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Statement of Facts - Step Parent Adoption(15 Posts)
My 12yo dss lives me and dh full time and has done since late 2011.
His bio mum lives abroad and has chosen to cut dss out of her life. I met dss when he was 2 and have been main mother figure in his life since then. Bio mum willingly signed Residency to us and PR to me.
There has been no direct contact since April 2013. We took dss to Europe to visit her. They spent a couple of hours together but she brought dss back early stating that 'he wanted his mum'.
We had also taken him to see her in April 2012 and August 2012 but there was a lack of commitment from her end on each visit (i.e. not showing up/showing up extremely, extremely late with poor or no excuses) so we stopped because the waiting around and anxiety was damaging to dss. The court order does not oblige us to take dss for visits- we were just trying to do the right thing. She visited England for 2 days in January 2012. Since then she says that she cannot afford anymore flights but she and her new dh take regular 5* holidays to other locations.
She also refuses to send Christmas or Birthday cards on financial grounds. Nor does she call on special occasions. We originally waived child maintenance as we were just happy to have dss with us officially but the court ordered a payment of €75 a month. This has never been paid so the debt must be approaching €4000.
The last indirect contact was a drunken phone call in November 2013 entailing verbal abuse to a then 9yo dss which traumatised him to the point of missing a day of school due to lack of sleep (We did not take this decision lightly- I am a teacher and dss was a pupil in my school at the time.)
No contact with bio mum's family either. We contacted her sister (dss' godmother) just over a year ago asking for help in trying to build some kind of relationship between dss and his bio mum but she did not want to get involved and said that if bio mum did not want to know dss then there was her choice. No word from her since. In fact, both sisters have blocked our phone numbers.
Dss is very keen on the adoption, as are myself and dh. We have taken several months to discuss it as a family and ensure that dss understands the implications if it goes ahead. I sent bio mum a letter about my intention to adopt via registered mail in November but received no reply. She has moved house twice but I think that the address that I used is correct as we heard that she had moved back to the flat that she used to live in originally and and the letter was signed for. We also emailed her the letter but again, no reply. I also looked her up on Facebook and messaged her but as we are not friends she may not have received it.
Therefore, on the A58 form I will need to state that I do not have bio mum's consent to the adoption and I will need to submit a Statement of Facts as to why I want to go ahead.
My question is what this Statement should focus on: her shortcomings or my positives? I want to be honest but there are so many examples of damaging behaviour on her part that the document came across in quite a nasty way and I'm concerned that that will I'm turn reflect on me somehow.
I hope that somebody can give me some guidance.
If you have PR, by adopting what is the problem you are trying to solve?
Your DSS will be 16 soon(relatively).
Well I wouldn't say that we are trying to solve a problem as such.
However, the three main things that have come up in our conversations are firstly, dss' desire to have an adoption certificate with mine and dh's name on it and I can understand his reasons behind that.
Secondly, dh is European and as a result dss has both parents' surnames. When he came to live with us his bio mum's surname stayed but became a middle name. At the time we did not realise that her intention was to send him to England and cut him off completely. Dss no longer wants his bio mum's name to feature at all and would rather it be replaced my his paternal great grandfather's surname as he passed away last year and we were all very close.
Thirdly, dss has called me Mummy/Mum for years and his bio mum supported and encouraged this. In the context of the way things are, I suppose we do feel that there would be a sense of completion and even deeper meaning to him calling me this if the adoption were to go through.
You'd get better, better informed answers, from people who know about how sws think, if you had this moved to the adoption topic.
When we did a step parent adoption, our statement of facts was just that.
It went something like this -
(Date) dragonmamma met ex-dp
(Date) relationship broke down
(Date) DD was born
(Date) Dragon met DH
(Date) DH moved in
(Date) last contact from ex-dp
All the way up to the date we submitted dh's notice of intention to adopt.
hope that helps
Our social worker told us it had to be exactly like the example set out by dragon above.
It's just dates of facts and instances that you think are important to the case. Please note that the bio parent receives a copy of it so any personal information you may not want her to see shouldn't be included.
Many thanks for the replies!
Can the statement predate the residence order? I mean, bio mum has never had a strong bond with dss even when she technically had 50/50. She spent very little time with dss and there were incidents of EA/neglect. I think that that is also relevant so I will include the early information too.
Also, what can I expect to be asked about my background by the sw? Apparently they ask about previous partners but I met dh when I was 23 and I can't remember a huge amount about past boyfriends etc(!)
I'm not sure about the residence order bit. That's not relevant to our adoption so I can't help you there, all you have to do is ask the social worker. They're there to help you in this. Ours is lovely, and nothing to be scared of.
The background bit is no problem. The social worker didn't ask my husband about his ex's. She asked him about his place in his family and what his family is like just to gauge who is who kind of thing. Siblings, nieces and nephews etc and their relationship with my children. She also asked him about his relationship with me and the children. He explained his role in our family. She asked him if he'd be supportive of the children should they want to find their bio father. That's about it. They chatted for an hour, it was informal. Actually we've found most of the process to be quite informal. It's just chatting with a social worker.
For me, (I am the bio parent) she asked all about how I met my ex and what our relationship was like, I did have to go into quite a bit of detail there, and with his family, the children's relationship with his family.
Look at it like this, the social worker needs to write a story about you, about you and your dh, about your dh and his ex and about the child so that the judge can understand what's happened and what's happening now in order to make the right decision for the child.
Ok I see, thank you very much for your help.
Dss has lived with me for so long that it's actually quite difficult to put what we do into words. For example, for us it's a given that family invitations from my relatives include him so I wouldn't have thought about that. I need to take more of an outsider's perspective. It feels like updating my CV or something.
We are yet to be assigned a social worker as I've not actually submitted my intention to the LA yet. They asked for a detailed statement to be submitted with my letter of intention so I've decided to kill two birds with one stone as it were. I'm aware that this is essentially delaying the process due to the obligatory three month wait before submitting the A58 but I like the idea of having everything written down first anyway so it's fine.
Yes I suppose you could liken it to applying for a job or updating a cv!
Wrt the invitations from family etc, if that's how it is, that's what you say. He's an integral part of the family and wouldn't be thought in any other way. Family treats him exactly the same way as a bio family member. The idea is that you present stability and a unit which you obviously have.
You must submit your intention though. It just delays it unnecessarily if you don't. But yes, get the timeline down, as you say there's time. The duty staff will be able to help with your questions if you ring them. There's always someone there fielding calls and such.
Good luck. And don't worry. It sounds like you have a very good case. Social services are not as scary as people think and not there to trip you up.
Sorry posted to early as dss knocked my arm whilst playing lol.
Hoping to submit the statement with the intention to the LA tomorrow.
Your advice was invaluable. Thanks again
This is a bit late but the SoF is merely a framework document so the court knows what it is dealing with. It is not your justification for the making of an order: that will be ordered later.
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