A British married couple have adopted a nine year-old boy from Pakistan who has lived with them for almost his entire life.
In KK v FYC, the couple were in their mid to late fifties. They were of Asian origin but British citizens. In July of 2005, they welcomed a woman from Pakistan into their home, who brought her three children with her.
She stayed at the couple’s house until the end of the year, then returned to Pakistan with her two eldest children. The youngest child, identified in the judgment as ‘C’, was left behind. He was 11 months old at the time.
Since then, the couple have looked after C. It was only during the course of the legal proceedings that he found out that he was not, in fact, their son.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Holman noted that C had “time limited permission” to stay in the UK as a result of his birth in another country. However, the judge said that if he were to allow the adoption, C would become a British citizen and be able “to live here for the rest of his life if he wishes”.
Mr Justice Holman turned to the Adoption and Children Act 2002. This states that an adoption cannot take place without the consent of the biological parents. However, there are exceptions.
Section 52(1) of the Act allows for consent to be disregarded in the event that the biological parents “cannot be found”. In this case, neither of C’s parents could be located. A man the mother had claimed was the father had been tracked down. However, he “resolutely denied paternity” and a DNA test proved he was telling the truth.
A social worker had made “exhaustive enquiries within Pakistan” to search for the mother but with no success. With those two factors in mind, the judge concluded that the criteria set out by Section 52(1) of the Act had been met, so he dispensed with the requirement for parental consent.
He concluded that C was “thriving” with the couple and wished to be adopted. Mr Justice Holman then made a formal adoption order “with very great pleasure”.
To read the full judgment, click here.
Adoptions of foreign children by British couples are relatively common. Earlier this year, a High Court judge approved the adoption of a Nigerian boy by a British couple.
Photo of the Pakistani flag by alan feebery via Flickr