B e f o r e :
|Re F (a child) (Application for Leave to Oppose Adoption)|
Transcribed by John Larking Verbatim Reporters
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"When decisions were made about F's future, the mother was not in the country and her whereabouts were unknown. She had not engaged with the local authority in assessments of her parenting. She had not made herself available for contact with F. She had not consistently cared either for F or M. Her relationship with her partner was abusive. Her immigration status was unresolved. Today the mother's immigration status remains unresolved. There was a recent incident of violence which involved the same partner. She is, however, presently separated from that partner. Further, she has worked with various local authority professionals for just over a year to maintain (B) or resume (M) the care of her young children. She has accepted help in relation to accommodation and she has apparently welcomed local authority support, particularly in her care of M. These changes are I find more than superficial on consideration of the further material filed between the hearings. Miss Lazarus, the mother's counsel, very sensibly recognised this. The mother should be given and I do give her substantial credit for making these changes in her life and for achieving the local authority's support in her care of her younger two sons. I accept that she very much wants the chance to make up for her failure to care for F. I conclude that her circumstances have changed in nature and degree, not completely but sufficiently for me to consider whether to exercise my discretion to grant her substantive application."
However, the learned judge then went on to consider the discretion as to whether to give leave to the mother to apply for the revocation of the placement order. She concluded having reviewed the mother's then situation and the position of F and the fact that prospective adopters were awaiting introduction to F that she would not give leave. She said at paragraph 80 of her judgment:
"In these circumstances I conclude that the mother's application to revoke the placement order has no real prospect of success. It cannot be in F's best interests to halt the plan by which he will be placed in his forever family in the next two weeks and instead to make him wait for an unspecified but significant period of time whilst the mother does her best to overcome these enormous hurdles identified above. The loss of his only chance of an adoptive placement is far too high a price to pay for the prospect which I find to be poor of a placement within this family after all these years."
So on that basis Her Honour Judge Rowe QC, as I have said, refused the mother's application.
"One, the parent's ultimate prospect of success if given leave to oppose; the other, the impact on the child if the parent is, or is not, given leave to oppose, always remembering, of course, that at this stage the child's welfare is paramount."
"Ultimately if the court believes that it is not in F's interests for my application for permission to oppose the adoption application to be granted then I can only accept that decision. I want my son to know when he is old enough and when he has access to these papers that I never stopped fighting for him to come back to me and that I love him dearly and that I did not agree to the adoption."
I respect the mother's statement to that effect and the way in which it is phrased and I understand very much the strength of the mother's feelings but I have to deal with this application on the basis of what is in F's interests, having regard to his welfare throughout his lifetime.