The High Court has granted a 14 year-old girl’s application to revoke her own adoption.
When the girl, ‘PK’, was four years old, she was adopted by a couple but they sent her to live with their extended family in the Republic of Ghana only two years later. PK alleges that during her time in the west-African nation, she suffered “significant abuse from those who had responsibility for looking after her”.
Last July, PK travelled back to England where she was reunited with her biological mother and grandmother. Later, she launched two applications: the first to revoke her adoption order and the second to legally change her last name to that of her biological mother. Both her mother and grandmother fully supported her as they were “thrilled to have her restored within their family”.
Sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Mrs Justice Pauffley described PK as an “intelligent, articulate and highly motivated” girl who was “delighted to be back” with her biological family. The judge also noted that PK was “frightened and wary” of her adoptive parents and did not want them to know where she lived.
The adoptive couple had been present for previous hearings which led to the court allowing PK to live with her mother. After that, they did not attend any further proceedings and showed no indication that they opposed PK’s applications. Mrs Justice Pauffley said that the couple had “relinquished actual responsibility for looking after PK nine years ago” when they sent her to Ghana.
The judge declared that if the applications were refused, the adoptive couple would still “have parental responsibility and the legal rights to make decisions about and for” PK. This would most likely lead to “emotionally harmful consequences” for her.
Mrs Justice Pauffley said that in these “highly exceptional and very particular circumstances”, she was “in no doubt” that the right thing to do would be to allow both applications. Consequently, PK’s adoption was revoked and she was given permission to change her last name to reflect this.
To read PK v Mr And Mrs K in full, click here.
Photo by David McKelvey via Flickr