At last a BREAKTHROUGH!! Read the following article in the “LAW GAZETTE”. You can now hit those “SS” people through their pockets! The more times you go to court the harder they will find it to pay for it all! Fight like a tiger and never give up and like countless other mothers (some of whom I have advised) You can WIN and get your children back!
Do not be fooled into cooperating with the “SS” when you are given their promises or those of your legal aid lawyers that if you go along with the “SS” everything will be alright! It WON’T!! All they want from assessments and psycho charlatans is more evidence to win their case so do not give it to them! The “SS” are not police who must be obeyed but they ARE your ENEMIES as long as their stated intention is to take your children into care or for adoption. When your enemy runs out of ammunition you should never send them a fresh case of bullets for them to fire at you!! Only agree to assessments and psychos if ordered to do so by a judge; otherwise refuse unless your children are returned to live with you first! Any other assessment or psychiatric examination cannot be normal or natural.
Lastly never get “conned” into putting your kids into voluntary care because more often than not despite what the law gazette says you may never see them again IF YOU ARE IN THAT SITUATION USE THE LAST PARA OF THE GAZETTE AS PROOF THAT THEY MUST BE RETURNED TO YOU WHEN YOU ASK! And the best of luck to you!
USEFUL LINKS !
Addiction and the Adopted Child: A Look at the Links
Trusted Counsel: Does Your Tween Need Therapy?
The Emotional and Psychological Effects of Cancer
When Grief Becomes a Mental Health Issue
Understanding Mental Health Issues in Seniors
Helping a Friend or Family Member with Depression or Bipolar Disorder
I came across your site recently while doing research for a blog post I’m working on, and it occurred to me that the families who visit your site might appreciate the information that really helped us all get through the move. Here are the pages I bookmarked that I invite you to share on one of forced-adoption.com’s autism resource pages or on your blog (as you can see, I included some general home-buying advice – I forgot how much there is to the process!):
Steps To Take When Buying A Home
Moving With Autism – How to Plan Your Transition to a New Home
The Best Strategies For Calming Autistic Tantrums And Meltdowns
Autism Social Story: Preparing to Move to a New House
The 10 Best Tips for Long Car Rides with Kids – Tips for Kids with Sensory Issues
A New School: Easing the Transition
I hope those are useful and provide some insight to your readers! Also, if you want something more in depth on the topic of moving when you have a child with autism, I’d be happy to put together a free, research-based piece you can share on your blog. Let me know if that’s something that interests you.
Care applications fall sparks safety fears
Law Society Gazette, 21 August 2008
Just 1,611 applications were made by councils in England and Wales between the beginning of April and the end of July, according to figures from the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass). This compares with 2,160 in the same period last year and 2,284 between April and July 2006 .
Since May, councils have been obliged to foot the bill for child care proceedings as part of a government drive to make the courts entirely self-funding through fees. The move has resulted in a 2,500% hike in costs, with child care proceedings rising from £150 to £4,825.
Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, told the Gazette that Section 20 agreements – where children are placed with grandparents or other relatives – ‘went up by several hundred’ in the same period.
‘Care applications have dropped significantly… I am concerned about the drop because it’s too large to be complacent about,’ he said.
Douglas added that the use of Section 20 agreements – voluntary arrangements between parents and local authorities that do not come under court scrutiny and can be rescinded by the parent at any time – should be kept under review.
•CAFCASS and government statistics reveal the situation in the following 10 ways .
•1:-Adoptions during the year ending 31st march 2010 (3200) have dropped by only 100 from the year ending 31 March 2009 (3300) (3%)
•2:-Only 2% of children adopted were babies under 1 year old ,probably because distraught parents with children removed for “risk ” of emotional abuse and similar trivialities are now fighting back in the courts and causing delays of 2 years or more before declaring themselves beaten by the biased family courts;
•3:Children taken into care for the first 5 months of the year ending March 31st 2012 number 4105 , nearly DOUBLE the 2125 taken in the corresponding period for the year ending 31st March 2009 !! No,not because of “baby P” who was battered to death.IN FACT PHYSICAL ABUSE DECLINED BY 2.5% but emotional abuse rose by 3% over the three year period.
•4:- When Tony Blair introduced huge rewards for Local Authorities for reaching yearly adoption targets(Kent got more than £2million when adoptions were double the target in one year !)naturally adoptions increased. When these scandalous rewards were scrapped ,enthusiasm for adoptions diminished a bit ,so the fostering industry prospered. One such agency founded by social workers a few years ago was recently sold for £130 million.Nice work if you can get it !
•5:- In fact adoptions of babies dropped from 70 to 60 this year; hardly earth shaking !,Nevertheless, enthusiastic social workers sanctioned by compliant judges are now taking more and more unfortunate children into a form of “care”,so lax that 300 or more children have “disappeared”over the last 3 years, never to be seen again (NSPCC figures!).
•6:-Barnardos declare a yearly income of £175 million gained via adoptions;no wonder they want more!
•7:- We all have only ONE MOTHER in our lives and it is a gross abuse of any baby to deprive it of contact with a mother who loves that baby and wants to be there for it for as long as possible.
•8:-Battered women (and men) are punished twice when they report an abusive partner to the police as they immediately inform the “SS” who then take away the children.Hence the battered often prefer to stay battered rather than lose the children to adoption by strangers;
•9:-Single girls who give birth outside marriage no longer rush to adoption agencies as they get priority housing,benefits,and no stigma ! Hence the adoption pool of newborn babies has shrunk since the days of shame and illegitimacy in the sixties and seventies.
