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Foster carers disagree with adoption plan

Shanar January 13, 2022 13:05

Hi everyone,

My husband and I were contacted by the family finder of a toddler in summer and after a very slow process, they visited us in November. On the day of the visit, they mentioned that the child's foster career has been very keen on adopting the little toddler who had been with them since birth but the local authority rejected their application ( the reasons were confidential) and they said that there is a highly unlikely that the foster carer take this to the court. After the visit, they contacted our social worker, saying that they have chosen us. Since then, there were nearly no communication/updates from them, while we kept contacting our social worker and asking for any news. Finally, our social worker contacted us, a couple of days ago, and mentioned that they are still discussing this with the child's foster carer and the foster carer is seeking a way to change this decision and they plan to take this to the court. As you can imagine, my husband and I are absolutely disappointed and distressed. We built so much hope and love in the little toddler and feel that we deserved better communication and more explanation. I have a couple of questions:

2- How likely it is that the court can change this decision, considering that the local authority was against that?

3- Does the child's social worker need to define a timeline for the foster carer to make their mind? They have been told about the plan since summer. Thank you.

Donatella January 13, 2022 14:27

Hi. Probably not what you want to hear but I imagine there’s a very strong possibility that foster carers will be allowed to keep this little one. I don’t know whether legislation has changed since I last adopted but back then a carer was allowed to apply directly to court if the child had been with them for 12 months. We narrowly avoided this scenario when we adopted our daughter.

If the child has been there since birth then the court may well consider it too much of a disruption to move them. If they’re happy, settled then I suspect there would have to be very compelling reasons to move them on.

Time for a very direct conversation with your sw I think.

Shanar January 13, 2022 14:57

Hi Donatella,

Thank you for your reply. The child has been with them for more than a year now. I am disappointed with the way that this case has been handled. They gave us so much hope and there was no mention of the high possibility of their success in the court, should they decide to apply. After about 40 days of being matched, still, we don't know if the foster carer plan to apply to the court.

Edited 13/01/2022
Donatella January 13, 2022 15:23

They all need to make a decision and quickly. It’s not helping anyone by dragging it out. It was over 15 years ago that we were in a similar situation - in that instance it was our son’s sister but even so her foster carers really didn’t want to part with her. It made intros very difficult.

There could be many reasons for them delaying - in all likelihood they’ll have to stop fostering, at least for a period of time. Is it their first or are they experienced foster carers? As a mum I can see how hard it must be for them but equally having been in your position I know how stressful and difficult it must be for you too

Shanar January 13, 2022 15:55

It must have been very difficult for you as well.

This is their first foster case. I can understandably empathise with them but it can't help me stop being worried and frustrated about being kept in the dark.

Safia January 13, 2022 19:05

My daughters first foster care wanted to adopt her - even longer ago than Donatella’s - 25 years ago - but they were white British and my daughter is mixed white / Asian so it was turned down. She had been there less than a year though so it didn’t go to court - and not since birth - she had to be moved as a result which was another disruption for her. Again first foster child - it must be difficult to look after a baby for months and then see it moving on - must take some getting used to. I guess you just have to hope they make the right decision for the child and if the home they are in is suitable and there are no issues with the carers keeping them then it would seem to be better than moving them. As you say though the big issue for you has been the lack of communication and honesty

Shanar February 16, 2022 16:44

The foster carer eventually decided to take this to the court and the family finder told us this early February. This is while we did not even know that there is such a possibility until mid-January and spent about 4 months dreaming that she will move and preparing her room. The local council, the child social worker, and the family finder were all gainst the child's placement with the foster carer, based on our information. I think this is a nonsense rule that the foster carer can directly apply to the court. Nobody knows what the will future bring but based on the current evidence, she could have a much better life with us. Besides, the foster carer has already 4 children and their own family. They just ruined our dreams of becoming this childs' parent. Although we were kept in dark for more than 95 days after being matched, we have no right to appeal.

It was a horrible experience, as painful as a miscarriage after a long pregnancy and I can never forgive the social worker and family finder for not communicating this with us. I am writing this here so others prevent putting themself in similar situations.

Edited 16/02/2022
Donatella February 16, 2022 17:52

Oh I am sorry. Not surprised though given she’d been with them for that period of time. Seems very unfair. Not everyone can or should foster but I guess you never know how hard it will be until you have to say goodbye to your first foster child.

I’m sure you’re devastated. Take some time to come to terms with it and to grieve. It’s another loss, as you say.

If there’s any positive, I’d say often these things happen for a reason. Fate if you like. There will be a child there waiting for you, I’ve no doubt of that though I appreciate you won’t feel like that right now.

Look after yourselves

Safia February 17, 2022 10:53

Has the case been heard yet? If not it’s not an absolute given the child will stay with FC. I would put in writing how the experience has felt from your point of view and how it’s impacted you - formally - so maybe they look at how things could have been handled better / more sensitively and hopefully learn lessons for the future

Henry-Smith July 6, 2023 07:33

We're in a similar situation, the foster carers put in application to the court for SGO status. The assessment was granted and we were told the adoption placement is to go ahead at the same time. Which I thought was weird. Then we find out that the adoption placement has been stood down, which was not mentioned the first time. The adoption agency is still going ahead with the matching Panel. The FCs have to submit their application by 20th July. It feels very precarious.

My question is, is there any point pursuing this match. Is it more likely the SGO will be granted to the foster carers?

It feels like to me, if the SGO status is not granted, we're here as back up.


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