I have received Adoption papers, what do I need to do?

If care proceedings ended with final Care and Placement Orders, you may be surprised, several months later, to receive Adoption papers asking if you agree to your child’s adoption or if you want to apply for leave to oppose the adoption of your children.  It is important to seek legal advice when adoption papers are received to consider if you may have a case to seek leave to oppose the adoption. 

In order to really understand the adoption process and what you’re entitled to do about it, it is important to distinguish between a Care Order and a Placement Order. A Care Order gives the Local Authority parental responsibility and the ability to implement the Care Plan, whereas a Placement Order gives the Local Authority the ability to match and place the child with prospective adopters. Here, it is only after a child is matched and placed with prospective adopters that an application for an Adoption Order may be made. 

Once Care and Placement Orders are made, your contact is usually reduced or ended. Therefore, it is often a shock to receive adoption papers but this could be due to you still having parental responsibility.  

If you ignore the adoption papers, the matter will proceed through court and an Adoption Order may be made, therefore ending your parental responsibility.  

If you feel that you have made changes, you may be able to ask the Court to give you leave (PERMISSION) to oppose the making of an Adoption Order.  It is worth knowing that in this case, if you’re worried about fees, you may qualify for Legal Aid to help with the costs of representation. 

To have a reasonable chance of success, you will need to show that you have made sufficient changes and this is why evidence is so vital. For example, showing that you no longer use drugs or alcohol, have completed courses or therapeutic work, ended of an abusive relationship,  or have an improved support network will all aid your case. 

If you are successful in securing leave to oppose the adoption, the Court will then consider the matter further, hearing more from you and the prospective adopters and decide if an Adoption Order should be made.  

For more information, contact Barbara Crawford-Jones at barbaracrawford-jones@msbsolicitors.co.uk.

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