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A gay couple adopted our grandchildren.. and kids think we're dead

(191 Posts)
Notsotired Sun 21-Jun-09 20:09:31

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The heartbroken grandparents of two children adopted by a gay couple have been told they will never see them again.

Despite looking after their five-year-old grandson and four-year-old granddaughter for three years, social workers decided they were "too old" and unsuitable to continue.

And, tragically, the children now think that their grandparents are dead.

"Social workers made up their minds that we were too old," says the grandad, who is 59. His wife is just 46 and both look much younger.

"It just breaks my heart and eats away at me every day. My own grandchildren have been wrenched away and now they think that me and their granny are dead."

The children went to live with their grandparents because their mother, a heroin addict, couldn't look after them. The boy's father is dead and the girl's father has not had any contact with her.

But social workers later insisted the children would be better off with the two gay men. "My wife and I were happy bringing the children up ourselves," says the grandfather.

"We are their family. Now we've been told we'll never see them again. How can that possibly be right? They are our flesh and blood."

The children have now been given new identities and totally removed from their former life, family and friends.

The only contact their grandparents have had with the children in the last eight months is a two-paragraph letter from their new parents giving a few scraps of news about the pair.

The case provoked a storm of criticism in February when the adoption was first revealed.

The grandparents and children cannot be identified for legal reasons so we are calling the boy Adam and his sister Katie. We are calling their grandparents Brian and Margaret.

Thanks to a well-wisher, the grandparents know where the children are living, only a few miles away in an affluent area near Edinburgh.

Whenever they are in the area the grandparents find themselves staring out of their car windows in the forlorn hope of catching a glimpse of the children.

"Even if we saw them we would never approach them or do anything that would upset them," says Brian with tears welling up in his eyes. "But we can't help hoping we might see them in the distance."

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When it became clear that the children's mum was incapable of looking after them, social workers were happy for Brian and Margaret to be granted "interim parental rights".

But problems began when the mum, addled by drink and drugs, began making threats against her parents, saying she wanted her children back.

In September 2006, Brian and Margaret reluctantly suggested to social workers that Adam and Katie should stay briefly with foster parents until their daughter stopped menacing them.

Then Brian and Margaret say they found themselves under immense scrutiny from social workers who later changed their minds about their suitability to care for the children. Brian and Margaret hired solicitors to get the children back.

Four times a court ruled in their favour, but eventually, they say, they were left unable to cope with the lawyers' bills and emotional stress.

Brian claims they were then "bullied and manipulated" into eventually agreeing to the children being adopted last year - on the basis that they would still have some contact with the children.

Then, last October, they were shocked to discover that two men were adopting Adam and Katie. And in the row that has followed all access has been cut off. Margaret says: "We honestly are not bigots. It's just the practicalities which bother me. Which dad do they call dad? "How can anyone explain to a five-and a four-year-old what on earth has happened here? It's all so sad."

The gay couple have been together for eight years. They live in a smart home and lead a well-off lifestyle. They are both in their thirties and one has given up work to look after the children, taking them to school and nursery.

Before the children moved in, they got planning permission improvements to their home to accommodate the children Knowing that Adam and Katie live so close makes the agony even worse for Brian and Margaret. "It's Adam's birthday next month," says Margaret.

"I want to give him a present like any normal granny. I just want to see the kids - even if it's only twice a year, that would be better than nothing." Brian says social workers told him that the children think he and Margaret are dead because they haven't seen them since October.

"It's not surprising that they think we're dead when they haven't seen us for so long. We've been just erased from everything.

"I can't stand the thought that these kids will think we have abandoned them."

Originally Brian and Margaret say they were told they would be still be allowed contact with the children. "We would never have consented to adoption otherwise," says Brian. "But now we've been told we will never see them."

The couple are in talks with solicitors in the hope of winning some limited access, but accept the adoption cannot now be overturned.

