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what does it mean when a birth mother formally opposes an adoption?

(27 Posts)
Abena Mon 15-Jun-09 17:02:25

My sister's little girl (aged 3) has been with her for a year. The adoption will formally go through in a month. Suddenly the birth mother has put in an opposition to the adoption. She gave her child up when she was 4 months and the child was with foster family until she came to live with my sister. Does anyone know about this process, what happens and has anyone had experience of it? The social workers say its unlikely she will go through with it and even if she did she would not be able to disrupt this little girls life as she is finally settled and happy. The reasons behind her being taken into care in the first place are enough to suggest that the little girl was saved from a very bad situation. Any advice out there?

hifi Mon 15-Jun-09 17:25:05

did the birth mother give her up or was she forcibly taken into care? also has the birth mother had any contact over the 3 years?

hifi Mon 15-Jun-09 17:25:26

did the birth mother give her up or was she forcibly taken into care? also has the birth mother had any contact over the 3 years?

Abena Mon 15-Jun-09 18:47:39

The birth mother had six children all taken into care with her consent and four have already been adopted. She had supervised visitation once a week when the child was first taken but she only went to three and then stopped. She then agreed that the child should be put up for adoption. This is a new and surprising development.

Abena Mon 15-Jun-09 18:48:29

She has not seen her for over 2 years

hifi Tue 16-Jun-09 15:10:15

i would find it highly unlikely she would get the baby back with the info you have given.some bms will put up a fight so they can say later on "i did everything i could to keep you". she would have had to sustain good parenting skills over a time to be with any chance of keeping the child.

Abena Tue 16-Jun-09 17:01:40

Thanks. She has had all her six children taken into care and now she has been allowed to keep the latest baby. I know people can turn their lives around but surely its about whats best for the child at this stage.

Silver1 Tue 16-Jun-09 17:27:29

BM would not only have to show that her circumstances have dramtically and permanently changed for the better, but that life with her at this stage would be better for a little girl who has spent nearly 2/3 of her life with a foster mother and 1/3 with your sister. At this stage it is unlikely but not impossible.
Your sister should get funding from the placing authority to fund a solicitor for the adoption application.

Silver1 Tue 16-Jun-09 17:27:30

BM would not only have to show that her circumstances have dramtically and permanently changed for the better, but that life with her at this stage would be better for a little girl who has spent nearly 2/3 of her life with a foster mother and 1/3 with your sister. At this stage it is unlikely but not impossible.
Your sister should get funding from the placing authority to fund a solicitor for the adoption application.

Abena Tue 16-Jun-09 19:13:01

That is good to know Silver1 as my sisters social workers have not mentioned a solicitor yet. It is complicated when you start to really consider the BM. My sister actually met her and spent an hour with her before she had the hand over process. I am unfamiliar with the procedures but personally I would find that a difficult situation. She came away quite upset - for the BM.

audley Tue 16-Jun-09 19:51:04

Hi Abena, the BM would have to have an amazing case for social workers to even consider direct contact at this stage I would say, after all the little girl will have been introduced to your sister as her forever mummy and it would be very confusing for her to change things now.
Also, it is usual for adopting parents to meet birth parents if everyone agrees, which they normally do. It means the new parents can tell the child they met the birth parents. Also, it can be helpful for adoptive parents to meet the real people rather than just go by objective reports. Birth parents often have sad history's rather than being necessarily bad people, which is how the facts often come across HTH and best wishes to your family

chegirl Tue 16-Jun-09 19:51:42

This is very worrying for your sister but its also pretty common.

As as already said, its very unlikely B.mum's contestion will go anywhere.

In a way its a good thing (though v.hard to see it that way). Birth parents often need to have a final protest and try and regain some power. Many do it even though they haven't had any contact or shown interest for years.

Its something 'positive' that your sister can share with her daughter in later years. It 'can' be important for adopted kids to know that their b.parents at least tried to keep them.

But I know it will be hard for your poor sister to see it like this at the moment.

I hope everything goes well.

Abena Tue 16-Jun-09 21:44:22

Thanks alot. Chgirl that is an angle I never considered and I will share it with my sister and I think it will really help. My sister is fairly level headed and will appreciate the fact the importance of an adopted child knowing that their birth parents cared in some way. Yes I agree audley about the sad history rather than being bad people. In the end it is the child and the childs future identity and sense of worth which matters most. These comments are really helpful and make me feel that I can offer my sister some positive support as personally I dont really have a clue about the adoption experience. Thanks.

KristinaM Wed 17-Jun-09 16:30:10

your sister needs to get a solicitor. she shoudl not relay on Sws ( or mumsnet) for legal advice

i am not as sure as the others that the LA will find this - its unusual in a baby adoption

the legal uncertainty should have been explained when the child was placed

since you say that the adoption " will go through in a month" I assume that your sister has already petitioned the court.

the court will have appointed a Curator / Guardian ad litem who is to represent the child's interests. he or she will visit the birth mother and interview her to find out her objections to the adoption.

what country does your sister live in? there are different legal systems


chegirl Wed 17-Jun-09 17:17:23

But her sister would have a solicitor already if she is this far into the adoption process wouldnt she? How would you get to this point without one? (genuine question smile)

I am suprised you say this in unusual. I dont mean that in a sarky way, I am genuinely suprised that this is your experience.