•10:-The basic problem is that “forced adoption” now has a very bad name as it is viewed as “legal kidnapping” by parents and by most of Western Europe where it would be illegal.Parents who suffer this barbarity or even the lesser oppression of “long term fostering” are then threatened with jail if they complain publicly .Surely it is the normal right of all citizens living in a democracy, to protest against what they perceive as oppression by the State?
As a social worker for 15 years i have seen children taken into care unnecessarily,been ordered to lie in court,had the Dept.’s solicitor reconstruct my witness statement to put parent in a bad light,made to exagerate a parents problems or blow up a minor incident.I eventually retired on ill health
ian hughes, bridgend, britain
QUESTION THEM !!
Here are 4 important questions that SHOULD be answered by social services or by family court judges but which have so far been systematically ignored!
1: It must surely be the right of parents and anyone else in a democratic country wishing to complain against injustice to go to the media with details of everything that happened to them in the family court Most judges in family courts refuse leave to appeal and solicitors always back them up so the idea of appealing when leave has been denied is nearly always a “non starter”. Parents are at present denied their democratic right to (like rape victims) shed anonymity and then go to the media under their own names to get public and political support followed by possible reform! How can this be justice?
2: Harriet Harman,(minister of state, Department of constitutional affairs )said in Parliament “Last year something like 200 people were sent to prison by the family courts, which happens in complete privacy and secrecy.”
Surely those who still deny these facts cannot believe she was lying to Parliament! How can imprisonment with no public process be justice?
3: Extract from The Times, Aug 23 2007: “Emotional abuse” has no strict definition in British law. Yet it now accounts for an astounding 21 per cent of all children registered as needing protection, up from 14 per cent in 1997. Last year 6,700 children were put on the child protection register for emotional abuse, compared with only 2,600 for sexual abuse and 5,100 for physical abuse.
How can taking newborn babies for “risk of emotional abuse” and subsequent adoption by strangers possibly be justified when the effect is to punish parents and abuse their babies not for anything they have done but for something that some hired prophet thinks they might perhaps do in the future. How can this be justice?
4: Any burglar facing a prison sentence of 6 months or more can demand a hearing before a jury so how can it be right or just that parents who risk losing their children for life to “forced adoption” are denied this option. Juries consider complicated medical evidence in cases such as murder, and compensation for injuries, also complicated tax laws in cases of fraud, and insider dealing. The simple decision whether a mother accused of risk of emotional abuse should keep her newborn baby or not would I think we must all agree be more likely to favour the mother if considered by a jury but records show that such cases nearly always favour the social services if decided by a judge. That is probably why juries are banned from the family courts but allowed to decide libel cases in other civil courts! To take a newborn baby from its mother and give it away for adoption by strangers is a far far worse punishment for her than any jail sentence as it condemns the mother to a life sentence and the baby to probable death later in life if it should require a kidney or bone marrow transplant or other medical attention in which a birth family member was needed but could not be located! How can this be justice?
The 4 obvious reforms would be:
1: Remove the gag and forced anonymity from parents involved in family court proceedings.
2: Forbid judges in the family courts to imprison any parent without a public hearing.
3: Abolish “risk” as a reason to remove children from a sane parent unless in addition to risk it can be clearly shown and proved that such children have already suffered significant physical harm.
4: Any parents facing the possibility that their children could be removed for long term fostering or adoption without parental consent should have the right to demand that the final decision be made by a jury not a judge.Better still abolish forced adoption altogether!
Re K D  1 AC p.812 letter B Lord Templeman stated; ‘The best person to bring up a child is the natural parent. It matters not whether the parent is wise or foolish, rich or poor, educated or illiterate, provided the child’s moral and physical health are not endangered. Public authorities cannot improve on nature.’
WHAT TO SAY IN COURT:-
Remember when you go to court that your object is to WIN the case and get your children back home with you ! You can only do this if you can show the judge that the children will be safe from harm and will be loved if they are left with you !Don’t waste time and the goodwill of the judge by attacking horrible social workers for your own satisfaction.Even if you could prove the social worker was a murderer and the guardian a child abuser that would not help you to get your children back ! It would just mean that these guilty parties would either be arrested or more likely transferred to another area and replaced by others nearly as bad .
You must concentrate on proving that you are a good parent and that all allegations against you are false if you want to win your kids back instead of losing them like most people do in the family courts; To do this try and establish that you and your spouse/partner(when applicable) ,have no criminal record,no problems with drugs or alcohol,no learning difficulties,no mental problems,no ongoing domestic violence ,and a suitable home where the children can live.This will serve you better than any complaints about social workers or the courts !
Never explain your actions unless forced to do so by direct questions in court.If for example you are asked “did you go to London yesterday?” Reply simply “yes” if that was indeed the case .Never blurt out why you went,when you went,or more importantly what happened when you went as you may by doing this give your enemies fresh information they can use against you. A simple yes,no,I don’t know,I don’t remember,answer most questions and a simple time, date or name can often answer the rest.Explanations usually make you sound worse not better ;so avoid them !Be the opposite in court of what the social workers say you are !If they say you are aggressive act timid ;and if they say you are too shy and withdrawn be a bit aggressive ! If the police ask to interview you about the way you look after your children you have the right to remain silent and I advise you to do so or to say “no comment” in response to their questions.Remember to stress that your children miss you NOT that you miss your children. It is your kid’s needs that must come first NOT your own !
You must ask questions and NEVER make speeches in cross examination.The witnesses will say what they want to say and you should note anything that is not true asking them “what evidence have you for that?Why do you say such a thing when you know it is not true? When did you see me ever harm my children?Can you read the future?If not how can you predict that my children will suffer future harm?
Those are the sort of questions to ask.
