Thursday, 20 September 2012

Adoption Day!

It finally happened.

Yes, we got the Adoption Order and the children officially became ours and now we all share the same surname.

However, as always, it wasn't that smooth a day - which part of this adoption has been smooth? One day I'll write a book about the reality behind Relative Strangers, because adoption is not an easy journey and despite there being so many children out there who need parents and stability the entire adoption system is set up to place as many obstacles as possible in the way of the adopters.

At the last minute the social workers and their lawyers called me to tell me they were going to apply for yet another adjourment of the final hearing. This is because we have an ongoing complaint about the way in which the children were placed with us with no support or help and a myriad of failings on the part of the social services. This has all been upheld in the complaints proceedings although the council in question will not address it. So now we have an investigation from the Local Government Ombudsman as well as by our MP. Its all very dramatic.

The upshot is they wanted to adjourn the hearing based on a single line in the Post Adoption Support agreement that the Ombudsman had asked to be included - basically, stating that the council will have to consider the Ombudsman's findings. Without this line we would be signing away our rights to question any financial assistance in the future.

Well, the judge agreed to adjourn, until 2pm the same day to allow me to get up there (we are a long way from the court) and give my side of the story. I organised emergency childcare - jumped in the car and off I went. I sat in a court room and explained our reasons for the 'one line clause', I showed the judge the letter from the Ombudsman also requesting the clause. Then the social services lawyer proceeded to rip into me, saying we were not committed to the adoption, we were only interested in the finances, not in the best interest of the children, that we were asking for a clause to go in that would be based on future findings that are unknown and therefore were being unreasonable.

I sat there with my mouth open. I can honestly say I was stunned.

Then the judge replied and, I think I am ok in saying this, he seemed furious. He told them that we had every right to ask for this simple clause, the Ombudsman had requested it and that the council were bound by law to consider it, so by asking it to be removed showed they were planning on getting us to sign off and then washing their hands of us (or words to that effect in legal terms). He was not sympathetic to the council and if they were bringing up finances then that was their issue and not ours. As to the best interest of the children, well, it would not be served by waiting months for a legal enquiry and it was in their best interests to grant the adoption order.

Well, that was it - the order was granted. The judge went on to thank me for coming and clarifying my position. That was it. A five hour round trip for a ten minute session where I was horribly abused and then given the best news ever!

We told the children that evening.

KC knew something was up as I was 'dressed in boring clothes', obviously I didn't go to court in my best Carmen Miranda hat, and he knew it was the adoption. "Are we now adopted, " he asked. "Yes you are," Papa told her, "That's it we are a forever family!" KC came in for a big hug... TJ sat there looking at us with his mouth open... "Do we get a toy now?" he asked... I think the complexities of the adoption system of the UK may have gone above my 6 years old's head... Yes, I can finally say that... 'My 6 year old!'


  1. I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face - and I'm in Uni at a public access computer - so thanks very much!!!

    Seriously, though, this is the best news ever. I am thrilled beyond words for you and your family. Your sons have a security now that was, heretofore, unknown to them in legal terms. You and Papa are a shining example to so many of us.


  2. It's never easy with adoption. I don't know why they make it so hellish for people with all the good heart to want to give children a good home. The legalities alone can kill one's interest. But am glad for a worthy judge and that all went well. Here's to more funny stories with your sons, and more good cakes to look at too I hope!!! :)

    Jo Frets Lee

  3. Thank you both of you. Sorry for making you cry and here's to many more laughs and cakes!