A legal amendment that was made during the COVID-19 pandemic allowing the witnessing of wills to take place via videoconferencing has officially expired. As of 31 January 2024, the...Continue reading
A mother who objected to her children being adopted by a gay couple has failed to convince the Court of Appeal to return them to her care. The Court ruled that there was no reason to doubt the prospective adopters’ ability to provide the children with a secure and loving home.
The children, two boys aged four and six, had been freed for adoption by a family judge in September 2011. The mother, a highly educated professional woman laid low by alcohol dependency, did not appeal against that decision.
Both the mother and the children’s father, who also had a history of alcohol abuse, were ‘distressed’ to learn of the sexual orientation of the adopters and, in April 2012, the mother applied to revoke the adoption order.
However, the Court found that the gay couple had been subjected to a rigorous selection procedure by the London Borough of Camden.
In the Court’s view, the evidence ‘was all one way’. The couple had been judged to be suitable adoptive parents and there was no specific reason to think that the placement might fail. She dismissed the mother’s appeal against the adoption order.
Dame Janet Smith, sitting with Lord Justice Longmore and Lady Justice Black, said that the case revealed ‘a sad human story’ of parents who met at a detoxification clinic but who had never managed to beat their mutual dependence on alcohol and had lost their children as a result.
The mother’s lawyers had argued that a month’s intensive treatment for her alcohol abuse had changed her. Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings regularly, she was now alcohol-free and had severed her relationship with the children’s father.
However, dismissing her appeal, Dame Janet said time was of the essence for the growing children and their futures needed to be finalised as swiftly as possible. “It is just too good to be true that a woman with the deep-seated shortcomings displayed by this mother could have been transformed in four weeks,” she concluded.