About the Family Law Week blog

The Family Law Week Blog is a companion site to Family Law Week. It complements the news, cases and articles published on Family Law Week with additional comment and coverage of the wider aspects of family law.

The Blog is edited by Jacqui Gilliatt, of 4 Brick Court and Lucy Reed, of St Johns Chambers.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Grandparents or gay adopters?

The Telegraph is not sure whether to be more outraged about the anti-grandparent angle in this story (child removed from grandparents of 59 & 46 said to be ruled out becauuse they are too old) or about the the fact that the children are to be placed with a homosexual couple. The Telegraph quotes an unnamed spokesman for the Catholic Church who refers to a growing body of evidence showing that same sex relationships are inherently unstable and reduce the life expectancy of those involved. Strangely no specifics about this growing body of evidence. Really? Same sex relationships less stable than marriage?

I have had cause in the past to research this issue thoroughly and do not recall any such research holding up to scrutiny.

The Christian Right & Homophobic Discourse: A Response to Evidence that Gay & Lesbian Parenting Damages Children by Stephen Hicks is an interesting and well researched piece that debunks this sort of myth. Stephen Hicks is a Senior Lecturer at Salford University and something of an expert on the topic, should you need one and has written a number of other thoroughly compelling articles and a book or two on the subject.

I have somewhat more sympathy with the grandparents' own expressed concern that the children may suffer from not having a 'mother' figure (I do think that lay people could be afforded some time to catch up with the thinking behind with what is still a relatively uncommon placement proposition (for which, as one expert extremely sympathetic to the possibility, has pointed out we do not even as a society yet have the words to cover the parenting roles)) and their feeling that if they did not embrace the placement with enthusiasm the local authority would not support them having contact. The idea of adoption at all has always seemed to me to be a very difficult pill for family members to swallow with very little work seeming to be done to help them to adjust to the idea of it let alone the reality. Is it really necessary for the family to say the words - I think the children are better off adopted by X than looked after by me - before contact can be supported? Is it not more important to examine whether the family are capable of putting their private feelings on the matter to one side so that the children are not affected by it? There are clearly some cases where the natural family's attitude and behaviour makes it clear that ongoing contact is not a risk worth taking. I just wonder whether in other more subtle scenarios enough is done to explore the viability of greater openness in adoption situations, particularly with children who have a well established relationship with carers that will remain a live memory. It is my understanding the research on the benefits of post-adoption contact is not conclusive in either direction, no doubt because of the huge number of variables which need to be analysed, but does this have to mean we should take the line of least resistance? I am more than usually aware that I am treading on an area of expertise outside my own and would be grateful for pointers towards any useful materials.

2 comments:

Grandparents Apart Self Help Group Scotland said...

Typical SS Snatch a child. Alienate it from their family, usually telling them their family does not want to see them again. Then adopt them without consent. To increase their field of takers the SS now adopt to gays and single people all to save money.

A beautiful business plan for commodities but children are not commodities, they are human beings and need to be treated with love and kindness for them to grow up into decent citizens.

Children who are separated from their family lose stability and end up turning to gangs as a substitute for family comfort and stability.

We need the authorities to change their attitude about the care of children now!

Grandparents Apart Self Help Group Scotland said...

This charter was crested by The Scottish Government in a stakeholders group of which Grandparents Apart UK was a member.

Family Matters. The Charter for Grandchildren.
Scottish Ministers' vision for children and young people in Scotland is that they are safe, nurtured, achieving, healthy, respected and responsible, active and included.
This means that parents or guardians, grandparents, teachers, doctors, social workers and other people who are responsible for helping children and making decisions about their lives must do all they can to protect and care for them, to help them to do well at school and to make sure that they are happy, supported and confident.
Families are important to children
Families come in all shapes and sizes. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins can all play an important role in nurturing children. While parents are responsible for caring for their children and making sure their needs are met, the wider family can play a vital supporting role.
Family life is usually happy but sometimes there can be difficulties. These can range from family quarrels through to divorce and separation to ill health or death. During these times, the children in the family may need extra support. They may want someone to talk to, or simply a safe place where they can have fun. Grandparents can and do play a vital role in helping children to maintain some stability in their lives.
Sometimes, children or young people may lose contact with their grandparents. This can be for a variety of reasons. There may have been a family quarrel, a house move, or a change in who is caring for the children.
When there are problems in families, it can be difficult to see a solution. Tempers can run high, and family members may take sides. Everyone involved should be prepared to put the welfare of the child first and be ready to compromise. Whatever the problem in your family, it is important to look beyond your own feelings to help the children stay in touch with the people who are important to them as well as to adjust to a new situation.
It is important that parents, grandparents and other family members speak to, and treat each other, with respect. You may not get on, but you can still be civil for the sake of the children. Try to avoid arguing with, or criticising, family members in front of the children. It can be very upsetting for them.
On occasions professional organisations such as social work departments or the courts can become involved and may have to make decisions that will have a lasting impact throughout a child's entire life. In these circumstances it is vital that the loving and supportive role that the wider family, in particular grandparents, can play is respected and protected for the child.



FAMILIES ARE IMPORTANT TO CHILDREN - GRANDCHILDREN CAN EXPECT:

• To be involved with, and helped to understand, decisions made about their lives.
• To be treated fairly.
• To know and maintain contact with their family (except in very exceptional
circumstances) and other people who are important to them.
• To know that their grandparents still love them, even if they are not able to see
them at the present time.
• To know their family history.
• The adults in their lives to put their needs first and to protect them from disputes
between adults - not to use them as weapons in quarrels.
• Social workers, when making assessments about their lives, to take into account
the loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
• The courts, when making decisions about their lives, to take into account the
loving and supporting role grandparents can play in their lives.
• Lawyers and other advisers, to encourage relationship counselling or mediation
when adults seek advice on matters affecting them and their children.