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Take on baby, even if it isn't family?

(20 Posts)
SgoUncle Mon 04-Jan-16 17:27:15

Feel like since Boxing Day we've been thrust into the middle of an episode of Jeremy Kyle, so please bare with me!

The missus's brother (Dave, 20) was in a relationship with this lass (Amy, 20) for almost 3 years. Amy just had her 3 y.o. boy (from a previous relationship) taken off her by the courts as he had unexplained bruises. This happened in Oct last year, an after the fact finding they decided Amy must have caused them.

She turned around and told Dave a few days before Xmas eve that she was 7 months pregnant(!). She'd been asked about it previously, but denied it until she finally realised she would have to come clean.

Dave never wanted kids of his own and Amy knew this, and he has no intention of taking full responsibility for the baby after SS told him she would only be able to see it with him there / supervised. They were living together at Dave's mums at the time, but he has since broken up with her.

Me (29) an the missus (27) have two daughters of our own (3 & 5) and had SS around this morning to begin a viability assessment for an SGO for when the baby (a boy / our nephew) is born at the start of March.

Right in the middle of the interview, they decided to let us know that Amy has come out and said it might not even be Dave's baby as she apparently cheated on him right around the "right" time, and would we still want to take the baby on (provided the biological father wanted nothing to do with it) if it wasn't Dave's?

Obviously we didn't know how to respond to that off the cuff, an they've given us to the end of the week to think it over. I think i'd come across as cruel even asking about the possibility of a prenatal paternity test due to how invasive it is, so I don't think that's an option. A paternity test will be performed when the baby is born.

I think whatever we say, they will have to contact the other prospective father just in case it isn't Dave's. Me an the missus are just trying to get our heads around why we would even accept to go ahead with the SGO if it wasn't family? I mean it's still a baby that may need a home, and in that sense we would still be able to bring him up. Is this a test of our commitment to the baby itself, or to a potential family member?

Just a little confused, any input would be appreciated here confused

UnderTheNameOfSanders Mon 04-Jan-16 17:38:20

I'm not experienced in this area, but am an adopter.

If you take out a SGC / adoption for your nephew, you are keeping him within the biological family. This is considered a 'good thing' provided you were clear on the relationship to his bio Dad, and what would happen if bio Dad later wanted to step forward and be a good father.

Otherwise, you would be SGOing /adopting a 'random' baby, who imo would definitely be better served by adoption (maybe with half brother). Unless you were already thinking about adoption, I can't see why you would want to do that. You would also have the difficulty that Amy would already know who you were and probably where you live, giving potential chance of disruption/annoyance/interference later.

So I personally don't see what's wrong with saying you'll take baby if related, but not otherwise.

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 17:45:32

Hi, this must be a very confusing situation for you. First thing I have to say, though, is to caution you against using real names on here (if you have). If D and A really are D and A, they could easily be identified from what you have written.

Moving on, are you asking if social workers are testing your commitment by floating the possibility that the baby is not D's? If so, no; they won't be doing that. In these situations there's often a bewildering mass of information, some of which is leading nowhere. IME, social workers tend to present it all without weighing its likelihood or using their judgement to filter out: because they owe you the fullest picture they can, even if that means lots of uncertainty.

It's important to remember that you don't HAVE to make a decision now. They have given you a deadline but you can say you need more time to think about it and if they have any sense they will give you that time. Or you may say, we will happily raise a member of the family but if this child turns out not to be D's we're not going to take him on. Or you may say, we won't actually know how we'll feel until that paternity test is done so though we would like to be kept in the loop we are not making a commitment at this stage.

I think you and your wife should think very carefully about what you are committing to, and not feel obliged to take the child on because he is family. Kinship care is often a great option for children who can't live with their birth parents, and it has to be right to place children within the wider family as a first option. But you have to be ready for it, and understand all the implications of raising a child who has suffered the traumatic loss of their own birth parents, particularly if at least one of those birth parents is within the wider family.

Finally, you don't say what has happened to A's older child. Who is he living with now? Is there no plan to keep the siblings together?

