Two young children are to be adopted by a gay couple, despite the protests of their grandparents.
The devastated grandparents were told they would never see the youngsters again unless they dropped their opposition.
The couple, who cannot be named, wanted to give the five-year-old boy and his four-year-old sister a loving home themselves. But they were ruled to be too old - at 46 and 59.
For two years they fought for their rights to care for the children, whose 26-year- old mother is a recovering heroin addict.
They agreed to an adoption only after they faced being financially crippled by legal bills.
The final blow came when they were told the children were going to a gay household, even though several heterosexual couples wanted them.
When the grandfather protested, he was told: 'You can either accept it, 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 man said last night: ' It breaks my heart to think that our grandchildren are being forced to grow up in an environment without a mother figure. We are not prejudiced, but I defy anyone to explain to us how this can be in their best interests.'
Social workers themselves have admitted that the little girl is 'more wary' of men than women."
"Some local authorities forbid adoption by smokers and obese people but actively support gay fostering and adoption - even though research shows overwhelmingly that children are best brought up by a mother and father. "
"A spokesman for the Roman Catholic church condemned the council's decision last night, warning that the children's welfare could be jeopardised."
Boy, 5, forced into adoption with gay couple pleads: 'We want to stay with our gran and grandad'
By Jonathan Brocklebank and Michael Seamark
Last updated at 4:44 PM on 29th January 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’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 [ This would NOT be allowed in US or Canada ] 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. [Again, this would not be allowed in the US and Canada] 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 time.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1131200/Boy-5-forced-adoption-gay-couple-pleads-We-want-stay-gran-grandad.html#ixzz1ePHorhgu
No one said Cherie Blair was too old to be a mother at 45...Do social workers have grandparents?
By Peter Harris
Last updated at 10:14 AM on 29th January 2009
Do social workers have grandparents? One is bound to ask this question when you hear of cases like that of this Edinburgh couple aged 46 and 59 respectively.
In the minds of some social workers there seems to be a real prejudice about age which makes them turn to foster care and adoption, rather than care by grandparents.
After all, Cherie Blair was 45 when she had her fourth child, and Tony Blair was 47 - did anyone seriously suggest that they were too old to be parents?
What has happened to the Edinburgh couple is all too often reflected in some of the 8000 calls that the Grandparents’ Association advice line receives each year.
Distressed grandparents call for support and help, such calls taking 20-25 minutes, as sad stories of grandchildren being 'lost' to care and adoption are related.
Grandparents have no rights, or standing, in respect of grandchildren in England and Wales (they do in Scotland). Frequently they are ignored, or dismissed as potential carers, by social services.
Of course not all grandparents are suitable, or willing, to provide full time care for grandchildren. But many are - and will undergo financial loss by giving up work - when asked to take on the responsibility of providing a loving and secure family home for a grandchild.
The professionals who are concerned with children in crisis have to take difficult and complex decisions in a highly emotional field. Such decisions will echo down the years for a child, often well into adulthood.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1130878/PETER-HARRIS-No-said-Cherie-Blair-old-mother-45--Do-social-workers-grandparents.html#ixzz1ePWgahKa
Edinburgh Social Services Remove Young Children From Grandparents and Arrange Adoption by Gay Couple
'You'll never see your grandchildren again': Social worker's warning to couple after they spoke out over gay adoption row
By Jonathan Brocklebank and Michael Seamark
Last updated at 9:02 AM on 30th January 2009
A social worker at the centre of the gay adoption row told the children's grandparents they will never see them again because of the publicity surrounding the case.
Heather Rush telephoned the youngsters' 26-year-old mother after the family publicised their grievances with her council department.
Mrs Rush allegedly said the price they will pay for speaking out is complete loss of contact with the five-year-old boy and four-year-old girl.
The children's mother, who had been due to meet the two adoptive fathers under social workers' supervision next week, took the call from Mrs Rush on Wednesday.
The mother, who cannot be identified, said: 'She asked me if I had seen the paper and said "it does not make very good reading".
'I said I didn't think it was right that she was not letting me meet the fathers because of the story going in the paper and that she should speak to my Mum and Dad.
'She said, "No, just pass the message on." She said she didn't want to speak to them but there would be no recommendation for them to see the children twice a year.'
Last week Mrs Rush had told the grandparents they would be allowed to see the boy and girl if they gave the gay adoption arrangements their blessing.
