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May 5, 2009 permalink
A mother in Somerset, England let her two sons see their father. Their punishment? Social services took the two boys and placed them for adoption with a gay couple.
Family in 11th-hour legal battle to halt brothers' adoption by gay couple
By Sue Reid, Last updated at 8:03 PM on 04th April 2009
Two young brothers face adoption by a gay couple despite the desperate protests of their mother, grandparents and extended family.
The grandparents, an aunt and an uncle have all offered to give the boys, aged six and nine, a loving home but they say social workers have turned them down without explanation.
In the past few days the boys were introduced to the male couple in preparation for a formal adoption next month. But yesterday, in what is thought to be the first case of its kind, the children's middle-class family began an 11th-hour legal battle to halt the adoption.
The grandfather, a sports coach in his 60s, said: 'The boys thought they were getting a new mummy and daddy, not a daddy and daddy. We are not homophobic, but we feel strongly this adoption is against our family's Christian values.'
The grandmother, also in her 60s, added: 'Our grandsons are being forcibly taken from a family who want them dearly. We are worried they will be indoctrinated into a different lifestyle. This is social engineering by the state.'
The brothers have been in foster care for two years. Social workers began to monitor their mother when she suffered post-natal depression after the birth of her first son though there is no suggestion that she has harmed or neglected the children.
The boys were placed on the 'at risk' register four years later after her husband hit her.
Social workers claimed the 38-year-old mother had allowed them to be 'emotionally harmed' because one of the boys witnessed his father physically abusing her.
The couple later separated and the mother took out an injunction to stop her estranged husband coming to the family home. However, she relented and agreed to let him see his sons. When this was discovered, social workers took the children into care in March 2007.
She says: 'The boys kept saying they missed their father. I made a mistake by letting him back to see them. But that does not mean I should lose my sons for ever.'
Her estranged husband has now moved to a different part of the country. The mother argued in a Somerset family court that a homosexual household is not a suitable environment for her sons.
Her 40-year-old brother, who has a wife and child, has also offered to bring up his nephews. He believes it is not in their best interests to be handed over to strangers when they have loving relatives.
The case had to be heard in a closed court to prevent identification of the boys. It will fuel concern over the increase in gay adoptions, actively promoted by Left-wing ministers and councils.
The uncle said he had discussed the matter with gay friends. They are worried, too. They warned that male relationships do not always last very long.
'They asked about the long-term future of the couple who want to adopt my nephews. Will they stay together? Are they in a civil partnership? What happens to the children if they split up?'
Social workers insist that the boys badly need a stable home where there is no risk of the adults breaking up in the future.
However, none of the 20 male couples in England who adopted children in the year up to March 2008 had formally cemented their relationship in a civil partnership, according to government figures.
In what the family claim is 'bullying and blackmail', Somerset social workers apparently warned the mother - before she knew the sex of the couple involved - that she must agree to the adoption quickly or the boys might have to go to different homes because of a shortage of adoptive parents. She reluctantly consented because she felt her sons should be kept together.
Weeping, she said: 'I would love to look after the boys myself and think I am quite capable, especially with the support of my family.
'I was dismayed to find they are going to a single-sex couple. Social workers just dumped the truth on me. I was called to their office about the adoption procedures, and they said the boys' new parents would be a single-sex couple.'
Although the Daily Mail may not identify the boys, the social workers openly advertised them for adoption in an internet magazine, Be My Parent, where it is thought the gay couple saw them.
The advert showed the smiling brothers sitting together on a bench, their faces not obscured, and gave their Christian names along with descriptions of their character.
The words and picture were removed only when the mother was told about them by friends and complained to the social workers. The mother was equally astonished to find social workers taking a video of her heartbreaking one-hour 'farewell meeting' with her boys at a children's centre in February.
The social workers said it would be a 'memoir' for their birth family. As yet, they have not received it. At the final meeting, says the mother, she put on a brave face for the sake of her sons. 'I wanted their last memory of me to be happy.'
The last words the elder boy said to her were: 'I know I won't see you again, Mummy.' She answered: 'It's not going to be for ever, I promise.'
She said: 'I gave them a wooden fort with some knights. I gave them a collage of family pictures and sang them a song from their favourite Disney film, Brother Bear 2. I really tried not to cry.'
She has been told she can write to her sons twice a year, in May and October.
Social workers say the family will not see the boys again until they are grown up. The gay couple have insisted the children are permanently parted from their relatives as a condition of the adoption.
The boys have been sent to two different foster homes in two years, which their mother says has coincided with a number of emotional problems. She is particularly worried about her elder son.
'Will he innocently copy any intimacy he sees between the two men?' she asked. 'What happens if he tries to hold another boy's hand at school? He will be bullied. He could be teased. It will make life so much more difficult for him.'
When the grandparents offered to take both boys, social workers gave them no reason for turning them down. Their age was not cited as a barrier.
Then their aunt, who is in her early 40s, offered to care for the elder boy, if the younger were looked after by his grandparents.
The family agreed that the brothers would be together at weekends and in the holidays, either at their grandparents' home overlooking fields in the Home Counties, or the aunt's home less than an hour's drive away.
This plan also failed to gain acceptance. The aunt says: 'We are not drinkers or smokers. We are emotionally stable homeowners and taxpayers. We love these boys, and yet we were not allowed to give them a good life within their own family.'
The family say that they will continue their legal battle as long as they are financially able.
'Emotional harm' became part of the social workers' lexicon some years ago. It is now the catalyst for 27 per cent of all English adoptions, a far higher proportion than that triggered by sexual and physical abuse.
Critics say it means children can be 'forcibly' adopted if there are parental rows or even a future likelihood of them while a child is under 18.
A spokesman for Somerset County Council said: 'We cannot comment on individuals. However, all our cases go through a lengthy legal process. All stakeholders are consulted and the final decision is made by the judge.'
Meanwhile the uncle has contacted Mail Online to thank readers for their support and insist the family will continue their fight to keep the boys.
'The family are overwhelmed,' the uncle said.
'I can't tell you how much this support means to us. We're going to fight with everything we have to give these boys the childhood they deserve,' he added.
Source: Daily Mail