Our first story in this series looks at what happens when an adoption is badly filed.
1. Could you give a brief summary of the facts of your case?
I went through adoption proceedings for one of my children. It was not a voluntary adoption, it was forced.
2. What went wrong in your case?
There were serious administrative failings in our case, including the wrong adoption year and name being written on the adoption certificate as well as queries over the authenticity of the certificate itself, which led me to wonder whether the adoption had gone through at all. I also felt as if the evidence I produced was either ignored or dismissed and all the positive reports about me as an excellent mother were never acknowledged with a view to looking at potential options for support. Instead, adoption seemed like the end goal from the beginning.
3. What happened after you alerted the professionals to the errors?
When I complained to the Information Commissioner’s Office that the wrong adoption year had been applied, they accepted my complaint and wrote to my council. The council gave an unsatisfactory response which included unfounded comments about myself and the nature of the case.
4. How do you feel the errors were dealt with?
Pretty badly. Despite the error on the adoption certificate, which was hugely traumatic given that it suggested the adoption had happened years before the event took place, there has been no compensation or no suggestion of compensation. The errors spread across my family court judgments though acknowledged, were never put right, so the documentation is filled with errors making it almost impossible for me to get any kind of legal relief. As a litigant in person I also felt very let down by the court, no one really helped me understand what I needed to submit for hearings or how these things should be done. If I had had some help, maybe a lot of errors could have been avoided and my case would not still be going 10 years on.
5. What do you think could have been done differently?
I think the professionals in the case should have been more careful about the administration of the adoption process and more mindful of the fact that I did not have legal representation, through no fault of my own. I also felt they did not listen to my son and give his wishes and feelings the weight they deserved or take into account my ability to care for my son.
6. What message would you like to pass on to the child welfare system?
My message to the child welfare system would be to ensure regular checks are done on their written records they hold. In my case, this led to my child’s identity being interfered with, which is a hugely serious thing and definitely not in any child’s best interest.