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Judge dismisses late objection to adoption

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A toddler left in hospital by his parents should be adopted, a family court has ruled.

The boy, now aged 14 months, was born prematurely at home in August last year to a young Latvian couple living in the UK. They took the baby to their local hospital after the birth and did not return to collect him. Later they agreed he could be adopted, saying they would not be able to care for their son.

The following month, ‘RA’ was sent to live with prospective adopters, in a placement arranged by the local authority. By January of this year the couple, referred to as ‘Mr and Mrs D’, had been fully approved as adopters.

Then, a number of months later, RA’s grandmother intervened, applying to look after the boy back in Latvia. Naturally Mr and Mrs D opposed this and the case went to court. But before a decision could be reached, the toddler’s parents also re-emerged, now saying they were opposed to the possibility of their son being adopted by Mr and Mrs D but also to their grandmother’s application. Instead, they argued, RA should be returned to their care. Their circumstances had changed, they insisted. They had been separated at the time of RA’s birth and the mother had been living in a comfortable room. They had since reunited though, and now shared a comfortable home.

But family court judge Mr Justice Cobb was not persuaded by the birth parents’ case. They had already agreed to the adoption of their son, and had done so on multiple occasions, he noted., most recently after reconciling and moving into their current home.

Meanwhile, while he accepted that the grandmother’s intentions were “honourable”, he wished to avoid the boy becoming caught up in possible future family disputes given the parents’ opposition to her application. In addition, he believed she had no real emotional connection to her grandchild.

By contrast, RA had lived with Mr and Mrs D since he had been just a few weeks old, the Judge emphasised.

“RA is oblivious to whether Mr. and Mrs. D are at any one time fosterers or prospective adopters; he just knows them as his parents.”

The adoption was therefore approved.

The two late objections to their adoption had taken an emotional toll on the couple, added Mr Justice Cobb.

“It was evident that the Ds have found the experience of being propelled unexpectedly into a contested adoption application enormously stressful. They appear to be bruised by the experience; the strain on them was all too apparent…”

Read the ruling here.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers based across our family law offices who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. As well as pieces from our family law solicitors, guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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