Monday, 1 June 2015

Agony Aunt`s views on forced adoption

Agony Aunt, Denise Robertson, talks about her novel Don`t Cry Aloud in the Daily Mail article, and the hundreds of letters and emails she receives from desperate families which prompted her to write the book:

"(L)ast year I received 450 letters and emails from desperate families begging for help after their children or grandchildren had been forcibly taken from them by the family courts. The majority were subject to gagging orders and risked prison sentences by talking to me. Such restrictions imposed by the courts, ostensibly in the interests of the children, effectively silence discussion about questionable adoption procedures."

"However, I believe forced adoption is a national scandal that must be exposed. To this end, I have written a novel, Don’t Cry Aloud, a lightly fictionalised account of the real stories I encounter every day. I dedicate it to Nicky and Mark Webster, a decent and blameless couple who appealed to me for help when their three older children were taken and forcibly adopted in 2005. I’ve written it in the hope that it will provoke a reaction; that it will make people care."

"The Websters’ case, also taken up by this newspaper, proved how innocent people can become helplessly embroiled in an escalating nightmare. It began when Nicky took one of her children to hospital with a viral infection. Doctors discovered a fracture in his ankle and, within two days — on the false assumption that the little boy had been hit — all three of the couple’s children were taken into care."

"When I met the Websters, I knew they were incapable of harming their children. I asked a solicitor who had helped me fight for justice in similar cases to take up theirs. He, too, was powerless. ‘As fast as I amass evidence in their defence, social services push the adoption proceedings forward,’ he told me."

"It took four years for the courts to find the Websters innocent of any wrongdoing. It emerged that their son, after feeding problems, had been put on a soya milk diet, which had led to a rare nutritional deficiency that caused his bones to fracture easily. By then, however, the courts had also decreed that it was too late to overturn the adoption orders imposed on the Websters’ children: they were not returned to their parents."

Read more:

The British Association of Social Workers received a number of complaints after sharing the Daily Mail article. There was a response from Maggie Mellon, Vice Chair of BASW:
The issue of adoption without parental consent and against their wishes is one that we feel is of professional concern and must be openly and fully debated, not just within social work, but also in the wider world...
There is growing public interest and concern, and it is very important that your professional association shows leadership in responding to this. We cannot deny that there are grounds for concern and inquiry and explanation, and neither should we attack the messengers – the birth families and their spokespeople such as Denise Robertson.
I will always support the open airing of critical comment and believe that we have a responsibility to members to respond to these openly and with an ethical and informed position.

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