In a “highly unusual case”, a couple has agreed to the adoption of their six month-old son.
At the Portsmouth Family Court, Her Honour Judge Black said the parents’ decision was “a surprising turn of events” as the local authority had originally explored the possibility that the child return to his mother’s care.
The six month-old was the couple’s second child. Their first had been taken away “on the basis of neglect, emotional and physical harm” in 2013. While neither parent accepted the court’s findings about their eldest child, they both admitted that the care they provided had not been good enough.
When the local authority discovered that the mother was pregnant for a second time, they attempted to carry out updated “pre-birth assessments of the family” but their efforts were consistently “thwarted”. The local authority was adamant that a new assessment was necessary given what had happened with their first child.
In addition, the local authority was concerned by the father’s history of sexual violence. When he was 18, he had been convicted of two sexual offences against two girls aged 13 and 15. More recently, the mother had alleged that he had raped her. She also accused him of creating a fake Facebook account which he used to send explicit messages to underage girls.
The father denied having anything to do with the Facebook account but did admit to a psychologist that, shortly after the birth of their first child, he had forced himself upon the mother in an incident he described as a rape.
As a result, the assessment claimed that the father was a “direct sexual risk to his partner” but was not a risk to his son. Regardless, a social worker on the case said that the mother “would have to consider bringing the child up alone”.
Rather than raise a child by herself, the mother wrote an email to the local authority requesting that her son be placed for adoption. Both parents “confirmed their wish for their child to go for adoption” when the case returned to court.
Judge Black said it was “highly unusual for parents to actively consent to [an adoption] rather than simply not opposing them” and added that it was “a sad outcome for this child”. However, as no members of the boy’s maternal or paternal family offered to care for him, the judge made care and placement orders to allow the local authority to find him a new family. “There is nothing else that I can do”, she concluded.
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Photo of Portsmouth by eNil via Wikipedia