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DP adopting DD - where to start?

(6 Posts)
MyNewBearTotoro Mon 16-Nov-15 12:23:12

I have two DC. DD is 2.3 and DS is 4.5mo. DP is Daddy to both children but is not DD's biological father.

DP and I have known each other for years as friends and have been together 18-months. He is a great father to both DC and we both agree we would like him to adopt DD. If anything should happen to me I would want him to have custody of both children. If DP and I were to split in the future DP would still be her Dad and we'd still want her contact to be the same as DS's. I would hate DD to be split from her brother and any future siblings in such situations.

So I'm just wondering, where do I go or what do I do to see if I can start the process? Obviously I know it might not be possible if we are met with resistance from DD's biological father. I assume he has to give permission and truthfully I have no idea what his response will be.

Her father left me when I was pregnant after a long-term relationship. Once he found out I was pregnant he was abusive and threatening towards me, tried to force me into an abortion and then denied he was the father. He moved back to his hometown whilst I was still pregnant.

He is not named in the birth certificate. He does not pay child support. He has never met DD and does not want to, although he has acknowledged she is biologically his DD now. I'm hoping he would be pleased to be able to officially give up any parental responsibility.

It might also be slightly complicated as his parents, DD's paternal grandparents, are involved. They have been there since DD was born and see her every month or two. Although it hasn't always been easy and I had to work hard to establish boundaries they are good grandparents to DD and we now all get on okay. I would not want to stop their contact at all and I wouldn't want the adoption to change anything but I suppose they might worry it would and might encourage ex to resist the adoption. They have been difficult and controlling about other issues in the past.

Sorry, that has ended up being really long! But I'd welcome advice from anyone who has been in a similar situation before and had their DP adopt a DC from a previous relationship. I am clueless regarding where to start - do I talk to a solicitor or a social worker or find an adoption agency? Will it be a similar long process to adopting a child in care or will it be quicker? Will the final decision be with my ex or can his view be over-rided?

Also, DP and I are not married (neither of us are very traditional in that sense) but would definitely get married if it would help this.

Any advice and guidance would be very welcomed. Thank you.

Hels20 Mon 16-Nov-15 14:29:27

There are various threads on this board about this topic - some very recent. So please do search for them.

I would say that you will definitely need your ex partner's consent to the adoption. And you might have to do lots to reassure his parents that they won't be cut out of her life (I assume you will allow the contact between your daughter and grandparents to continue as it sounds healthy and positive).

So before contacting SS, I would broach the subject with your ex.

MyNewBearTotoro Mon 16-Nov-15 14:50:52

Thank you. I will have a look through the board for the past threads.

I was afraid that the answer would be to clear it with ex but if that's what needs to happen first I will do it. I don't know whether I would be best contacting him first or whether I should discuss it with DD's grandparents initially - it is probably them who will feel most effected by this.

But no, I definitely wouldn't want to cut contact with DD's grandparents and I would be happy to stipulate this as part of the adoption order to help reassure them (if that's even possible?). I wouldn't even be against DD's biological father getting in contact in the future if it was in DD's best interests (although I don't think he will as it had been over 2 years now with no attempts to contact us) but I would prefer it if DP had the legal parental rights.

Anyway, thank you for replying and I will take a look at the past threads. Also you say to contact ex before SS, I assume that means if he does agree the next step is Social Services? Thanks.

Hels20 Mon 16-Nov-15 18:28:23

Yes - Social Services. The first question I am sure they will ask is what the biological father thinks. He will have to sign his rights away. But I am sure SS will want you to always be open that your DP is not your DD's bio child (as we have to be with my adopted son).

As for contact with grandparents - if you have a good enough relationship, then maybe it won't be necessary to have something written in stone. I think there is something in the Children's Act that allows a family member to get court ordered contact if necessary.

The only thing I think that might go against you is the length of your relationship. 18 months is really not long at all. It certainly wouldn't go down well if you were trying to adopt a Looked After Child - they like long relationships (and what I have seen, generally they are indifferent to marriage). But only being with your partner for 18 months might mean SS wanting you to wait a bit. I might be wrong here - but that's my gut.

MyNewBearTotoro Mon 16-Nov-15 20:37:47

Thank you.

I did wonder whether the length of our relationship might be considered too short, although DP is still the only father DD has ever known and even if we split tomorrow he would still maintain contact with her as well as DS. Do you think if we were married it would make a difference?

I know that usually the adoption process is very long with multiple home checks, visits, panels to ensure your suitability, references from friends/ family etc. I know this can take years. Will it be so thorough if DP is adopting a child who he is already essentially acting as a patent to?

Obviously it takes as long as it takes but if it will be a several-year long process maybe we may as well begin now despite our short relationship as it will have been a longer relationship by the time it goes through.

Anyway, I think I will talk to DD's grandparents next time they visit and discuss it with them first and then once they are on side I will mention it to ex. I guess there's no point overthinking anything until I get his permission.

slkk Tue 17-Nov-15 07:27:55

Hmm. I think it is still true that if dd' s bio father is not named on the birth certificate and you were not married then he does not have any parental responsibility. He could apply to get it but so can her step dad. As it stands, you alone have PR so you could change her name and also sign the form to allow your do to get PR. This should be enough to protect his status as dad if anything were to happen to you and will in all practical terms allow you to live normally as a family. Do look into it as this may be all you need rather than going down the long, expensive and draining adoption route.
www.gov.uk/parental-rights-responsibilities/apply-for-parental-responsibility

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