MOST IMPORTANT:- If your child (or children) is threatened with adoption, or fostercare always say that the child should be given a chance to live with its loving parents under a supervision order.Remember also that the “SS” are your enemies as once they get to court their object is to WIN (like all who go to court) and they will try every trick in the book to do so including approaching you before the court starts with “friendly advice cleverly designed to make sure you lose and they win ! Take no notice of anything they tell you but by all means listen to their plans !
In court, above all be brief !Your two special words in court when questioned by SS lawyers (or by the SS at case meetings or by therapists,psychologists etc) must be YES and NO.If you are pressed to explain further, do not elaborate or try to explain your answers with more than 9 or 10 words as only things you let slip that can count against you will be noted and anything favourable will be discarded and forgotten !Never think that if you “admit” some small fault that it will make your story more credible.It will not ,it will simply help the SS to keep your children so admit NOTHING voluntarily;keep firm in the simple and forceful assertion that the children need love and care and you are the best person to give it! Above all stress that THEY are the victims of SS abuse not you,as it is their welfare that is paramount not your’s!
Boy, 5, forced into adoption with gay couple pleads: ‘We want to stay with our gran and grandad’
by Jonathan Brocklebank and Michael Seamark, Daily Mail, 29th Jan 2009
The mother of two children who are being adopted by gay men even though their grandparents want to care for them wept yesterday as she told of her final meeting with her son and daughter.
‘I told them, “Listen, Mummy is not going to see you for a while”,’ she said. Her son replied: ‘But Mummy, I want to come and stay with you and Granny and Grandad.’
The row over the future of the five-year -old boy and four-year-old girl intensified yesterday after the Daily Mail revealed details of the heartbreaking case. Their
grandparents spent two years fighting for the right to care for the children, whose 26-year-old mother is a recovering heroin addict. She desperately wanted her parents to look after them.
But social workers said their ages – he is 59 and she is 46 – and their health – he has angina and she is diabetic – ruled them out.
The mother told the Mail that she had been ordered to say her goodbyes to the children last August during a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. ‘They told me not to cry and be strong so as not to upset the children,’ she said. ‘How can you tell a mother that when she’s never going to see her children again?’
She voiced her anger at the decision to allow her son and daughter to be fostered by a homosexual couple.
‘I did not under any circumstances want my children to be placed with gay men. I wanted them to have a mum and a dad.
‘They can’t be telling me that, within a 60-mile radius, the only people they could find to look after my children were two men.
‘I’ve got nothing against gay people. I’ ve got gay friends, but children need a mum and a dad, not a dad and another dad.
‘I’m ashamed of what I’ve done, especially what I’ve put mum and dad through because they have been brilliant every step of the way.
‘My children deserve so much love and my mum and dad were prepared to give them it, but social work snatched them away.
‘They are a mum and dad in a million and I know they would have brought my children up brilliantly.’
The mother also revealed that social workers have asked her to meet the gay couple under their supervision. But she will not see her children – or be allowed to know where they are going to be living.
The Mail revealed yesterday how the grandparents had fought a relentless battle for the right to look after the youngsters after deciding their daughter was unfit to do so.
But they were opposed every step of the way by Edinburgh’s social work department, which believed they should go to an adoptive family.
When the grandparents eventually caved in to what they describe as ‘bully tactics’ by the social workers, the department arranged for the children to be adopted by a gay couple in the Edinburgh area. They had already decided that, whatever the outcome of the battle, the children should not see their mother owing to her unstable lifestyle and history of offences.
Recalling her final, 90-minute meeting with her children, the mother said: ‘I was told that this would be the last time. They asked me to pick a place to take them and I decided on the zoo. The social worker was with me and kept saying to me I would have to tell them I was not going to see them any more and that I had to stay strong for their sakes.
‘At one point she said that my son was the spitting image of my mum and my daughter looked like her grandad. What kind of thing is that to say at a moment like that, when I’m about to tell them I won’t see them again?
‘I told them that I loved them and I would write them lots of letters and cards and that they would be going to a new house soon.
‘I got really upset and had to keep turning away so that they didn’t see me crying. The social worker said, “Just leave it there”. Ten minutes later, that was it.’
But the mother still had to help put the children in the social worker’s car. ‘My son grabbed me tightly on the leg and and would not let me go. It was just absolutely devastating.’
She said that the heartrending last meeting had happened while her parents were still fighting for full parental rights for the brother and sister, who have been staying with foster parents for the last two years pending a decision on their future.
Her parents’ last meeting with the children came two months later in October. By then, under mounting pressure from the social work department and concerned about months or years of further disruption to their lives, they had taken the agonising decision to withdraw from the legal fight.
The grandfather, a farm worker, and his wife say the social work department are effectively blackmailing them by telling them they will not see the children again unless they give the new adoptive arrangements their blessing.
Although the family desperately want to reverse the adoption procedure they do not now know how they can. Their previous solicitor has moved to a new job and would
be unable to represent them in her current role. They would also need to reapply for legal aid before taking any action – and time is running out.
The children have already had several meetings with the men who are soon to become their full-time fathers. They are understood to be seeing them for a few hours daily and have recently visited their home. The men are giving them a bedroom each – and the girl’s has been decked out with a ‘princess’ bedspread. The children have also been shown the wellington boots waiting for them at the back door when they want to play outside.
Under the adoption procedure, the children will see more and more of the gay couple, spending occasional nights in their home, until they move in permanently. The social work department will remain in contact with the new parents for the first year of adoption – then, providing there are no serious problems, contact will cease.
Thereafter the only official channel the children’s natural family will have for making contact with them would be through an adoption agency. The mother said: ‘The
social worker told me the kids are getting on really well with them. My daughter had apparently said to the social worker, “Come up and see my princess bed”. I just feel totally devastated.
