I arranged to place my children in the care of their godfather under a Special Guardianship Order three years ago. (They moved in with him, into the house I bought for that purpose, in August 2012.) Initially, they lived with him under a private fostering arrangement, and then the SGO was eventually awarded by the Court in March 2015. At the time when I made these arrangements for my children, I was suffering from leukemia, and was unsure whether I would achieve remission. I spent most days in terror that I would die, leaving my four children (then aged from 7 to 11) orphaned and at the mercy of the care system. (Their father died some years ago.)
Things are vastly different now, however. I have achieved full remission (which I can demonstrate to the Court with blood tests), which means that if the leukemia were to return, the chances of retreatment being successful are considerably higher than they would have been if it had returned soon after the first treatment. Also, I have worked hard to improve my general health and fitness, losing 3 and a half stone in weight, and taking up mountain hiking.
Ever since my children left my full time care, I have visited them regularly, usually at least fortnightly, (a 4-hour round trip each time), and they have had holidays in Wales with me, as stipulated in the Child Arrangements Order.
Now, however, the SG has "decided" that he wants to "put a cap on my visits" to my children, saying that it is too disruptive for him. He has ignored the Child Arrangements Order on two occasions so far: the second weekend in January, when he wouldn't allow me to visit (I didn't want to cause a row, so let that one go), and by booking a holiday for my three sons (but not my daughter) for the February half term (starting tomorrow), which is in the CAO as one of the times when all the children should be with me in Wales. (My daughter and her boyfriend will be coming to me, but not my sons.)
I know which forms I need to complete to apply to the Court for permission to apply to discharge the SGO and the CAO, but I am unsure as to whether or not this is a matter which the Court would consider as requiring mediation before I proceed with any application? Can you give me any advice on this please?
I have had some preliminary advice from a solicitor, which was very helpful, but since I have continued to support not only my children, but also the SGO throughout, I am not in a financial position to be able to instruct them to represent me. I am confident in my abilities to represent myself, but would be very grateful for your advice on this specific point.
I would also like some confirmation that, in the event that the Court agrees to discharge the Orders, the SG's PR would be simultaneously ended? I assume this is the case, but can you confirm that?
FYI, my children were never 'looked after' children, and have never been involved with Childrens' Services, except in the context of the support of the Social Worker throughout the SG arrangements.
Thank you in anticipation of your assistance - and good luck to my fellow parents on these boards, who are suffering as I do with missing our babies!