But now the 39-year-old - who has two children herself by different fathers - appears adamant that even if they do accept the arrangements they will not be given access.
The forced adoption of the children by two gay men - and the council's decision to ignore their grandparents' request to care for them - has provoked fierce debate.
An Edinburgh councillor described the call to the vulnerable mother, who is currently taking methadone in an attempt to kick her drug habit, as 'unprofessional, inappropriate and unacceptable'.
Jeremy Balfour, a Conservative, said: 'It is not an acceptable way to treat people. It seems to me to be a case of throwing toys out of the pram.
'I don't think such a call could be motivated by the best interests of the children.'
An Edinburgh council spokesman last night denied that a social worker told the mother her parents would never see the children again.
Gillian Tee, Director of Education, Children and Families, said: 'We have no reason to doubt that the staff who have worked on this case have handled it with anything other than professionalism and sensitivity. We have not received a complaint from the family.'
Social workers gave the young mother just 90 minutes to say goodbye to her two children before they were taken away forever.
The mother was allowed to take her young son and daughter to Edinburgh Zoo before they were separated.
The mother earlier told the Mail: 'They told me not to cry and be strong so as not to upset the children.
'How can you tell a mother that when she's never going to see her children again?'
She added that the children themselves said they wanted to stay with their grandparents. She is unable to care for them as she is a recovering heroin addict.
The boy's father was a schizophrenic who killed himself two months before his son was born. The girl's father is still alive but has had nothing to do with his daughter.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1132053/Youll-grandchildren-Social-workers-warning-couple-spoke-gay-adoption-row.html#ixzz1ePe0Wtuo
Did the children torn from their grandparents to be adopted by the gay men fall prey to a politically correct social services agenda?
By Paul Bracchi
Last updated at 12:23 AM on 31st January 2009
The photograph on the mantelpiece of their grandparents' home outside Edinburgh seems particularly poignant today.
It shows a baby girl in a pretty red dress and her smiling brother enjoying ice-cream in Princes Street gardens in the city centre. Underneath someone has written: ‘You bring so much joy and laughter.’
They say the camera never lies. But this picture does; figuratively, anyway.
For just hours after it was taken, the lives of these youngsters changed for ever and a heartbreaking domestic drama turned into a scandal that is still unravelling and causing untold anguish.
Now scandal may be too strong. So too ‘blackmail’, ‘brutal’ and ‘bullying’.
Yet few who are familiar with the story — or have been caught up in the sometimes harrowing process of adoption themselves — would dispute their sentiment.
For, as many of you will be aware from our reports this week, the children’s mother is a recovering heroin addict.
The father of her five-year-old son was a schizophrenic who hanged himself two months before he was born. The father of her four-year-old daughter disappeared long ago, after making another woman pregnant.
It would be hard to imagine a more tragic or traumatic set of circumstances.
But the one — indeed only — source of stability and support in the lives of these youngsters (we can’t identify them for legal reasons but we shall call them Stewart and Fiona) were their grandparents.
They insist social workers said: ‘Stewart and Fiona’s contact with their grandparents is very positive, and it is a warm and enjoyable environment for them to be in.’
Here, for the first time, we piece together the chain of events that resulted in Stewart and Fiona being removed from that ‘warm and enjoyable environment’ and placed with a gay couple.
When the Mail broke the story on Wednesday there was a public outcry. Religious leaders and family groups were incensed. The Tory group on the Edinburgh city council has called for an inquiry. So how could it have happened?
It is certainly a harrowing journey. The love their grandparents felt for Stewart and Fiona, and they for them, is apparent to anyone who visits their bungalow, where the children were brought up almost from birth.
On the sofa are Noddy and Bunny, the cuddly toys they once played with. One card, penned in glitter, from Stewart says: ‘I love you Grandma’, another, from Fiona, says:
‘Love you Granny.’ Their christenings, first day at nursery, and trips to the beach are chronicled in photo albums.
And, of course, that picture on the mantelpiece. It was taken shortly before Stewart and Fiona saw their grandparents for the final time on October 7 last year.
At about 4.30pm that day they were dropped off at a building in Oxgangs, Edinburgh.
The graffiti-scarred concrete block, of the kind still common in Eastern Europe, is where the social services department is based, and as a metaphor for what was about to happen, these soulless surroundings are apt.