Now they want me to meet the men. Social work phoned me to ask how I was feeling now about them being adopted by a gay couple and if I had calmed down.
‘They told me that out of the couples they had on their books they were the ones who were able to cater for their needs best. I find that very hard to believe. I’ll have to say
that to them when I meet them because it’s how I feel, but I don’t want the whole thing to become an argument. I will have lots of questions to ask them.’
Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, convener for education, children and families at Edinburgh City Council, said: ‘I have been assured that the professional view is that
the adoptive couple will provide a safe, secure and loving environment for these children.
‘These are always very complex cases but I think it is important to say that the grandparents have been fully involved in discussions about this case over a period of
Social services Stasi should hang their heads in shame
by Amanda Platell, Daily Mail 29th Jan 2009
Should proof ever be needed of the scandalous social engineering now so casually carried out by our state, it comes in the case of the loving grandparents of two small children who desperately sought to adopt them but saw them instead placed with a gay couple.
The decision was made to refuse the grandparents the right to raise their own blood relatives and instead give them away to two gay men ‘in accordance with who can best meet their needs’, according to the social services jargon.
But how can two strangers – gay or straight – best meet the needs of two children abandoned by a drug- addict mother for whom the only constants in their short, difficult lives have been their loving grandparents?
We don’t even know what the reasoning behind this perverse decision was, because it was taken in secret, behind the closed doors of a children’s court. Those who took part will not be held accountable and we are unable even to identify their victims.
This decision is one of particular cruelty. The decision itself is bad enough, but the grandparents’ description of how they were treated give us a chilling insight into the Stasi-like approach of modern social services.
They were told that if they so much as objected to the adoption of the children by the gay couple then they would never be allowed to see the children again.
‘You can either accept it,’ the grandparents were told by social workers, ‘and there’s a chance you’ll see the children twice a year, or you can take that stance and never see them again.’ The Stalinist secret police couldn’t have put it better.
Further, the grandparents are not allowed even to know where the children will live, what the gay couple’s circumstances are and what kind of a home they will provide for the children. Equally astonishingly, it emerges the youngsters were not given to a gay couple for want of other alternatives: indeed there were several other heterosexual couples desperate and deemed suitable to adopt the children.
But the social workers and the courts opted for the gay men.
As the grandfather in this case says: ‘The mother is the cornerstone of any family and the most important person for a young child.’ That’s hard to argue with. His little granddaughter will no doubt have lots of female role models, gay- speak for women friends, but it’s not the same.
A little girl already wary of men, no doubt because in her young life she’s witnessed her addict mother being ritually abused by them, will have to turn to one of them one day, when she gets her periods, when she needs her first bra. It’s hard enough asking your own mother such things, let alone a gay man.
The only reason given for denying the grandparents the right to adopt their own daughter’s children is worries about their age and their health. The 59-year-old grandfather is a farm worker and has angina, his wife, just 46, is being treated for diabetes.
Plenty of people lead normal lives with diabetes – and angina.
And how outrageous to say a woman of 46 is too old to be a mother – particularly when it emerges she is still bringing up children of her own. Who’d have dared to suggest that Cherie Blair was too old – or to suggest it to the countless women who have healthy children in their forties?
When did the State decide to endorse such monstrously cruel social engineering? When did it decide to fly in the face of overwhelming evidence that children’s lives are best when they are raised by a mother and father living together – preferably married?
It appears that social services, despite all the evidence to the contrary, still believe that all relationships are equal when it comes to raising children. Indeed, in this case they seem to have decided that a gay relationship is preferable to a couple of opposite sex.
This is simply not true. They are not equal when it comes to the things children need most – commitment and stability. Yet is is regarded as heretical even to state the facts: which are that marriages last longer than cohabiting heterosexual relationships and they both last longer than gay relationships.
Those are the cold, bare truths. It is too soon to know the statistics on same-sex marriages as there has not been enough time to assess the trends and many same sex couples enjoy enduring and truly fulfilling relationships.
But if commitment and stability matter most to children’s happiness and success, the least suitable place for them to be raised is by a gay couple. That’s not homophobia, that’s not bigotry, that’s a fact – unpalatable as it might be to the Left consensus.
When you read of such shocking decisions, you can only wonder how any sane judge could put two small children with two men. Are they trying to meet some target they have been set for placing children for adoption with gay couples? Who knows, because shamefully all of this process is conducted in secret.
It also reflects how out of touch the state and the law is now, not just with the traditional family, but with the role of grandparents. Again and again we hear stories of grandparents cut out of their grandchildren’s lives after divorce or death and having no recourse to the law.
Grandparents have been written out of the modern liberal family narrative at a time, in reality, when they have never been more needed or more central to the revival of the extended family.
They help out with child care, work around the house, ferry children to after-school classes and even assist with finances.
But against all the evidence social services choose to take two small children away from their natural family and give them up for adoption – to a gay couple.
It beggars belief and seems guaranteed to do only one thing: to give those innocent children the poorest possible start to their lives, the slimmest chance of happiness and the greatest likelihood of anger, bewilderment and failure.
Those who made this decision should hang their heads in shame.
My comments on the recent House of Lords debate concerning identification of sperm or egg donors are as follows:
All the noble Lords and Ladies seem preoccupied with children conceived by sperm donors or egg donors and the rare possibility of siblings adopted by different families meeting by chance at a later date and marrying!
They completely ignore the most flagrant injustices of all ,those thousands of babies and young children forcibly adopted against the will of parents who love them and want to keep them.These babies and young children are then issued with new fake birth certificates by a conniving and deceitful State!
This is how they “work” it!
“UK Certificates ” offers a secure online ordering service for official General Register Office issued adoption certificates for England & Wales.
