The adoption of a seven year old Latvian child must proceed, the High Court has ruled.
In Re CB (A Child), the girl in question, referred to as ‘CB’, had been born in England but held Latvian citizenship because her parents were from the Baltic country, although her father had no involvement in her life. CB had been the subject of care proceedings since June 2011 after her mother was found pushing the baby in a pram while drunk. “Appalling” living conditions were later found in the family home.
A Judge issued care and placement orders, allowing the local authority to formally take the girl into care and place her for adoption by a new family.
CB’s mother appealed the order twice but was unsuccessful on both occasions, and the girl was placed with prospective adopters. In October last year, the couple applied to formally adopt CB, and CB’s mother resisted the plan once more, applying for permission to oppose the adoption and to transfer the case to the Latvian authorities, as well as for contact with the girl.
The mother’s applications were dismissed, as was a further appeal. The determined woman then sought permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, and yet again, she was rejected. Unusually, the Supreme Court listed its reasons for refusing, stating, amongst other grounds, that the proposed appeal had no chance of success; that CB’s ‘habitual residence’ in the UK gave the English courts the necessary jurisdiction; and that there had been no meaningful change in the mother’s circumstances.
Finally, the prospective adopters’ application returned to court. Mr Justice Moylan declared:
“An adoption order, in its effect and consequences, is one of the most profound which a court in England and Wales can make. The decision I make today will have profound consequences for CB and for her birth family, in particular her mother and her half-sister. It is because of these profound consequences that this case has attracted a considerable amount of attention both in England and in Latvia. This is because it involves the proposed adoption in England and Wales of a national of Latvia.”
But, after considering the likely effects on CB of adoption, such the possible loss of her Latvian heritage despite the good intentions of her prospective adopters, Mr Justice Moylan concluded:
“CB has an overwhelming need for her placement with her prospective adoptive parents to become permanent. This is the only way in which she will feel, and be, sufficiently secure to progress and develop in a manner which is consistent with her best interests. Any other order would be likely to cause her significant harm because any other order would, inevitably, be fragile and subject to challenge and dispute.”
Read the full judgement here.
Photo by Stephan Hochhaus via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence