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Another successfully opposed adoption(12 Posts)
Apologies if this causes anxiety to adopters going through the legal process currently but I thought it worth highlighting there has been another sucessfully challenged Adoption Order reported today (the 3rd in 6 months).
The child was placed with adopters but during the application for the adoption order it came to light that the paternal grandparents hadn't been assessed as carers due to the birth father blocking that route and making allergations of abuse to justify that. The grandparents we kept in the dark by the birth father that the child existed and that care preceedings were / had happened. The abuse claims were false and the grandarents had a very strong case to contest the order. The Adopters withdrew their application to allow the child to be moved - 9 months into the placement.
A review of the case is here suesspiciousminds.com/2015/06/24/opposed-adoption-outcome-is-child-being-placed-with-grandparents/
Please be aware, the comments below the Suespicious Minds blog article from one of the more well known commentators on 'forced adoptions' are pretty horrid. I would avoid reading them or your piss will be well and truly boiled!
I debated responding but decided it's not worth the time or energy! That kind of thinking is never going to take any consideration of another view, especially an evil adopter so why bother. I may as well just enjoy my day with my "stolen" little fella.
In terms of the judgement, I'm starting to think adopters need independent legal advice at matching stage - I certainly would be very nervous based on these recent successful appeals that the LA had explored all avenues with the birth family before placing for adoption.
I appreciate this is only 3 judgements out of thousands but it feels like more are now very likely to follow.
I think that's the key is Educating adopters to thoroughly seek all the info they have. Ultimately I do feel adopters are the only ones looking out for adopters so I guess the onus is on us to make sure we find out as much as we can and are aware of the risks in each case.
The problem adopters have though is how wide a net have the LA searched - in my own son's case, birth father was fairly absent / disengaged but had a wide circle of cousings, aunts, uncles, second cousins etc and don't forget, friends can also be considered if a viable option. Adopters have to have confidence that the LA have investigated all the avenues during placement order stage.
The danger, which I think is summed up nicely in the Suespicious Minds blog post is that adopters may decide to stall applying for an AO till the child has been placed several years so it becomes unviable to move them. Which goes against all the evidence about permenance, security etc that the government is trying to achieve.
For me, the other big concern is that there is no 'finish' point when assessments can be deemed done and dusted. In both this case, and the first one back in December, a birth relative came forward AFTER placement order and during the Adoption Order stage to challenge and in both cases they hadn't been aware of the child till then. This leaves a long period when adopters have been linked, matched and placed and a family member can pop up at the 11th hour.
I can't see how we can tell out kids that they are now with a 'forever family' when this could still be overturned.
I think this goes to something I've said on other posts previously in that in my opinion the placement order should be the point that all appeals stop, the point of no return etc then the adoption order should purely be about the match suitability. In cases where children haven't been matched and placed within a specific time frame then there should be a placement order review to see if there are any changes in circumstances to the birth family.
<debates setting up an agency for adopters akin to conveyancing on a house purchase>
Without knowing the detail of the case I would hope that the fact that grandparents were willing and able to look after the child will lead to a good outcome for him / her. But how awful for basically every one involved
I have to say that when we were waiting for a match. The Re BS stuff pissed me off as it meant I had to wait for the family I so desperately wanted. 6 months in and it becomes apparent that the SW did not do their job properly and there is suddenly a birth father that no one could contact that is perhaps contactable after all!!! It has come about through my 7 year old's need for life story work. We have not started the adoption order as we had attachment concerns now we have a DS who thinks his 'Dad' will come and save him!!
Why didn't the SW do this when he was taken into care 2.5 years ago!!
I am sorry if any of these cases are causing anxiety to prospective adopters. I think there are very good points here that prospective adopters would not want to be matched with a child and bring that child into their life, home and heart if the child could be cared for within the family, but rightly most adopters considered that the making of a Placement Order gave that finality, that every option had been considered and exhausted before the match was made.
We are at a time when the outcome of cases is difficult to predict, particularly for prospective adopters - how can you really know before you make the application how the parents lives have altered since the Placement Order, or what relatives they may have now approached?
It is an uncertain time, and there is going to be at least one more of these cases next month.
I suppose the comfort that I can give is that the outcome of adoption applications is still overwhelmingly that the orders are made - of around 5,000 adoption applications made last year, only 3 were not made. And since the Adoption and Children Act 2002 came in, I think 60,000 plus adoption applications have been made, with only 3 not being made.
I'm sure that if it is the child in your home and your heart, who you are wanting to make legally part of your family, it must be really really worrying when you go to Court. [And conversely, if you are a birth parent or grandmother, going to Court to challenge an adoption, the process is unpredictable and very scary too]
I think us adopters now need more information and better quality information upfront. We are reliant on the CPR being thorough and honest but it just doesn't cover all aspects of all wider family members and getting info from the LA in my experience is hit and miss.
In my case, I asked repeatedly why a particular family member was deemed unsuitable despite being involved with siblings but was told I couldn't see information on that due to "data protection". I pushed repeatedly and eventually got a look at a one page summary that was shown to me then whipped away again. Based on current legal happenings though, it's a massive risk to ask adopters to open their lives and hearts to a child without seeing those type of details.
I have now got my AO after multiple excruciating hearings and I can honestly say the phone call from a social worker telling me that she couldn't give me any reassurances about what might happen while her voice shook was the most terrifying moment of my life. It made me realise that I wasn't just bottom of any consideration within the process - I wasn't factored in at all. And our case wasn't particularly unusual, difficult or controversial.
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