What Information will I receive?
An adoption certificate is a replacement birth certificate but in an adopted person’s new name. It is used by an adopted person for all legal and purposes in place of their original birth certificate. The main difference between the two documents is the addition of court particulars on an adoption certificate.
We will provide an officially certified full version of an original adoption certificate for any event in England & Wales between 1927-present.
We can provide a short version if you prefer, which contains no reference to the fact of adoption.
Your “fake birth certificate” is ready!
And now for the “experts”!
So called “experts” in the secret family courts make crystal ball type predictions of “risk of future emotional harm” or “risk of neglect”. Few families can defend themselves against future “predictions” so compliant family court judges almost inevitably “go along” with social service requests that the children be placed for adoption with strangers!Even when very rarely, parents are cleared by the courts, once the adoptions have been rushed through they are forbidden to know where their children are or to have any contact with them whether the children want it or not!
A parliamentary question revealed that more than 200 parents a year are secretly jailed for daring to reveal details of those who accused them in court or for contacting their own offspring contrary to a court order. Parents are often forbidden from knowing whether their offspring are alive or dead, and if the latter they usually find out a very long time after the deaths occured.
Children are all too often split up and adopted by different families. This must be contrary to their human rights as all too often they are forbidden to contact their siblings and may not even know of their existence. If many years later a child needs a replacement kidney or bone marrow transplant the birth family records are rarely revealed and very often declared “lost”. So the unfortunate child whose needs are supposed to be “paramount” is in fact callously left to die for want of a family donor!
‘You can’t see your son – but can he have one of your organs?’ How social workers left one man with a terrible moral dilemma
By Alison Smith Squire, Daily Mail, 3rd November 2008
The letter from Hampshire Social Services was as brief as it was bewildering. ‘Please ring me on the above number,’ it said. ‘I have some information that might be of interest to you.’ This was quite an understatement, as Michael Shergold soon found.
A quietly spoken father of three, he finds that his life rarely gets more exciting than his weekly game of golf. But when he called the social workers as requested, he was confronted with a series of astonishing facts.
They said he was the father of another child – a five-year-old son from a previous, short-lived relationship. A former girlfriend, unable to cope with the demands of motherhood, had handed the boy over to foster parents.
Bewildered: Michael and Alex Shergold with his sons Peter and David last week. ‘Our family seems incomplete’, says Michael
A meeting with this new-found son was out of the question, he was told, let alone any sort of relationship. He was also informed that the boy was to be formally adopted and that the council was ringing merely to let him know.
His shock slowly turned to anger and then determination. Hurt to have been kept in the dark for so many years, Michael still believed he was responsible for the child – whom we shall call Andrew – and launched a legal fight to secure custody.
But there were extraordinary surprises in store for Michael and his wife, Alex. Hampshire Social Services wanted more than just his acquiescence.
Andrew, it emerged, had been diagnosed with a severe problem in one of his organs. For legal reasons, it is not possible to be more specific.
But the boy stands little chance of living beyond his teenage years without a transplant – from a blood relative if at all possible. The most suitable blood relative, it was explained by social workers, was Michael himself.
In a disturbing saga, this was perhaps the most unpleasant twist of all. It brought him to a damning conclusion – that Hampshire Social Services had made him aware of Andrew’s existence only to provide the child with a body part.
Michael tried to adopt his son but last year he lost the battle and was refused even occasional visiting rights, which were deemed too upsetting for the boy.
Like almost all cases that go through the family court system, the details were not made public.
Michael now has to decide whether to risk his own life with a dangerous operation for a son who, as things stand, he will never see.
‘Words cannot express the anger and bewilderment I feel,’ says Michael. ‘I simply cannot believe how Social Services can be so cruel.
To track me down, tell me I have a son I knew nothing about, throw my life into chaos and then tell me I will never be able to see him is nothing short of disgraceful.’
The Mail on Sunday asked Hampshire County Council two months ago about its handling of the case.
It responded by obtaining a legal injunction to prevent us printing Michael’s story, claiming that to do so might damage his son’s chances of settling down.
Determined that Michael should get the chance to speak, The Mail on Sunday has pursued a lengthy legal fight to lift the injunction, and last week we succeeded. Today, in this exclusive interview, Michael is able to talk about his ordeal for the first time.
‘To know my son has been adopted against my consent by strangers rather than his blood family, where he would have had a loving home, has been bad enough,’ he says.
‘But to know that, if I don’t donate an organ, my son might not live long enough to know me has put me in the worst situation of all. I’m in a dilemma about what to do. I feel I am being asked to make a decision in a vacuum. If I could just see my son and maintain some sort of contact, I would have absolutely no hesitation about doing it.’
Michael, 55, was speaking at his spacious three-bedroom house in Southampton, the city where he was born and where he has spent his whole life. Sitting by his side is Alex. Originally from Los Angeles, she moved to Britain in 2002, the same year the couple married, and she became a pastor with a Pentecostal church in Portsmouth.
This is not the first time that Michael, who works as a school caretaker, has suffered domestic drama. His 16-year marriage ended in 1996 when he discovered that his first wife had been unfaithful. He was given custody of the children – Peter, now 17, David, 20, and Susanna, 30 – and brought them up single-handedly.
As Alex serves home-made carrot cake and their cuckoo clock announces the time, the Shergolds seem every inch a loving family. Their attitude to their predicament is one of quiet anger and grief rather than unfettered fury.
‘We have a wonderful, close-knit family,’ says Michael. Peter and David, who still live at home, flit in and out as the couple talk. Susanna lives close by.