Inside was social worker Heather Rush, 39. Mrs Rush is no more or less to blame than her colleagues. Yet her attitude, you might think, typifies the brutally insensitive, bullying manner in which Stewart and Fiona’s grandparents say the children were treated.
One scene, on the ground-floor corridor of the Oxgangs building, still haunts the family. ‘Excuse me, can I speak to you?’ Stewart, politely asked Mrs Rush moments before the emotional handover.
‘Yes, what is it?’, she replied. Stewart then told her: ‘I don’t want to go. I want to stay with my granny and grandad.’ Stewart’s understandable anxiety was, says his grandfather, met with thinly disguised irritation, if not anger.
‘No, that’s not possible, you can’t stay with them,’ Mrs Rush replied curtly. ‘Now go and get your stuff.’ Instead, Stewart sat down, covered his face with his hands, and cried.
‘I thought the way Stewart was treated was appalling,’ said his tearful grandfather. ‘I told her [Mrs Rush] that she had no right to speak to a child like that. But she ignored me.’
You may wonder why Stewart and his sister had to go through this. After all, didn’t their grandparents provide a ‘warm and enjoyable environment’ for them to grow up in the absence of their mother?
Officially, at least, the couple were told they were too old to look after the children permanently — even though the grandmother is only 46, and her husband 59.
But after pressure from social services and concern about further disruption to the youngsters’ lives, the grandparents took the agonising decision to withdraw from the legal fight to keep the children.
If they knew then what they know now, they would never have done so.
The ‘incident’ in the corridor of the Oxgangs office, they soon discovered, was not an isolated one. Nor, it seems, was the attitude of Mrs Rush.
It was Mrs Rush — who has two children herself by different fathers — who contacted them again. She had some ‘good’ news. They had found a new home for Stewart and Fiona. They were to be placed with a ‘male couple’.
The children’s grandmother burst into tears. Their grandfather was furious.
You might have expected such sensitive information to have been delivered in person. In fact, it was imparted over the phone — with a warning: support the adoption or risk never seeing Stewart and Fiona again.
The family are not homophobic; they have a number of gay friends. But if believing that children are best raised by a mother and father living together constitutes homophobia, most people probably are.
In 2006, the Scottish Parliament approved adoption by gay couples — despite an official consultation that showed nearly 90per cent of Scots were against the move.
The family had not heard the last of Heather Rush. On Wednesday afternoon she was on the phone to Stewart and Fiona’s 26-year-old mother, after the story first appeared in the Mail. ‘Tell your mother, that’s it,’ Mrs Rush snapped. ‘No contact.’
The front-page article, she claimed, would not make ‘good reading’ for Stewart and Fiona when they were older. Not good for them, or not good for Edinburgh social services?
A document the family produced shortly after Mrs Rush phoned on Wednesday made rather better reading. At least for Mrs Rush.
It’s called ‘Having Your Say At Your Review — Young Person’s Report’. A review, the preamble explains, is ‘where changes can be made to your care plan’.
Respondents are encouraged to give their views by ticking a series of boxes. One such form was filled in for Stewart by Mrs Rush on November 28, 2008 — just weeks after he had broken down in the corridor.
Question: I see my social worker, too much, about right, not enough?
Answer: The ‘not enough’ box is ticked. In the space below an adult has added: ‘I’d like to see Heather more.’
Question: Are you happy with the contact you have with your family and friends?
Answer: The tick appears in the box marked ‘yes’.
Question: What decisions would you like made at your review?
Answer: ‘I would like Heather to find me a new family’ is the answer written underneath.
Are we really to believe those answers represented Stewart’s true feelings? Most children of this age are keen to please and will reply in a way they think the adult wants them to.
Listening to children and trying to meet their needs is one thing, politically correct propaganda another.
The family of Stewart and Fiona are in little doubt about which category the reports falls. In one way, the pernicious culture of political correctness is at the heart of this story.
‘This happened because the family is Scottish and working class,’ said a woman who, until recently, was a senior social services manager in the Edinburgh department.
‘Any social worker who, for example, presented the black parents of a black child with the kind of ultimatum that the family of Stewart and Fiona were given, which risked the child losing contact with cultural and family ties, would be sacked.
‘Political correctness is a big issue in local government, especially in social work. I am not aware of any official quota system, say, to ensure a percentage of adopted children go to gay parents.
But if you ask me, could it be happening informally in certain areas that like to be seen as progressive — and that usually means the big urban authorities? Then, yes, I believe it is more than possible.’
