Oct 14 2012 8:41AM
This blog entry details the process of making an adoption application, which in our case involved yet more time spent waitng!!!!!
In true British tradition, we spent the best part of a month waiting for the social workers to provide Floreana’s court papers, that we required to submit our ‘application for an adoption order: Section 46 Adoption and Children Act 2002’ paperwork to the county court. Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the court papers were forwarded to us. Hooray! We were one step nearer formally adopting Floreana. However, our hopes were rapidly dashed… Unfortunately the adoption application could not be saved on line but had to be filled in and printed during one sitting. Eek!!! With Floreana constantly at my side wanting to work on my computer it was impossible to type the form in one session. Another day passed! I decided it would be quicker to print the document and complete it by hand - An easy task you might think????? No you guessed it! I couldn’t print the application form. Due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to open the form online and therefore unable to print it. I was beginning to despair. However, after a further twenty four hours waiting for the internet to work I was finally able to access the website <http://www.adoption.org.uk/information/step_parent/a58.pdf> and print the PDF form.
The adoption application form stretched into pages and required so much information: our details, the details of the birth family, the local authority personnel’s details and accompanying documentation regarding other linked legal proceedings. Oh no!!! My heart sank! We did not have any information regarding other court proceedings involving Floreana’s siblings! Once again I had to contact the social workers for more information. Not surprisingly this caused another delay in the submission process. It took another week before I was able to complete the form, photocopy it and deliver it to court together with the £160 fee. I felt absolute relief and felt my shoulders relax for the first time in months. Adoption is definitely a stressful process. The counter lady was lovely and informed me that we would be notified of a directions hearing date and that I would hear about this within ten days. Guess what??? Fourteen days later I had not heard a thing. So I rang the court only to be told that for security reasons only one person deals with adoptions, the papers are locked away, no one could help me and that I would have to wait another week for her return. I am still waiting!
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the court process the directions hearing is usually attended by the birth family and the local authority representatives where both put their cases. The judge makes directions and sets a timetable for all parties to submit further information as required. The birth family can lodge an appeal and in theory the process can be delayed to enable the appellants to be assessed and for Floreana to be returned to them. The most distressing bit is that we are not invited to this hearing. Hopefully the birth family will not be allowed a further right to appeal as they have done so in the past and have been refused the right to parent Floreana. Only time will tell. But, the directions hearing should be about four weeks after the submission of our paperwork to court. Here’s hoping the hearing takes place in two weeks! At the directions hearing the Judge also sets the date of the final hearing. It is at this hearing, that with luck, we will be able to formally adopt Floreana.
With best wishes