It is a particular irony that Michael has been employed by Hampshire County Council for the past 35 years, overseeing the repairs, cleaning and maintenance of a local primary school. As it happens, the job requires him to undergo criminal record checks every year and neither he nor Alex, who was also checked, has any convictions.
The letter that shattered Michael’s life came in January 2007, but the origins of the trauma lay five years earlier, when he had embarked on a difficult relationship with a much younger woman.
Despite their age difference, things went well at first after they were introduced through friends. ‘She was the first woman I’d dated since splitting up with my wife,’ he recalls.
‘At first I didn’t think of having a relationship with her because, at 29, she was much younger than me. But she was bubbly and got on well with the boys. It was only after a few months that I realised she was unstable and had a drink problem. She would swear in front of the boys and I ended the relationship.’
He had no inkling that she might be pregnant and that, he thought, was the end of the matter. Indeed, it was not long before he met Alex through a friendship website.
Like Michael, she has three grown-up children and, again like Michael, she had spent years bringing them up single-handedly. She worked for US military intelligence, where she studied for degrees in psychology and theology.
Michael and Alex married a few months after meeting and settled down to a domestic routine, enjoying rounds of golf, games of bowls, trips to the cinema and regular visits to church.
That all changed with Hampshire County Council’s bombshell. ‘It was a terrible shock,’ recalls Alex. ‘Michael was told by a social worker that his child had been put into foster care.’
At 53, Alex thought she had said goodbye to bringing up a child, but she was as determined as her husband to welcome Andrew into the family. ‘That was where he belonged,’ she says. ‘Not with strangers to whom he is not related.’
The couple, whose children had also come round to the idea of embracing a new sibling into their lives, visited Hampshire Social Services’ headquarters in Winchester, where they were shown Andrew’s picture.
With hindsight, they were naively optimistic. Immediately infatuated, they dug out Scalextric and Lego sets, embarked on plans to turn their loft into a fourth bedroom and even researched school places.
‘He looked just like his daddy,’ says Alex. ‘We were determined that although he’d had such a dreadful start in life, we’d soon make it all up to him.’
When, two weeks later, DNA tests confirmed that Michael was the father, the couple instructed a solicitor to stop the adoption order and begin their own custody proceedings. ‘I thought that once Social Services saw our happy family home and how much we wanted Andrew to be a part of it, it would only be a matter of weeks before he would come to live with us,’ says Michael.
But then came the breathtaking twist. ‘At our second meeting with Social Services a social worker told us, “Andrew needs an organ transplant and, as you know, an organ is best donated from a blood relative.” ’
The couple were left in no doubt that Michael’s co-operation was essential if his son was to stand a good chance of surviving. His mother, they learned, had initially agreed to be the donor but changed her mind on the grounds that it would hinder her chances of having another child.
Social workers told Michael that he, and his children, were the ‘next choice’. He admits: ‘I was taken aback but, of course, desperately worried and keen to help my son.’
Meanwhile, two independent social workers were assigned to assess Michael and Alex as potential parents for Andrew. It was, by all accounts, a rigorous process. ‘I was surprised to be interrogated by a total stranger,’ he says, ‘but I hid nothing.’ Yet, over a
dozen visits, the questions became increasingly invasive.
‘The worst questions were about our sex life,’ he says. ‘They kept asking how “healthy” it was – we took it to mean how many times a week we made love – and if we indulged in ‘normal’ sex.’
Alex, who admits she didn’t take kindly to the intrusion, adds: ‘I felt that side of our marriage was private and we didn’t see how it could be relevant. In the end I replied, “None of your business and I am not happy to elaborate further.” Perhaps it is because I’m an American and a Christian, but I found the Social Services’ attitude difficult to understand.’
Meanwhile, the truth about Andrew’s situation gradually emerged. Finding a permanent home was not easy, however. The boy’s illness demanded a special diet and regular hospital visits.
After his rejection by one set of foster parents, his photograph had to be posted on an adoption website before finally, in 2006, the couple who were eventually to adopt him came forward. ‘I couldn’t believe this could have happened to my son,’ says Michael. ‘I found it incredible.
‘Social Services told me in our first phone conversation that Andrew’s mother had named me as the father. Yet, as far as I can see, they made no effort to find me. I have lived in the same house for 11 years. I am on the electoral roll and in the phone book.’
Hampshire County Council says it did its best to locate Michael. ‘A care order would not have been made had the court not been satisfied that every effort had been made to locate Mr Shergold,’ says council leader Ken Thornber. ‘We have apologised to Mr Shergold for our failure to find him during care proceedings.
‘All circumstances leading to a child coming into care involve a degree of human tragedy and require very finely balanced judgments to be made. The needs of the child must always be the paramount concern and the judge did conclude that the local authority did its best, when it discovered the difficult situation that had arisen, to communicate with Mr Shergold and establish what contribution he could make to his son’s life.’
Michael believes he was eventually traced only because doctors said Andrew would need a transplant. Indeed, he now believes that even his attempt to adopt Andrew was something of a charade. ‘We began to feel that Social Services had let us go through the custody proceedings for nothing – that the adoption was arranged and they had no intention of placing Andrew with us,’ he says.
The Shergolds were refused custody at Portsmouth County Court last November. The judge admitted the background had been ‘difficult and somewhat unsatisfactory’ but ruled that moving Andrew in with the Shergolds would cause him unnecessary ‘difficulty and disruption’.
Just two days later – suspiciously quickly in the view of the Shergolds – he had been formally adopted, leaving the Shergolds in the cold.
Even their request that Michael should be able to see him for visits was turned down on the grounds that it would be ‘unsettling for Andrew’, who was ‘bonding’ with his new family. Yet Andrew’s mother, who was judged unfit, is still allowed to visit Andrew twice a year.
