This month's PAC-UK guest blogger, who has chosen to remain anonymous, is a first mum to children who have been adopted, and also has a child who is now being cared for under Special Guardianship Order. A huge thank you from all at PAC-UK for sharing your personal experience in this guest blog.
When social workers first started talking to me about a Special Guardianship Order (SGO) it sounded positive, and less final for me as a mum whose children were removed from my care and adopted. Even when the order was granted I was not told much information and found advice and guidance about SGO’s really hard to find even though there are more and more being made.
My solicitor was positive about it but as time has gone on I don’t feel positive myself. I was told I could maintain a relationship with my child, be in their life and watch them grow up but when I found out who had passed the assessment I was not confident. I didn’t have a great relationship with them and they were not who I would pick if I could choose, so I asked for an adoption order, not a special guardianship order.
When the SGO was granted I tried to keep positive. I kept telling myself it would be okay as the social worker and my solicitor say it will be positive and they know best. But I had asked for an adoption order because I knew deep inside that the SGO wouldn’t work. I kept asking “what if the relationship broke down, what would happen, would I be removed from my child’s life?” I was told it would be okay and reassured that I had court paperwork, written recommendations and agreements about the arrangement, I have rights and I would be in my child’s life which would be better than adoption.
I now have experience of both (SGO and adoption) and to be honest I don’t feel there is a difference as I don’t see any of my children as relationships have broken down. Now I don’t get any updates or photographs or anything they promised me. SGO’s are great for parents if you have a strong relationship with the people who are approved to look after your children. But if it goes wrong, it goes badly wrong, and there is not much support.
So it feels like I was given empty promises and my calls for help fall on deaf ears. There is no support around and few places to get the advice. As there are no social workers involved it is hard to get back arrangements back on track. I feel like I lost my child again. Yes, the SGO team can give you advice but it’s not really helpful to me. Yes, I can go back to court again but it is long process and in the meantime I have lost another year in my life and in my relationship with my child that I cannot get back.
SGO’s are a positive option if people can work together. Personally I think people being approved need to be approved on a trial basis not signing off right away and support being taken away. Guardians and birth parents need ongoing support as if relationships breakdown it is very hard to get things back on track.
Special Guardians might need more support to cope and parents might need help with the arrangements but once again it feels to me that some birth parents get a bad deal and once again that our feelings and rights don’t matter. An SGO is hard for the whole family without proper support. They are our children, an SGO should enable more open contact and communication but it doesn’t always and there is little support around when things do go wrong. My close family has no contact now with my child on an SGO, whereas my ex-partner’s family has almost unlimited contact.
I sit at home in lockdown thinking about my children but not knowing how they are and it is the worst feeling in the world. It is hell on earth not knowing anything about their health during COVID-19 but I will keep fighting on even though it is hard to find hope.
Anonymous | May 2020
Please note, all content published on this page is provided by our guest blogger/s, based on their real-life experiences. We invite you to discuss this blog via PAC-UK's Twitter profile and ask you to tag @PACUKadoption in to your posts and use the hashtag #PacukBlog
This blog is the sixteenth of our monthly 'guest blogger' platform which we started in 2019. We would love to hear from adoptees, birth parents (and relatives), adoptive parents/carers, special guardians and professionals who are interested in taking part in future blogs. If this interests you please email firstname.lastname@example.org.