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SIL has died, thinking of adopting nephew

(9 Posts)
MerryMarigold Sun 16-Apr-17 01:24:54

This is all very new as SIL only died yesterday. However, dh's family have already spoken to us about looking after her ds (age 10). His Dad is not really on the scene, he is around, but we think he has learning disabilities, and has not seen his child for a very long time. He is currently with his grandma (dh's mum), but she is in her 70s and has had cancer so it's probably not a long term solution.

We have 3 kids already (11, 8 and 8). Our nephew is abroad. I have no idea of the process and wondered if anyone else has done this. Do we get him over here first and then cross that hurdle, or is there no way he'd get in unless we adopt him legally first? What are the challenges in doing this? Space-wise, we do have room if we divide one bedroom into 2, which we were thinking of doing for my boys. Financially, we would be ok - less treats and holidays, but do-able.

Please advise. This is really early stages, but I feel l need to be a little bit equipped for discussions already taking place.

Haffdonga Sun 16-Apr-17 12:31:10

Sorry for your loss merry and your dh

Some important info would be the child's nationality. is he British?European/Hague country? Does he speak English? Does he know you and your family? Would he want to come and live with you? Does he have other family in his country? Ten is old enough to have strong opinions about whether a move to you is a good idea or not.

Newcastle has some fairly clear info on the process.

www.newcastle.gov.uk/health-and-social-care/fostering-and-adoption/adoption/adopting-a-child-from-another-country

MerryMarigold Sun 16-Apr-17 15:21:04

Thanks so much for that link. I will check with where we live too. No, he is not European - he is Indian. His uncles are here (dh and his brother). He has another uncle, but he lives in Africa and is planning on going to the US soon. He has a great uncle over there, but again, he is old. That is it really - none of dh's generation are there.

Where he is from, children are not really encouraged to have opinions at all, so I am not sure what he'd think or want, but even if he wanted to be with his Dad/ Dad's family, I don't think it would be wise at all considering the lack of interest his Dad and that side have shown (no contact even on birthdays/ Christmas and despite mum often begging). Dh's extended family are very against him going anywhere near his Dad.

We would not separate him from his grandmother as he has always lived with her since birth, with his mum and granddad. His granddad died end of Jan, so this is doubly traumatic for him, and dh's mum - to lose her child and husband in the space of a couple of months. Our nephew knows my dh from visits, the most recent being for his Dad's funeral when he stayed for 2 weeks Jan/ Feb. We have met him only a couple of times, but spent a lot of time together (ie. about a week in the same house) and the kids got on. He speaks on the phone quite frequently to my dh, but there is no depth of relationship. We would not separate him from dh's Mum, and she would need to come too, although this would be another immigration issue (need to get a good lawyer on the case). Just that Dh's mum is not in a position to care for him long term. Obviously in the short term we will be finding solutions eg. people to do school run/ tutoring etc. I don't think things such as afterschool clubs exist there though so she will still be doing the bulk of his care.

flapjackfairy Sun 16-Apr-17 16:15:13

Would you need birth fathers permission to move him though. Does he have parental rights?
I think you need good legal advice from a specialist lawyer tbh.
So sorry for your losses and good luck with it all xx

MerryMarigold Mon 17-Apr-17 09:03:54

Thanks. I'm not sure. I think we will need to get custody handed over to his grandma first. I hope the father will agree, but will prob ask for money to agree sad.

Haffdonga Mon 17-Apr-17 12:11:29

Sorry merry I am not a legal expert but I don't think what you are proposing is actually possible. You wouldn't actually be adopting nephew (or allowed to) if his grandma has custody of him. Nor is there a way as I understand, of adopting him yourselves and bringing grandma to the UK with him too. Perhaps if she is entirely dependent on your dh for her care and finance she could apply for one of these?

www.visabureau.com/uk/elderly-dependent-visa.aspx

If she has the capacity to look after him in India even in the shorter term, wouldn't it be better to send financial support over for them both (e.g. for his education and for both of their domestic help) ?

Again, I am not a lawyer but I do sometimes work with people who are dealing with very similar immigration issues and I know that it is incredibly difficult to get visas at the moment for family members.

You definitely need specialist legal advice here but consider all options carefully as your very understandable urge to adopt your nephew may not be the best option for him, or even possible at all.

MerryMarigold Tue 18-Apr-17 12:58:21

I agree Haffdonga, the adopting idea more came from dh's family who think our family would be the best fit - and are understandably worried about the grandma (their mum/ sister) taking care of him as she is in mid 70s and in cancer remission. One brother wants to send him to boarding school, but many of us are adamantly against that - as very damaging for him emotionally at this time.

I know certainly in the short term it will be a case of sending money to meet needs. However, longer term she certainly can't take care of him (even if he went away to school, not sure how holidays would work), so we would like to get the ball rolling in terms of trying to get them here. Also understandably, having lost a father and sister so suddenly, no-one wants to leave things till the last minute as regards mum/ nephew. If anything were to happen to her, he would be left alone, and as visas etc. take so long, it would not be wise to wait until that happened, I don't think. However, not sure what choices we have really until we get some legal advice.

Currently his grandma does not have custody. No one was expecting his Mum to die. This was just a thought, as a way to protect him a bit in a country that is very paternalistic and may grant his Dad custody despite very limited contact whilst growing up. I don't think his father will suddenly change, since the mother never got in the way of contact, and indeed, requested it. He would probably be palmed off on other relatives he has never met if he went down the Dad route. We're really not sure what could happen, just want to protect the little boy as far as possible from further emotional harm. Indeed, us adopting him would have huge repercussions on our own family, and not something that we would undertake lightly - but it is one option.

Thanks for all the advice, really appreciate it.

OlennasWimple Wed 19-Apr-17 20:34:13

I suggest that you get some legal advice from a reputable immigration lawyer (look for one that is a member of ILPA) about what the options actually are for a) your nephew and b) his grandma to come to live with you in the UK.

In this case, special guardianship might be more appropriate than adoption, in any case, but it's moot if it's not feasible for them to come to the UK to live with you

MerryMarigold Fri 21-Apr-17 04:32:40

Thanks for ILPA link. Have taken a look
Still so hard to know who would be good. Some of them on there I know (user to live close to 2) aren't great. Have asked for recommendations on 2 forums but no.joy yet. Don't know anyone who has done this so not easy to figure out who to go with.

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