A young father has succeeded in his bid to prevent the adoption of his infant daughter.
The girl’s parents began their relationship when the father was 18 years old and her mother was only 17. After one pregnancy was terminated, the parents conceived again. This time, they decided against a termination and their daughter, identified in the judgment as ‘L’, was born in early 2014.
However, there were difficulties during the second pregnancy and there were “extensive discussions as to whether or not the mother would keep the baby after the birth”. Shortly after L’s birth, her mother agreed to her being placed into foster care. The local authority applied to have her put up for adoption soon afterwards.
The court issued orders which allowed the local authority to place L up for adoption. Not long after the orders had been made, L was placed with adoptive parents.
The father’s extended family was completely unaware of L’s existence during the care proceedings, so they did not get involved. The father claimed he had not told them because he thought he had “embarrassed and shamed [his] family and let them down again”. During the mother’s first pregnancy, both her family and the father’s had been very upset that the couple “had conceived a child when they were both so young and unprepared to look after a baby”.
However, once his family had been told about L, they immediately contacted social services “to express their wish to care for the child”.
The father applied for permission to oppose the adoption so that L could be placed with her paternal grandfather. This application was supported by the local authority, who said the revelation that the father had family “able and willing to care for [L] throughout her minority is a relevant and sufficient change of circumstances” to consider allowing the opposition.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mr Justice Baker said that there were “strong welfare reasons” to allow the father’s appeal so he granted permission for him to do so.
In a post-script to the judgment, Mr Justice Baker noted that following his decision, the couple L was placed with decided not to pursue an adoption so that she could be placed with her family. Shortly afterwards, L moved in with her paternal grandfather.
To read Re LG (A Child) in full, click here.