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Adoption order rejected, child returned to birth family

(98 Posts)
Lilka Fri 05-Dec-14 21:16:46

In the news today

Basically, in a first as far as I've seen, a Judge has rejected an adoption order application and returned the child to their birth family - I say returned, actually the baby has never lived with this aunt. The child was placed at 7 months, and is 20 months old now, but it was 5 months into the adoptive placement until the birth fathers identity was fully established (wrong bf named initially) and although the actual bf is incapable of parenting right now, he fought the adoption so the baby could live with his sister, who has been positively assessed, and the judge ruled in their favour after the hearing in November. The LA and Child's Guardian supported the Aunt.

Daily Mail article

The full court judgement is here, obviously better than any news story, but much longer

I have many conflicted feelings about the case and Judge's decision, but of course my thoughts are mostly with the baby's [s]adoptive[/s] parents right now sad

I also wonder whether this decision will impact upon future cases or not. Professional views on the case? (Spero?)

Lilka Fri 05-Dec-14 21:17:38

Sorry, meant that to strikethrough, but I forgot how to do it on here

AliceinWinterWonderland Fri 05-Dec-14 22:11:35

After reading that link, this stands out... I would say that although it's difficult for the family that wanted to adopt the child, that the judge made the correct decision. These decisions are rough - there's always someone devastated.

*Five months later, said the judge in a ruling made public today, another man came forward claiming he was the true genetic father, and it was quickly proved that he was.
This man, although unable to care full-time for a child, wanted his son to move to live with his sister so that C could grow up within his birth family and have the opportunity to enjoy a normal legal and psychological relationship with his father, paternal half-sibling and other members of his extended family throughout his life.
The aunt, who lives in the Home Counties, had been assessed as a good parent to her own son, who is only a little older than C, and as a suitable carer for the child.
She had paid generous and sincere tribute to the prospective adopters and said she was grateful for what they had done.
She admitted her brother could been better towards C, but said he was a very caring father and brother.*

Velvet1973 Fri 05-Dec-14 22:51:42

I fail to see how this is in the best interests of the child. The father knew he was the father 5 months into placement but still initially decided he didn't want anything to do with the child until much later.
If the father wanted to parent himself then yes I would agree with the decision but to go to an aunt after he is settled in placement seems incredible.
Surely a better option would have been to let the adoption proceed but maybe have some kind of direct contact?
My heart is literally breaking for the child and the adoptive parents at the moment, a truly horrific situation for all concerned.

Velvet1973 Fri 05-Dec-14 22:54:51

This is the bit for me that makes it the wrong decision.

'For almost a year, the father showed no interest at all in, or commitment at all to, the child, and denied rather than asserted that he was the father.'
A very heavy responsibility for events lay upon the father, added the judge: 'If he had shown any real interest in the baby and put himself forward in any way as the likely father, then the true facts would probably have emerged much earlier and the baby would never have been placed.'

KneeQuestion Fri 05-Dec-14 23:05:41

Having read part way through the linked document and seen the issue of the childs race, no way would 'they' allow a mixed race child to remain with white adopters when there is a black birth family member available to care for him. As difficult as this is for the adoptive parents, I agree with the ruling.

So it seems that the initial placement was made when everyone was under the assumption that 'E' a white man was the birth father, the baby would not have been placed with a white family if his true racial background was known from the outset would he?

I wonder how the case would have gone if race were not a factor?

Very sad for the adoptive family, from what I have read, they love the child and are being incredibly gracious and have his best interests at heart.

SoonToBeSix Fri 05-Dec-14 23:08:00

Knee that is ridiculous though. A child with a white mother and black father is just as much white as they are black. Why is their black heritage more important than their white heritage? It makes no sense.

Jameme Fri 05-Dec-14 23:09:00

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

KneeQuestion Fri 05-Dec-14 23:09:42

From reading the link, it seems that the father is in a relationship with 'Miss D', has a child older than the baby, so it would appear that he had an affair/ONS with the mother of the baby, she is a drug and alcohol abuser, I can see why, with all of the above factors involved, why he needed time to get his head around it.

He presumably had a lot of talking with his sister to do...not to mention his partner.

KneeQuestion Fri 05-Dec-14 23:17:08

Knee that is ridiculous though. A child with a white mother and black father is just as much white as they are black. Why is their black heritage more important than their white heritage? It makes no sense

I didn't say their black heritage was more important.

Google transracial adoption.

It is widely accepted that a black or mixed race child is better placed with parents/carers who are also black/mixed race. For many reasons.

AliceinWinterWonderland Fri 05-Dec-14 23:19:46

A woman has 9 months to come to terms with the idea that she's going to be a parent. It sounds like he found out after the fact, and people are criticising him because it took him some time to get his head around it? We don't know the actual circumstances, so I think it's a bit harsh to judge him based on that. I imagine the judge was privy to loads more information than what the DM reported. hmm

wejammin Fri 05-Dec-14 23:30:54

The facts of this case are very unusual and specific. It is clear from the full judgment that the birth father acted as soon as he could once he knew the child was in care.

Given recent case law I don't think the judge could have come to any other decision.