A sympathetic businessman is paying their legal bills, but it will be a long drawn-out process. Meanwhile, a short drive away, Brian and Margaret fear Adam and Katie are starting a new life believing that Gran and Grandad are dead.

littlelamb Sun 21-Jun-09 20:14:58

Very sad story but what has the couple being gay have anything to do with anything? it would be sad whoever had adopted them hmm

spicemonster Sun 21-Jun-09 20:18:30

hmm Is there any evidence that the children think their grandparents are dead? There were bloody loads of threads on this at the time of the adoption. I seem to recall that it was the fact that the grandparents refused to comply with a SS request that their daughter be allowed no contact with the children was highly instrumental in the children being adopted. And what on earth has the fact that the new parents are gay got to do with anything? Unless of course you're a raging homophobe.

madlentileater Sun 21-Jun-09 20:19:14

we've been through all this before.
Social workers must have had a good reason for not placing kids with gps.
You are only hearing the pov of the disgruntled gps, sws will not be able to put the other side, as it would endanger dcs anonymity and not be in their best interests.

madlentileater Sun 21-Jun-09 20:20:29

'thanks to a well wisher'
hah
thanks to some homophobic nosey parker more like.

katz Sun 21-Jun-09 20:20:56

this had everything to do with the adoptive parents being gay and its pure speculation that the children have been told their grandparents are dead.

i seem to recall from the original news coverage that the grandparents refused to not allow their daughter access and therefore safeguarding the children, this is why social services took the children away.

katz Sun 21-Jun-09 20:21:58

spice x-posted

laumiere Sun 21-Jun-09 20:22:22

I'm more concerned about the 'wellwisher' who's now exposed these kids to the media.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 21-Jun-09 20:24:42

Message withdrawn

AnarchyAunt Sun 21-Jun-09 20:25:09

"thanks to some homophobic nosey parker more like"

I believe the Catholic church are backing them.

madlentileater Sun 21-Jun-09 20:28:28

well what a surprise.
Of course they have a spotless record of putting children's interests first.

AnarchyAunt Sun 21-Jun-09 20:30:10

Says so here

spicemonster Sun 21-Jun-09 20:39:07

Do you have any comment OP? Or are you content to let your ream of C&P do the talking for you?

Madmentalbint Sun 21-Jun-09 20:45:09

Very sad indeed for the children and the grandparents. Don't know what the adopters being gay has to do with anything though.

edam Sun 21-Jun-09 20:51:47

Never mind the adopters being gay, it sounds like a horrible way to treat the grandparents AND the grandchildren.

How on earth is it 'in the best interests of the child' to remove them from all contact with the grandparents who have brought them up?

SomeGuy Sun 21-Jun-09 20:53:57

I wonder if people would be following the usual 'slag off the social workers' line if it wasn't for the fact that the adoptive parents are gay.

Most such threads I see seem to follow the 'evil social workers taking kids away from their families' rhetoric, but I guess 'gay adoption' trumps 'evil social workers'

crokky Sun 21-Jun-09 20:56:15

I also don't think it is relevant that the adopters are gay.

What is relevant is:

-whether adoption was the correct decision for these children in the first place (who knows, could be, although SS have made some shocking blunders so it's not surprising people doubt them)
-why, having been adopted, these children are not allowed to see their bio grandparents

It does seem extremely sad that 2 (seemlingly) loving grandparents have been cut off from their grandchildren. IMO it would have been best (assuming adoption was the best thing for these children, which I am in no position to judge) if the children could have had 3 sets of grandparents - 2 sets who are the parents of each of the couple and a third set - the bio grandparents.

StewieGriffinsMom Sun 21-Jun-09 20:58:35

Message withdrawn

spicemonster Sun 21-Jun-09 20:59:08

SomeGuy - I can't speak for anyone else but I know that SS policy is to try and keep children with the biological family whenever they can. I'm sure you're aware that most abuse cases happen because SWs are following this edict to a degree where they are not actually acting in the childrens' best interests. So I find it hard to believe some of the 'facts' about this case that are being presented in the media.