It happened to us and it has certainly happend to quite a few people we know in RL and online.

IME it has never got anywhere, the birth parents rarely turn up at any court hearings.

Technically it can halt an adoption and the child be returned to the b.parents but unless the adoption was ilegal I cannot imagine this happening. Even in cases where the child has been removed in 'error' the child has stayed with the adoptive parents.

Its worth the OP's sister calling the adoptionuk helpline if she is a member. They will be able to give her legal advice.

My DS's birth monther approaches solicitors on a fairly regular basis. It doesnt cost her anything so she can get them to write us a letter demanding contact. I used to contact them and say 'you do know this child is legally adopted dont you?' They were not aware because she would omit to mention that little detail. The letters are upsetting but they dont mean anything. She has no power whatsoever. She can get it taken to court but nothing would happen.

Its horrible but part of adoption. I dont blame her. Its her way of dealing with what she has done. She can blame us and the system for her not seeing her birth child instead of taking responsibilty.

Silver1 Wed 17-Jun-09 17:53:54

Just to clear a few things up from a legal perspective.
It is fairly common for Birth Parents to oppose the adoption order. As has been said, it's partly about trying to exert some control and partly the need to do all they can. The Birth Parent can make an application- that does not mean the court will hear it.
It is not always the case that a Guardian Ad-litem will be appointed at this stage- they will have approved adoption as the way forward at the placement order stage, thus unless the child's life has dramatically changed or the mother is given leave to appeal they will probably stay out of it.
Your sister may not be interviewed by
anyone. However if the mother is granted leave to appeal this will change, she will need to make a statement. It is a big IF.
As for solicitors- adopting from the UK, it is rare to need one. The forms can be downloaded from the court web site, you no longer need the placing LA to start the petition, and if it is unopposed you wont need a lawyer.

chegirl Wed 17-Jun-09 18:35:01

Thanks for clearing that up Silver.

We DID have a solicitor but they be because our adoption was a bit complicated.

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 17-Jun-09 18:42:05

Is it possible to have a 'open' adoption? For instance, a birth mother may wish to stay in contact, indirect contact with the child, for instance, birthday cards, Christmas cards and perhaps a photo every year. Is there a method of asking the birth mother what her reasons are for opposing it, and if she wishes to keep a degree of indirect contact, then this would be allowed?

I know of someone (in the US) and the only reason the birth mother opposed the adoption is that she wanted a bit of indirect contact, so they discussed it and worked it out.

chegirl Wed 17-Jun-09 21:34:31

Contact issues are usually dicussed much earlier than this. When a child is matched with a family the ss are supposed to have set contacts already. Some families are not able/willing to facilitate contact so it needs to be sorted pre-court.

By the time things have got to adoption the birth parent has [in reality] very very little say in what happens.

KristinaM Wed 17-Jun-09 22:20:11

chegirl - i dont know of ANY cases where the LA has funded a solicitor for a starightforward baby placement

i had no idea it was usual in some areas

good for you chegirl, for getting them to pay your legal fees smile. you certainly deserve it

i do not wish to disagree with silver 1. However I obviously knwo of very different adoption from you because in all the adoptions i know a guardian ad litme/curator has been appointed. and the birth parenst do not lose their right to object to an adoption, even if they have alreday lost their parenstal rights

i know of one birth father who left when the child was montsh old, who decided to oppose the adoption ten years later on the basis that he might like to meet the child. the curator supported this shock but the court threw it out and the adoption order was granted

chegirl Wed 17-Jun-09 22:37:06

Sorry Kristina! I thought you meant the b.parents contesting was unheard of blush. You are perfectly right that its very unusual for LAs to pay for legal help.

They paid ours because they had pretty much asked us to adopt. We did have to go through exactly the same assesments etc (which was a bit weird because they were all geared towards adopters who had never met their child). But I had no problem with being assessed and checked.

It seems that birth parents DO have the technical right to do quite a few things. Our b.mum seems to have the right to contest contact even though she refused to sign any contact agreement. I urged her to in case we fell out (ha ha). I wanted her to be protected.

So she CAN apply to go to court but in reality it is very unlikely to happen. Every time she makes noise it is very upsetting. Not because I wish to deny her ever seeing him but because she chooses her moments. Last time was just after our DD (her cousin) died.

I try and see it a positive light. She needs to do it, it can help her through her feelings of guilt and shame (though sometimes I doubt if she has any), she is otherwise powerless, it shows some kind of feelings for DS etc.

Are you in Scotland? Curator sounds Scottish to me.

KristinaM Wed 17-Jun-09 23:05:58

sorry, we are posting at cross purposes

I'm sorry, you have really been put through the mill with your Ds's birth mum. Its harder to distance yourself and when its soemone you know.

you are a good person to always try to attribute the best motives to her and understand where she is coming from. even when she is pain in the **

yes we live in scotland

Silver1 Thu 18-Jun-09 13:51:34

Kristina I suspect we have such different views of the legal procedure because you are in Scotland, the Guardian's involvement is less common in England and Wales, but the two systems have some big differences.

KristinaM Thu 18-Jun-09 14:36:53

that makes perfect sense silver1

thank you for clarifying smile

Abena Sat 20-Jun-09 10:22:27

Thanks for the useful information and I just got a text from my sister who got a text from her social worker saying the birth mother has withdrawn her opposition to the adoption order so that is really good news!

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