Recent figures suggest almost 3,000 drug addicts in Edinburgh have children at home who are at risk of abuse or neglect. In Edinburgh, it seems, drug addicts are thought to make better carers than loving grandparents.
The grandparents in question have seven children of their own. Two of them, aged 15 and 13, are still at school. Their 17-year-old also lives with them, while the rest of their children, who are all older, live away from home. All are making their way in life.
The mother of Stewart and Fiona is their eldest child. For the past six months she has been on a methadone programme to help her kick her longterm heroin addiction.
Over the years, she has suffered domestic abuse in a series of relationships and has been convicted of many offences, including theft and breach of the peace. She is not a bad person, just a troubled one.
‘I’m ashamed of what I’ve done and what I’ve put Mum and Dad through,’ she says.
‘They have been brilliant every step of the way.’ They are not perfect, of course. Nor would they pretend to be. Their bungalow could sometimes be a little chaotic. But it’s a happy home — or it was — and Stewart and Fiona were happy there.
Nine months after Stewart’s birth it became apparent that their mother was in no state to bring up a child (Stewart’s father had already committed suicide).
So her parents brought Stewart up as their own. When Fiona, who has never even met her own father, was born a year later, they took care of her, too.
‘We thought it was our duty as grandparents,’ said their grandmother. Duty has become a forgotten word in Britain today, and one, it seems, on which Edinburgh social services places little value.
Initially, social services appeared concerned to ensure only that the children avoided contact with their unstable mother. But gradually the emphasis changed.
The children, they suggested, should be taken into foster care, while maintaining regular contact with their grandparents. After much soulsearching, the couple agreed.
It was, after all, only temporary. But that was two years ago. The grandparents have no criticism of the foster parents. But Stewart and Fiona missed their own home terribly.
Stewart would ask his foster mother: ‘When am I going to see my granny and grandad again?’
She would put calendars in their bedroom with stars marking the dates when they would spend the weekend at their old home; strangely, there is no mention of this on Stewart’s Having Your Say report.
The weekend visits happened once a month — until social workers began to press for them to be less frequent.
Gradually, the department’s true intentions emerged. They did not believe the grandparents should look after Stewart and Fiona at all. They thought the children should be adopted.
From what the grandparents could establish, social workers were concerned about their age and health. True, the grandfather has angina and has suffered a heart attack.
But that was in 1998 when he was working up to 18hours a day on a farm. He was signed off work a year ago and now leads a normal life.
The grandmother is 46 and has diabetes. But as she points out: ‘How am I able to look after my two youngest children?’.
She is an active mother, who regularly took Stewart and Fiona swimming and bowling. Last year, she even went skiing.
She revealed: ‘At one stage they told me it was selfish wanting to look after the children. How can it be selfish to want to look after your own family?’
The couple have records from four court hearings which show that two sheriffs — the Scottish equivalent of magistrates — heard the case at different times over 18 months and were sympathetic. The sheriffs refused to remove their parental rights.
Yet eventually, the pressure from social services became overwhelming, and the couple were assured that if they gave up their parental rights, they would still have regular contact and would be involved and informed in all aspects of the children’s lives.
In August, they gave up the fight. In a letter to Edinburgh Sheriff Court, the grandfather wrote: ‘These are the reasons for making this choice, which I might say has been very difficult for us.
‘We feel that due to the time involved in this process and the various objections raised by the social work department it would be in the best interests of the children that we gracefully back out of the proceedings and give up all rights to our grandchildren.
‘I must admit that I feel bitter about the whole situation, as they [the social work department] are determined to have them adopted, regardless of our feelings.
‘We have tried very hard and have co-operated with them in every way possible. Both my wife and myself love Stewart and Fiona to bits, there is nothing we wouldn’t have done for them.’
The following month, the children’s mother said goodbye to them during a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. A few weeks later, their grandparents handed them over to Heather Rush at the Oxgangs office.
Stewart wanted a toy lawnmower as a farewell present; Fiona a bubble-making machine.
Stewart and Fiona have 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 visited their home.
But will their grandparents ever see the children again? ‘When they get older and ask why, we will have the necessary paperwork to prove that we both fought for them and the reasons it was not to be,’ said their grandfather.
Will Edinburgh social services department be able to do the same?
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1132789/Did-children-torn-grandparents-adopted-gay-men-fall-prey-politically-correct-social-services-agenda.html#ixzz1ePmS2B8R