Going for adoption

Laura81
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Going for adoption

Postby Laura81 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 10:37 am

Hi all, we have been approved to adopt a close family member who is subject to care proceedings. The final hearing is coming up but I am just wondering about something.

We agree with it but do not have much confidence in the LA's plan for adoption, the case seems weak and it seems far too extreme in light of recent judgements saying it is 'draconian, the last resort, and is only put in place when nothing else will do'.

We have said all along we do support the plan, but would also be happy with SGO. The guardian feels SGO may be more appropriate and most legal advice we have had can't understand why they are pushing through adoption.

So my question is, could they go in seeking adoption order but end up granting an SGO on the day instead? Is this a possibility? Or would it be adjourned because we haven't had an SGO report done, only an adopters report. I guess I am thinking whether the judge could grant the order or not, as surely if we have passed adoption we would also meet the standards for SGO. We are keen to know what to expect and avoid any further delays!

Laura81
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Re: Going for adoption

Postby Laura81 » Tue Mar 11, 2014 1:01 pm

Thank you. I am just unsure they could grant an SGO without us being approved first and the report filed with the court. I hope so though we would be fine with it!

Skippy
Posts: 38
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 5:01 pm

Re: Going for adoption

Postby Skippy » Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:24 am

As a holder of an SGO, I wish we'd gone for adoption - if there is no prospect of contact, in my opinion, it just gives the child more stability. Eight months on, our nephew is terrified that he'll have to return to his birth parents - taking our name and being officially our 'son' would mean the world to him, and in due course, assuming he is still adamant that he doesn't want contact when he's old enough to share his views with the court, we will probably seek adoption.

I'm finding that we are having a tough time with the SGO - we feel as though we should be sharing more information with parents, but when we give them anything, they immediately come back with "When can we see our son?" as though we are trying to brainwash him into not wanting to see them. They still can't get their heads around the fact that he doesn't, and assume he's being coerced into not seeing them - they don't see the nightmares and tears, the upset and behaviour changes that happen any time they are even mentioned in passing. He has ruled a line under his old life and started afresh with us - I'd feel so much better if I could just say to them "He's no longer your son".

To be fair, I am still grateful that we've got an SGO rather than a residence order, and the difference between SGO and adoption is, in legal terms, largely a paper exercise. Our nephew now lives in a safe, happy home - that has to be the primary concern for all of us, but it would be easier on all who live in our house, I think, if we could sever all parental ties. I guess only time will tell if that is accurate.

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David Roth
Posts: 2022
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Going for adoption

Postby David Roth » Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:46 am

Although it is more common for SGO to be made out to relatives than an adoption order, there is no assumption on the part of the court that it has to be SGO. Each case has to be decided on its own merits, and the deciding factor is always what is best for the child. The courts are aware of the potential for confusion over identity, if family relationships become too confusing - e.g. if grandparents adopt a child, then legally that child would become the sibling of their own parents. However, you cannot say that the courts will never make an adoption order to relatives, but it would have to be demonstrated that adoption rather than SGO was in the child's best interests. And following some important case precedents last year, most courts are taking the view that adoption should only be considered as a last resort after all other options have been ruled out.

Courts do have the power to make an SGO through proceedings, even if there hasn't been an application for one. The information required for an SGO application is almost identical to what is needed for an adoption application, so the judge could easily decide that he or she had enough information to make an SGO. And the courts will be as keen as you are to avoid delay - they operate according to a 'no delay' principle, and are now required to run care proceedings to a fairly tight timescale of six months wherever possible.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser

Laura81
Posts: 8
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2013 2:47 pm

Re: Going for adoption

Postby Laura81 » Wed Mar 12, 2014 4:42 pm

Thanks everyone. We do believe adoption would be in their best interests and would prefer this, just not convinced it can be granted in the current climate and with being such close relatives. Skippy it sounds like you could seek an adoption order and help everything settle.

David it is good to know they could grant either order if there is sufficient info to do so. However, our adoption report is not due to be filed, as this is for general approval, relating to us only and not the proceedings. Do you think we could request/give permission to have it filed? Or would we need to be made party? I'd hate for them to go for SGO but feel they haven't had the relevant info to make the order- unless just being approved as adopters would be enough?!

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David Roth
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Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 10:14 am

Re: Going for adoption

Postby David Roth » Wed Mar 19, 2014 12:08 pm

Laura, there can be different reports going to different places for an adoption.

There is one assessment report (sometimes called a 'home study' or a 'Form F adoption report') that goes to the adoption panel, who will use it to recommend whether the applicants are suitable people to be adopters.

There is another report that has to go to court for any adoption application, called the Annex A report. This contains information about the child and the background history, as well as information about the adopters - a lot of the information about the adopters is the same as the Form F/home study, but laid out differently.

There is a very similar report that has to go to the court for a special guardianship application - it has to provide the information listed in the Schedule attached to the SGO regulations. The information that has to be provided to the court for an adoption and for an SGO application are very similar, so it is possible for a judge receiving an adoption report to state that they have the information they need in order to make a SGO.
David Roth
FRG Policy Adviser


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