Support for birth parents
If someone is trying to adopt your child and you don't want this to happen, you should get legal advice as soon as possible. You may be able to get publicly funded legal advice and representation in court. A solicitor will be able to advise you.
Retaining your parental rights
One of two things must happen before a court can take away your rights as a parent. Either you must agree, or the court must decide to go ahead without your agreement.
Each case is different and the court will only go ahead with an adoption order if it feels it is necessary. This could be where there are concerns for the safety of the child.
The court will send you the evidence it has been given and you should discuss this with your solicitor as soon as you can.
The court will also ask an independent social worker - known as a guardian ad litem - to visit you.
Their job is to:
- safeguard your child's interests on behalf of the court so they will want to know why you do not want your child to be adopted
- report your views to the court because it is very important for the court to know how you feel about your child's future
You can go to the court yourself to explain why you are not willing to agree to your child's adoption. An adoption order cannot be made unless the court is sure that being adopted would be in your child's best interests and they will have to take account of your views in deciding this.
Whether contact takes place between birth families and the child after adoption will depend on the needs of the adopted child and whether it is felt to be in their best interests.
Often indirect contact may be agreed. This usually means information is sent by letter to the child through the adoption agency.
They can also bring letters or information to birth family members from the adopted family. This can include information from the child as they get older.
In some situations it may be possible for birth family members to have face to face contact with the child after the adoption takes place.
Any contact that is agreed can be looked at again to make sure that it continues to be right for the child. This may mean future changes to the type and frequency of the contact.
Support after adoption
Adoption has life-long effects for people involved. After adoption, birth parents may be reluctant to approach a social services department or a voluntary adoption agency which they feel did not give them the help they needed in the past.
However, many things have changed in recent years. Specialist post adoption services have been developed which recognise that adoption is a long term process. They may be able to advise you on sources of support.