It is really sad for the adopters though, I can't imagine what they've been through.

EldonAve Fri 05-Dec-14 23:33:11

Having read the full judgement while it is very sad for the potential adopters I can understand how the jugde reached his decision

AdventuringAbout Fri 05-Dec-14 23:33:45

Hmm, while I am sure the BF had plenty of complex thinking to do, that doesn't actually make it possible to put a baby on hold for "almost a year" while he does it... Children cannot wait indefinitely for people to decide whether or not they want be involved/share responsibility. The early months and years of their brain development and opportunities to form secure attachments are too important to chop and change.

I think Velvet's point is a good one, wondering why they didn't try keeping the continuity for the child by staying with the adoptive parents, but setting up direct contact to sustain a relationship with the paternal birth family.

BustyCraphopper Fri 05-Dec-14 23:37:45

So that poor child had her birth mother, then foster care, then "adoptive" parents, and now the aunt and is still only a toddler....

wejammin Fri 05-Dec-14 23:46:11

Adventuring that would be a very unusual arrangement, they were adoptive not foster parents so direct contact with birth family is rare. It would also make a mockery of an adoption order severing all legal ties with birth family, and if placed under any other order birth family could make future applications to court.

Quite apart from how confusing it would be for the child.

SoonToBeSix Fri 05-Dec-14 23:46:56

No knee I know you didn't say black heritage was more important. That is the implication by the authorities though.

Kewcumber Fri 05-Dec-14 23:51:08

It is widely accepted that a black or mixed race child is better placed with parents/carers who are also black/mixed race. For many reasons.

It is widely accepted thats true - it isn't actually backed up by the research though. There has been some very good research some in countries where transracial adoption is more common than it is here. Most of the "feeling" about it here is driven but scant research done on adoptions in the 60's and 70's where the norm would be to adopt of child of a different race into a white family in a white area and then become totally "colour blind" and pretend no-one had noticed. That obviously results in cases in a real identity crisis for adopted children.

Anyone who has raised a child of a different race will understand that race is very important. But its not the only thing which is important and sometimes it won;t even be the MOST important thing.

I really have no idea what would be for the best in this case and I found reading the court papers heartbreaking as an adopter. But I was surprised about how dismissive the judge was about the attachment issues. That he thought it would be easier for the child to attach to the Aunt because the adopters had done such a good job and he was so well attached to them. I really don;t think it's going to be that simple at all sad

Kewcumber Fri 05-Dec-14 23:53:43

It is unusual to have direct contact with birth family mandated by court but I think its possible isn't it? It can't be any more unusual or extreme than removing a well cared for child from parents who have a good and mutual bond with the child in favour of someone who isn't even the birth parent.

Barbadosgirl Sat 06-Dec-14 03:01:43

I am with Velvet. This man chose to have a sexual relationship with a woman which he must have known carried with it a risk of pregnancy. He then knew about the child, suspected he was his but chose to do nothing for a year so he could "get his head round things". It is on that basis that the judge justifies the trauma of separating a child who is nearly two from his mummy and daddy? Seems to me like the interests of the birth family have been put before the child.

It also makes me feel sick with terror and completely put off doing this again.

dreamcometrue Sat 06-Dec-14 07:17:41

Along with the shorter adoption process, another of the rules bought in was that children would not be kept back for a couple that matched there race, ,if a couple who matched there needs but not their race were found. We are proof of this.
The fact that this is one of the new opinions and then this judgement is made is very worrying.

FamiliesShareGerms Sat 06-Dec-14 08:02:35

There are so many things wrong with this case:

- birth father refusing to accept that the child is his (denying sleeping with the birth mother)
- partner finding out that the baby was in care but not telling the birth father
- SW reckoning that the baby's dark skin was due to a Burmese grandfather (despite his "negroid features" hmm)
- judge finding the outcome wasn't marginal (as in, despite the upset caused, in legal terms the correct route was clear cut)

But the thing that jumped out for me was that the adoptive parents had no status, no rights (their Art 8 rights are mentioned, but clearly deemed lesser to the other parties), not even called parents. sad

Velvet1973 Sat 06-Dec-14 08:06:07

Instances of direct contact are rare but not impossible. Yes it's unusual but this father still doesn't actually want to be a father and who knows if he ever will? If they gas left the child with adoptive parents with direct contact how is it any different to a step family for instance, where a child lives with mums new partner but still sees their birth father. Not that confusing really. The questions arising will be no more difficult than why am I living with my Aunty and not my dad surely?

trafficjam Sat 06-Dec-14 08:53:43

Barbados - agree it's terrifying.
I'm also perturbed that despite both social workers and a child psychologist supporting the couple, the LA director didn't.

Barbadosgirl Sat 06-Dec-14 10:08:34

Maybe I should ask Edward Timpson how he plans to recruit more adopters when they risk losing their children in this appalling manner and what he is doing to protect children whose interests appear to rank beneath bps. I am going to that AUK party on 15th at Downing Street.

Velvet- agree again. Surely no more difficult than bf explaining why he sat on his hands for a year and allowed husband son to be raised and fall in love with a mummy and daddy only to change his mind and turn the son's world upside down.

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