Meanwhile, Hampshire Social Services are still pressing Michael to donate an organ. Even if Michael decides to do so, it will make no difference. ‘I was stunned,’ he says. ‘I asked them what would happen if I gave him a part of my body. They said that even then, I wouldn’t be allowed contact. Andrew would not even be told who donated the organ as this would be ‘too unsettling’.’
The dilemma has had damaging repercussions for the Shergold family. Michael says his children are wounded and that even his marriage has suffered.
The criticism they endured during the adoption process hardly helped. ‘Social Services accused me of being unco-operative,’ explains Alex. ‘They made it plain they didn’t like me. It seems being American was a problem and so too, I think, was the colour of my skin.’ Alex is mixed-race.
One official report on the couple expressed concern that Andrew would be brought up in a dual-ethnicity family. ‘They made out I was a foreigner who had no idea how to look after a child,’ she says. ‘I’ve raised three children. Despite the fact that they live in the States, we are incredibly close. I also think of Michael’s sons as my own.
‘I began to think that if I wasn’t around, Michael would have got custody. One night I suggested to Michael and his sons that I leave. Thankfully, they wouldn’t hear of it. But the stress has been unbearable. Undoubtedly, Michael and I would have split up if our relationship wasn’t so strong.’
And Michael adds: ‘Social Services have never given me a concrete reason why my wife and I are not suitable. That is because there is no reason.’
The couple did not qualify for legal aid and have spent £4,000 on solicitors. Now they have been told there is no further action they can take.
Overshadowing everything, however, is the decision to donate an organ. ‘If I don’t donate an organ, Andrew might not live long enough to meet me and the guilt would probably be too much to live with,’ he says. ‘If I do, it will be as if I am donating to someone who I don’t really know exists.
‘How can social workers sleep at night, knowing they have separated a boy from his real father, a good father who has already successfully raised three children? They won’t even pass on birthday cards.
‘They have stormed in and left us to pick up the pieces. I cannot believe that in this country someone can stop you seeing your own child when you have done nothing wrong.
‘Our family seems incomplete. If I see a boy in the street, I wonder if it’s him. I dream of him meeting his brothers and sister and joining us when we have big birthday celebrations. My only hope is that he can choose to trace me when he is 18.
‘But what if he doesn’t live that long or is told lies about me – that his father is dead or didn’t want him? It breaks my heart to think we may never meet.
No complicated Bill is needed to remedy this situation. Quite simply every child should have access to their original and truthful birth certificate clearly identifying parents where known whether they be natural or donors.
The State should outlaw the production of deliberately fake birth certificates and should tell all children the truth about their parentage when asked. Forced and closed adoptions are both recent and equally undesirable innovations.They serve to demonstrate once again that parents should never be deprived of knowing where their children are, or worse still be jailed for trying to find out!
Mother ‘too stupid’ to keep child
The Sunday Times May 31, 2009 Daniel Foggo
A MOTHER is taking her fight to the European Court of Human Rights after she was forbidden from seeing her three-year-old daughter because she is not “clever enough” to look after her.
The woman, who for legal reasons can be identified only by her first name, Rachel, has been told by a family court that her daughter will be placed with adoptive parents within the next three months, and she will then be barred from further contact.
The adoption is going ahead despite the declaration by a psychiatrist that Rachel, 24, has no learning difficulties and “good literacy and numeracy and [that] her general intellectual abilities appear to be within the normal range”.
Her daughter, K, was born prematurely and officials felt Rachel lacked the intelligence to cope with her complex medical needs Baby K was released from hospital into care and is currently with a foster family. Her health has now improved to the point where she needs little or no day-to-day medical care.
Rachel said last night: “I have been totally let down by the system. All I want is to care for my daughter but the council and the court are determined not to let me.
“The court here has now ordered that my contact with my daughter must be reduced from every fortnight until in three months’ time it will all be over and I will never see her again.”
Rachel has now lodged an appeal with the European Court of Human Rights, which has the power to stop the child being given to another family. She has also applied for a judicial review of the adoption order.
Her attempts to fight Nottingham city council’s adoption of her daughter have been hampered because her case was taken over by the official solicitor,* the government-funded lawyer who acts for those unable to represent themselves. He was brought in to represent Rachel’s interests because she was judged to be intellectually incapable of instructing her own solicitor. He declined to contest the council’s adoption application, despite her wish to do so.
After the psychiatrist’s assessment of Rachel, the court has now acknowledged that she does have the mental capacity to keep up with the legal aspects of her situation. It has nevertheless refused her attempts to halt the adoption process.
John Hemming, Liberal Democrat MP for Birmingham Yardley, who is campaigning on Rachel’s behalf, said: “The way Rachel has been treated is appalling. She has been swept aside by a system that seems more interested in securing a child for adoption than preserving a natural family unit.”
*BEWARE the “Official Solicitor” ! If you get too upset or too excited the judge may decide you are not capable of instructing a solicitor or representing yourself and will appoint this parasite to represent you instead.He is by law forbidden to put on a case for you as his job is simply to agree with the “SS” ,to refuse to let you speak, and ensure that you lose your precious children without being allowed to say a word !! Even if you stay calm but still show hostility the judge may appoint a psychologist recommended by the “SS” to give you an IQ test and if through nerves etc your results are poor once again the Official Solicitor will be appointed to “represent” you. Alas,thanks to him, you will be gagged, and your children will be lost to forced adoption .588 cases like this have taken place in the family courts since Jan 2006 until now (Sunday Times June 14 2009)
Judges condemn ‘foul play’ on adoptions
Rosemary Bennett, The Times 2/5/2008
Two senior judges have strongly criticised a local authority that forced through the adoption of a baby girl against the wishes of her father.
