At a time when the internet seems to be filled with the news of increased contact for birth parents, this latest revelation not only sits uncomfortably with the current status quo (that of widening a child’s connection to their genetic legacy) but also seems, for now, highly punitive and reminiscent of the strange double standards we see too often in the family justice system.
What are we talking about? Well, the government hopes to unveil new reforms which will give the courts the power to prevent biological parents from contacting their children, for example through internet sites like Facebook and other social media websites.
Even more startlingly, the new reforms will include the presumption that there should be no ongoing contact once the child has been adopted and will only be overturned in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which would require the birth parents to make a ‘convincing case’ that their child would benefit.
Asides of the horrible and uninformed wording in this article (of the current phenomenon of young people contacting their genetic parents through social media sites to find their birth parents or parents their children who have been adopted The Times describes this as “a growing problem for adopted young people”) surely this presumption is the wrong way around? Surely, we should not be using any presumptions but should be looking at the Paramountcy Principle to guide us, which is the only Principle worth having and outdoes a million presumptions, including this rather pathetic one?
But this isn’t about the welfare of the child. This is about an adoption drive at a time when children in care are at an all time high and people are being put off both financially and in relation to just how much disruption an adopted child would be to their lives.
Adoption should not be sold to the public, if ever, as a financial bonanza or a walk in the park. Children who cannot be with their parents need to be loved harder and stronger most of the time than children who have not known such heartache. And that must include leaving the window open for a reunion with their biological parents wherever possible and however hard and fraught that may be.