Both times I was approved I only heard details of children who had been abused

My youngest (bio sib of second) was removed because of risk of neglect and abuse. I guess emotional harm goes along with that, but it was never given as a reason. But remember in this case, older siblings had been abused already and very badly, so it was almost certain that at some point harm would come to him as well

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 14:23:01

@ RipVanLilka :- In your case it seems the younger child was removed to avoid any possibility that he or she would suffer the same or similar physical harm that the older child had suffered. Does anyone know if the same thing happens in relation to emotional harm, ie without any physical harm having occurred to either child?

walesblackbird Sat 12-Mar-11 18:30:23

A child doesn't have to have been physically abused to have been the subject of abuse you know. A child could be neglected, not fed properly, not cared for properly, not had his or her basic needs met.

If a birth mother has abused substances during pregnancy then, frankly, she has abused her unborn child because alcohol/drug intake can and does affect the unborn child. It affects the way their brains are wired and has life long effects.

I'm not really clear on what exactly you're asking but what I will say is that every social worker I've known has tried their damndest to enable mother and child to stay together. The decision to remove a child from birthparents is never taken on a whim and is never solely the decision of one social worker.

For a child to be removed then there has to be grave concerns for the physical, emotional and mental health of that child.

As I said, there is more to abuse than physical harm.

smiledotcom Sat 12-Mar-11 19:04:05

Melvinscomments: I think you can probably answer your own question if you think about it carefully enough...How on earth would the LA be able to quantify / detail any emotional harm that has occurred? It's not as if the birth parents would necessarily even recognise that they had caused emotional harm to their children - and even if they did they are hardly likely to admit it , particularly if they plan to contest the adoption, which many do. Most likely they are too caught up with their own emotional needs to be able to recognise or meet their children's emotional needs. Likewise, very few children would be able to tell someone "I'm being emotionally abused". The best indicator of how a child is doing (on the inside) is their outward behaviour - particularly in how they relate to themselves (anger, frustration, self abuse, low self-esteem) and others (inability to form trusting relationships/attachments, separation anxiety etc etc).
I strongly suspect that the full extent of the damage caused to children who need to be removed from their families and placed for adoption is never known/uncovered before placement. I think it's fair to say though that most adopted kids are going to come to adoption with considerable "baggage" (even being removed from an abusive home represents a "loss" for that child)...

Mamaz0n Sat 12-Mar-11 19:22:06

Can i ask why you want to know?

yes the reason a child is removed from the natural parents is passed on.

Yes a child can be removed for reasons other than Physical harm. Neglect for example.

LadyBiscuit Sat 12-Mar-11 19:25:08

Yes they can definitely be. I know of a child who was because the potential was there (and there was neglect).

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 19:25:13

@ walesblackbird :- I think the things you refer to like not fed properly and the effects of drugs on an unborn child are physical harm, but cases are quite often reported in the press where there has been no physical harm, only emotional harm, so what was the emotional harm?

@ smiledotcom :- Re your comment "How on earth would the LA be able to quantify / detail any emotional harm that has occurred?" :- If the LA can't quantify or detail the emotional harm that has occurred, in the absence of any physical harm, how can they say it was sufficient to justify the removal of the child from his or her natural parent(s)?

LadyBiscuit Sat 12-Mar-11 19:26:36

Why are you asking? And yes, adoptive parents are told because they need to be able to deal with the fall out

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 12-Mar-11 19:28:20

Why do you want to know? Are you asking for our personal stories? Do you want to know what the LAs/agencies told US about our children?

Mamaz0n Sat 12-Mar-11 19:28:55

Emotional neglect occurs when a
parent deliberately or ignorantly
overlooks the signs that a child
needs comfort or attention and
includes withholding love,
rejecting a child and ignoring a
child’s emotional needs.
Parents who emotionally neglect
their children fail to speak to their
children or play with them.
Neglectful parents also refuse to
show affection and fail to
encourage growth and learning.
Emotional neglect is a serious
problem and has long term
consequences. This form of abuse
has been found to inhibit a child’s
emotional and physical growth.

thefirstMrsDeVere Sat 12-Mar-11 19:29:34

Have you had a children removed by SS OP?

hester Sat 12-Mar-11 19:35:27

Melvin, I have recently adopted a baby, and during the process we received lengthy reports on about a dozen children, all taken into care at birth so had not been directly physically abused or neglected by their birth parents.

So, my answers to your questions:

1. Yes, in theory you do get the full story on why the child is available for adoption. The quality of that information is a different matter.

2. There is nearly always a number of reasons for the adoption, not just one. In my category (children under 2) the most common reasons seemed to be: drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, learning disability, chronic domestic violence. Critically, for this age group, there were always older siblings who had stayed with the birth parents, and eventually been removed because they had been hurt or neglected.

3. I have never seen 'emotional abuse' cited as a sole reason for adoption, let alone potential emotional abuse. But I have seen it as an additional factor e.g. parents who took children shoplifting, incited them to assault strangers in the street, displayed no sympathy or support to a child who had been physically or sexually abused.

4. With older children, I would expect direct abuse and/or neglect to be cited more commonly. I would expect emotional abuse to be part of the picture, but not all of it.

So no, I have never heard of a child being adopted purely for potential emotional neglect. I can fully imagine that it would be possible and reasonable, but obviously way harder to provide the level of proof of risk that the courts would demand.

RipVanLilka Sat 12-Mar-11 19:39:00

I don't think you'll get many more answers here melvin - because the fact is, I actually don't know any adoptive parents whose children were removed for risk of emotional abuse. And i know quite a lot, both personally/irl and through forums. All have abuse involved. The press might like it to sound as if removals for 'risk of emotional abuse' are happening right, left and centre, and most children are removed for this. The reaity is quite different

Mamaz0n Sat 12-Mar-11 19:39:43

excellent post Hester.

Mrsdevere - from the pther posts by Melvin that is what i have concluded.

Kewcumber Sat 12-Mar-11 19:43:20

"I have never seen 'emotional abuse' cited as a sole reason for adoption" nope me neither and Melvin as you don;t seem very forthcoming with your reasons for asking (despite being asked a couple of times) I'll reserve any more personal experience until you do - I'll show you mine if you show me yours... you first.

MadMommaMemoo Sat 12-Mar-11 19:45:34

Melvin often posts about this topic.

He basically think that anyone who goes to their doctor seeking help for mental health issues is at risk of having their kids taken off them. He also thinks SW all lie because they want to take everyones kids off them and have them adopted

He is best avoided and ignored as he has his own private agenda.

melvinscomment Sat 12-Mar-11 19:57:52

@ thefirstMrsDeVere et al :- I haven't had any children removed by social services, nor have any of my relatives.

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