Lord Justice Thorpe accused East Sussex County Council of being determined to have the child adopted “by means more foul than fair”, while Lord Justice Wall accused it of “disgraceful” conduct.
He ordered that copies of their ruling, handed down at the Court of Appeal yesterday, be sent to all family judges and every adoption agency in the country as a warning that the wishes of both parents had to be taken into account in care proceedings.
The case involved a child, known as J- L, who was adopted earlier this year. She was born in November 2006 after a casual relationship between her mother and father, known as MC. He only knew that he had a daughter after the local authority contacted him last summer to tell him care proceedings were under way and asked for a DNA test.
The mother had been living with her baby daughter in a special unit, but had abandoned the baby there. The local authority recommended adoption and placed J-L with foster parents in the meantime.
The father said that he was unable to take part in the initial care proceedings because he was in hospital after a heart attack. When he discovered that adoption plans were well advanced, he went to solicitors who immediately contacted the local authority to try to stop them. However, his intervention through a solicitor’s letter was ignored and never recorded formally at subsequent meetings. The local authority then allowed the adoptive parents to begin to look after the baby girl the day before the father’s legal case went to court.
A further attempt by him to stop the adoption was blocked by the council using the 2002 Adoption and Children Act. Yesterday’s ruling was in response to the father’s appeal on grounds of a breach to his human rights.
“The council’s failure to answer that letter and subsequent placement on the eve of the hearing give rise to the clearest inference that the council was out to gain its ends by means more foul than fair,” Lord Justice Wall said.
“There are many who assert that councils have a secret agenda to establish a high score of children that they have placed for adoption. When such suspicions are rife, a history such as this only serves to fuel public distrust in the good faith of public authority.”
People still find it hard to believe that in the UK secret family courts are taking thousands of children annually from parents that have never been accused or charged, let alone convicted of any CRIME. Yet that is exactly what is happening right now! These children are split up permanently from their grief stricken families for the rest of their lives. They are then given up for adoption to anonymous strangers so that government adoption targets can be met. Local authorities can then be rewarded by massive extra funding from central government under public service agreements. Just look at this answer to a parliamentary question by the Secretary of State!
Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families which local authorities have received payments from central Government for achieving adoption target levels; and how much each received in each of the last three years. 
John Healey: I have been asked to reply. 30 local authorities have been rewarded for successfully achieving adoption targets in their local public service agreements (LPSA). The better outcomes and amount of ‘performance reward grant’ (PRG) each has received over the three years 2004/05 to 2006/07 in relation to their performance in these targets is set out in the following table. In addition, 13 local authorities did not achieve the adoption targets in their local PSA and hence received no PRG for this target. One local authority is still to make a claim
Local PSAs—which are negotiated between local authorities and central Government policy departments, facilitated by the DCLG—have helped to incentivise local authorities and partners to provide better public services to their citizens around priorities for improvement locally. Evaluation shows they have been successful in doing this, with real benefits in improved outcomes for local people and communities.
3 Sep 2007 : Column 1703W
Local PSA adoption and placement targets: payments made to date under local PSAs
Local authority Amount of ‘reward grant’ paid (£)
Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council 210,173.00
Blackburn with Darwen 307,367.00
Bristol City Council 307,512.00
Buckinghamshire County Council 526,958.00
Bromley (LB) 499,440.00
Camden (LB) 318,916.50
Cheshire County Council 685,134.00
Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council 578,333.00
Durham County Council 502,675.00
Enfield (LB) 244,963.00
Essex County Council 2,469,200.00
Gloucestershire County Council 612,209.00
Greenwich (LB) 580,996.00
Halton Borough Council 153,938.00
Hounslow (LB) 165,019.00
Kensington and Chelsea (LB) 339,117.00
Kent County Council 2,156,583.00
Lewisham (LB) 602,854.00
Liverpool City Council 347,404.00
Luton Borough Council 400,027.00
Manchester City Council 984,877.00
Merton Borough Council 358,708.00
Northamptonshire County Council 1,119,115.00
Sheffield City Council 1,025,000.00
Southwark (LB) 435,242.00
St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council 83,845.00
Wandsworth (LB) 387,627.00
Warwickshire County Council 231,061.00
York City Council 203,620.00
Thanks in some small measure to this site and all the others who have campaigned adoption targets with financial rewards paid to Councils by central government were abandoned on April 1st 2008.The original insruction from the then Prime Minister Tony Blair to increase adoptions by 40% still remains in force however and social workers all know the way to gain “brownie points” with their bosses is to achieve as many adoptions as possible !
Adoption target met
by Hammersmith and Fulham Press Office 10/03/2008
101 children adopted in the last three years
More than 100 children have been adopted in the borough during the last three years, after the Council met a target from central Government target that many experts thought would be unachievable.
The Government target, known as a Local Public Service Agreement (LPSA), challenged the Council to successfully achieve 101 adoptions or secure placements during the last three year period in return for £500,000 of funding.
At the time, the Council felt that the bar was set too high, as in the previous three year period only 71 children had been adopted – a figure that was then considered to be very high.
However, H&F’s adoption team swung into action and pulled out all of the stops in order to meet the target.
A TRUE STORY
T’was the night before Christmas,the four children slept
The “ss” were coming,their mother just wept!
Five burly policemen soon broke down the door,
We’ve come for your children,we must take all four!
The “ss” have told you “keep perfectly calm”
Your kids are at risk of emotional harm!
So struggling and kicking and screaming with fright
Four little children went off in the night!
The mother sat weeping, her children were lost
Adoption the target, they don’t count the cost!
They snatch newborn babies with never a smile,
Each one an achievement to add to the file…………….