You didn't waffle at all mumof3now, and it's helpful, though sad, to hear from someone who has been through the system and knows how inadequate the information can be. I didn't know about info on 3rd parties not being available. Does this mean info about parents who had the care of the children originally? How can they make sense of their lives without that information?
We adopted our children and were given enough information on their backgrounds and their birthparents to be able to tell them something meaningful about their histories and birth families, bit by bit as they grew. They have both both tried to find birth parents - our daughter found her father on facebook and met him a couple of times, but soon became disillusioned. Our son has tried everything but drawn a complete blank with his birthmother, even tho he traced other relatives and her ex-husband, who met with him.
In both cases though, they haven't yet sought to see their social service files (we adopted them thro the LA) so I don't know what's in them. However I (not sure if this was legal) took a copy of the social worker's affidavit to the court, about what happened to our daughter at her mother's hands, and why she was being placed for adoption. This was possible because the SW gave it us to lodge with the court in an unsealed envelope. It would have felt entirely wrong not to make sure this information wasn't copied and kept safe for our daughter for when she was an adult, though it didn't make nice reading. I gave her a copy a couple of years ago, I think she'd be 21 then. Between 18 and 21 so much was happening - going off the rails, drink problem, leaving home, having then losing care of g/d, etc, that it wasn't the right moment until then, but however horrible it was for her to read it, it was her information, her history, and she had a right to it - as you say with your nephew, warts and all.
Huge credit to you for coming through so much to be such a strong adult who is there for your nephew to ensure he has a safe home within the family, and his history kept for him for when he's the age to need it.
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