Yes I think it's terrible that the children have had all contact with the grandparents cut. But if SS thought the couple they have placed the children with are the best parents for their children, they are not going to heighten the already considerable risk of the adoption breaking down by letting the children see people who are massively homophobic.

katz Sun 21-Jun-09 21:01:57

some guy - the reason why this isn't an evil social workers stealing children to meet a political correctness agenda is because in one of the original articles the grandparents said that they refused to stop thier daughter accessing the children, that she should be allowed to see them, this seems to be the main reason they took the children away, also given the addition info given above that the mother was "addled by drink and drugs, began making threats against her parents, saying she wanted her children back" i can see why they may have made that decision, that would have been very unsettling for the children to stay in that environment,

Notsotired Sun 21-Jun-09 21:23:58

I posted quickly. I was reading another thread.

I personally don't agree with forced adoption. In this case, the parents or the grandparents should be expected to agree to the adoption for an adoption to take place.

If there was an agreement, then the family might have agreed to adoption or special guardianship for the children. For the family to agree, it's likely that an attractive and generous contact arrangement would be proposed.

I keep the children in mind here. Those children knew their grandparents and even though they are young, I very much doubt they want to be adopted. Even their limited understanding should know enough to think that the concept of adoption is not good.

Adoption by concept should be a last resort. This doesn't seem to be a last resort to me.

I would rather have seen the Grandparents looking after the children - perhaps a foster carer sharing the care of the children. The foster carer having just the nessesary of input till the children are a few years older and able to be more independent. The children are 4 and 5. In a year, the children go to school and in 5 years time, the children should be reasonably able to be less of a burden for the grandparents.

I don't think adoption was the right decision in this case.

The fact that the children went to a gay couple is worrying because the children came from a heterosexual couple and heterosexual grandparents. The social workers should have kept as much in common as possible. If I remember back to the first articles, there were 6 or 6 heterosexual couples who wanted to adopt these children, so why were the gay men chosen?

SomeGuy Sun 21-Jun-09 21:29:48

Not sure you'd really want to replicate their parents - a useless not-there bum for a father and a druggy for a mother. Assuming the grandparents were putting the children at risk, it's not as if they were replacing a Mummy and Daddy with something else, so there doesn't really seem any reason not to have them adopted by gay parents.

That is assuming they should have been put up for adoption at all.

MaggieBeau Sun 21-Jun-09 21:33:55

They should at the very least be allowed some supervised contact shouldn't they? I can't believe that children would be adopted if they have GPs who want them.

But then, there could be anything going on there. Mamybe kids mum ran off rails becuase her dad was cruel/abusive...could be the children's own mum who didn't want the children brought up by her parents.. who knows.

spicemonster Sun 21-Jun-09 21:49:04

I have no idea why the gay couple were chosen over any potential het couples but I don't think that's 'worrying'. My friends have recently adopted a little girl and she's never had a dad before. Is that worrying too? Or is it just their sexuality you have a problem with?

hester Sun 21-Jun-09 21:51:36

Notsotired - I really don't see how you can reach an informed decision on whether the adoption was right or not. I can't - because we only have one side of the story; social workers can't and won't explain why these decisions have been made.

What I do know, as a lesbian parent currently being assessed as an adopter, is that there is huge emphasis these days on keeping children with their families, and on maintaining contact after adoption. I don't know why that hasn't happened in this case - maybe because the grandparents couldn't resolve their hostility to the adoption and so would be actively undermining their grandchildren's need to bond with their new parents? Maybe because they couldn't be trusted not to disclose identifying information to their daughter, who could then approach and disrupt the children? Who knows, but we shouldn't assume there was no good reason.

As for 'why were gay men chosen?': well, maybe they were the best parents available? Your way of thinking - that gay adopters are the last resort, and should only be considered if there are no heterosexuals available - is happily beginning to go out of fashion.

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