Another month has passed here at DD&M and it’s been rather a busy time, what with Little Man starting nursery and starting our search for him going to school next year - less than a year to go!
We recently had another LAC (Looked After Child) review, which is chaired by an independent party from the Local Authority. Following this, all the necessary forms and paperwork were submitted to the courts to formally apply to legally adopt Little Man. As adopters we have to wait for 10 weeks from placement, so we submitted our application as soon as we were legally allowed to do so. This is the final chapter of the adoption process. We’re nearly there.
We didn’t have to complete that much, other than a few pages of a hefty form with personal details about us and Little Man. The rest comes from his Social Worker who submits a separate annexe of information in order to assist the court/Judge with the review of information so an outcome can be heard and decision made. If adopters are required to pay (as some authorities will cover the cost) the application/court fee cost is around £170.00 - but we’re sure you will agree that is a small price to pay for the outcome.
This is the very last step in the adoption process and can take months for a decision to be made. Especially with Covid around, this is likely to elongate the process further.
Once received, the court contact Little Man’s birth parents to inform them of our intention to adopt him. His birth family can contest this with the court and they will be asked to submit evidence to the court to support their reasons for contesting. The Judge will then review and hear the case. We are not required to go to court but will be kept informed of the hearing date and final decision.
Once granted an Adoption Order cannot be reversed. All legal responsibility will be ours as Little Man’s legal parents. As you’ll have gathered if you have been following our journey, the entire process is extremely lengthy, but once complete - that’s it. We can carry on with no further involvement or visits by Social Workers and the Local Authority.
What do you mean by Adoption Order?
This is an order given by the courts giving full parental responsibility for a child to the approved adopters, made on their application to the court. This severs the legal ties between the birth parents and the child. Therefore the legal responsibility is no longer shared with the Local Authority and all meetings, reviews, social worker visits etc stop.
After the outcome is given, there is a celebration day planned for the child/ren to go to a family court for them to be presented with a certificate with their family name. They also get to meet the judge, sit in their chair and in some family courts, they are presented with a teddy bear too! Some call it a naming day, the day they finally were legally part of their forever family.
We’re a little unsure how that will be organised - but 2021 looks to be a good year if all goes as anticipated but for now we wait for everything to be taken into account and a decision made by the Judge. We’ll let you know how things go!