SgoUncle Mon 04-Jan-16 17:45:42

Thank you for replying. SS probably wouldn't look to kindly if we turned around and said "If its biological we can go with SGO, if it isn't we would want to adopt", though this morning was the first SS we've been involved with, so not sure really?

Also good point raised about the later interference with regards to adoption hrrmm. Also, if it isn't our nephew there's nothing stopping us having a third of our own when we like without the need of adoption.

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 17:48:04

Oh, and I agree with UnderTheNameofSanders - if the only reason for you taking on this child is basically because of the benefit of keeping him within the wider birth family, then you don't have to agree to take him if he turns out to be unrelated. There will be no shortage of suitable, loving adoptive families for him.

Italiangreyhound Mon 04-Jan-16 17:48:11

SgoUncle I agree with sanders, I am also an adopter.

Please think very seriously about whetehr you can and want to do this. Please do not feel as if you have no choices. EG had you planned to have any more children, how does your wife feel, etc?

Please be careful with people's names and too many exact details, this is a public forum. I know they are quite common names but added to the ages they build a picture. I am assuming they are fake name (if so, as you were!).

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 17:49:21

Sorry, OP, I'm confused by your second post. Do you want to adopt, or are you only considering this to do your duty by a family member?

Italiangreyhound Mon 04-Jan-16 17:53:06

Oopse crossed with Devora and you, OP, while composing my small contribution!

SgoUncle Mon 04-Jan-16 17:56:55

@Devora, I didn't use real names so no worries there - thanks though!

"Or you may say, we will happily raise a member of the family but if this child turns out not to be D's we're not going to take him on"

I mean, this is what we were gravitating towards and is probably what we will tell them when they ring on Friday. Hopefully it doesn't negatively affect the whole SGO order if it does turn out to be our nephew (which we couldn't just let go from the family without trying, me and the missus have discussed this and read lots since finding out).

Amy's older child went to the custody of his father, wouldn't have any interest in Amy's new child.

@Italiangreyhound, we knew we were always going to have a least one more, we weren't sure exactly when though.

@Devora, duty by a family member, but again just trying to look at the situation from as many angles as possible really confused

Italiangreyhound Mon 04-Jan-16 17:57:49

If this baby is not related to you wife through blood I can see no real benefit to him to be adopted by you as opposed to a 'stranger', probably a couple who desperately want a baby. So it is totally relevant whether he is related to your wife, because if this were not a possibility they would not be approaching you as a couple.

Just curious, what does your wife think? If you are free to say.

Italiangreyhound Mon 04-Jan-16 17:59:20

Must be hard, be nice to eat other in the family. It's tough. There is no 'right' answer here, only what is right for you.

SgoUncle Mon 04-Jan-16 18:00:30

@Italiangreyhound, we're mostly in agreement (especially after reading some of the replies).. I guess we just wanted to make sure we weren't missing something really big or being somehow callous by refusing to take the baby if it wasn't a family member.

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 18:09:40

You're not being callous. I completely understand that you're worried you're sound like an evil monster ("I'll only help that child if it's my own flesh and blood - otherwise, feed it to the wolves!") but that is not the reality and I don't believe any adoptive parent would judge you for your position on this.

You don't want to adopt a child. Most people don't, and there's no shame in it. To be honest, even if you did you're not ideal candidates right now because you have two young birth children. But it is generally considered best to place a child within wider birth family where possible, because the child will then not suffer the disrupted identity involved with losing not just parents but an entire extended family. It's good of you to be aware of that and put your hand up to help.

As Italian says, there's no benefit to the baby to being adopted by you if you're not blood-related. There are lots and lots of potential adoptive parents who would be so thrilled to call that child their own. You are not abandoning the child. Don't let any social worker make you feel guilty about this!

In practical terms, the paternity test can be done very quickly after the child is born and social services can use the time between now and then to plan for various options. This is part of permanence planning anyway - they quite often assess multiple potential SGOs as well as the possibility of adoption.

SgoUncle Mon 04-Jan-16 18:37:18

@Devora, thanks a lot for the replies, been helpful! Not many people have been put forward as potential carers for the baby thus far (literally just me and the missus have been agreed upon by both Dave and Amy, though not sure what SS might be doing behind the scenes with pre-approved foster carers / adopters). This will naturally now extend to whoever the other potential father is and his family I guess.

However, we will be telling them the baby will only benefit from being with us and the wider family if it is Dave's, and we'd be doing the baby an injustice by putting ourselves forward if it isn't.

Devora Mon 04-Jan-16 18:48:48

Best of luck smile

Pipo1704 Mon 04-Jan-16 20:35:17

Similar(ish) situation. DH sister unable to look after child. We decided to at the time go for SGO.

Older boy, but we have now officially adopted him been home a few year. He knows of the family "setup"/life story - but has had no contact with BM in many years. We are mum & dad, and have been since he met us (again) when he was placed with us as a toddler.

So although within the family, from his point of view and SS quite a "usual" sort of adoption case, if that makes sense.

Something for you both to think about? Would you want SGO, adoption, would he be with you as mum & dad? Involvement of BM, all things to consider & think about based on your particular situation.

We wouldn't change a thing. He is our boy, and we are yet to have birth children which also was not an issue during & the adoption being granted.

I completely understand you needing to know the family linkage, and like the others have said this is understandable. We wouldn't have necessarily chosen adoption at that point in time if it hadn't been the situation we found ourselves in. But it is right for him, and for us.

Haffdonga Mon 04-Jan-16 21:48:02

Could I just add too, that even if the baby is Dave's, you still shouldn't feel any obligation to take the baby on if it's not right for you. You need to consider very carefully not only what's best for the baby, but also what's best for your two daughters and what's best for you and your wife as a couple and as individuals now and in the future. If it'snot right for you as a family to take on a baby boy it wouldn't be right for him either.

Ask lots of questions about what help there would be from Social Services. Can you attend some of the area's training for adopters? e.g you might find it useful to learn about attachment, dealing with sibling issues and the effects that 'losing' a birth parent can have.

Good luck to you all whatever happens next.

FarrowAndBallache Tue 05-Jan-16 17:48:11

One thing to keep at the forefront of your mind that the SGO gives the majority of parental responsibility ( PR ) in that you make the day to day decisions for the child but he/she will most probably still have contact with its parents fairly frequently where you'd have to supervise contact.
Think carefully how this baby would change the family dynamics, how your present children would cope and how you'd cope as a couple.

Narnia72 Fri 08-Jan-16 20:53:29

We've been through the possibility of taking our niece under an sgo and decided, really sadly, that we couldn't do it. Our reasons were prob quite different to your considerations as sil was a lap with complex my needs, and we were also her carers. However, the cafcass rep and the baby's court appointed guardian were really helpful and not at all judgemental in helping us come to our decision. The unborn child is presumably under a child protection plan and it would be worth going to conference and reviews where you can, as you become known to the care team and can approach them informally with questions as they arise. You can also find out about the other options for the child. You may not be able to be party to all the discussions, but good if you can hear as much background as possible, to enable you to make the right choice for your family.

You must also find out what the implications for the sgo mean for you with regard to Dave and Amy's input. Are they going to get supervised access, what boundaries would be put in place to protect you and baby, would they want any input to your decisions about bringing the child up, how happy would you be if they wanted to maintain a relationship. Most importantly, how does this impact on your existing children? How would they cope? Am happy to PM if it would be helpful. It was an agonising decision to make, but we made the right one for our children and for our niece I think. I still feel very sad but no longer guilty - we met the adoptive parents and they are lovely, and will give her a happy home away from a very complicated situation. She won't have to grow up worrying about her mum, and dealing with the chaotic life that her mum leads.

It is a really hard decision, good luck xxx

Narnia72 Fri 08-Jan-16 20:54:16

Sorry should read sil was a lone parent with complex mental health needs

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