A man who only discovered that he had a son when the boy was four has been denied the chance to raise him.
His paternity was only discovered when the man’s sister saw a picture of the child, called C in case reports, and thought she saw a resemblance. A DNA test later confirmed that the boy was his biological son.
The child had been conceived during an affair and taken into care just days after his birth as the mother was thought to be unable to look after him.
The man later rekindled the relationship but the mother insisted the child was not his. They are no longer together.
The man went to court to try and claim his child but the boy had already been placed with adopters who were keen to have the adoption finalised. He appealed an adoption order granted in their favour last year.
The boy’s mother supported his campaign the Mail reports, saying:
“I do not want my child to be adopted by strangers.”
But the man’s appeal failed. Lord Justice Munby, who as President of the Family Division is the country’s most senior family law judge, said the boy had grown deeply attached to his adoptive parents and they had been “through the mill”. It was in the child’s best interests to stay with them, he concluded.
“Recognising the bitter heartache that this must cause a father who, it would seem, was cruelly deceived by the mother of his child, I was in the end entirely satisfied that his appeal had to be dismissed. Standing back from the detail, the reality is that the father has no relationship with C, indeed he has never even seen him, and that C has now been settled for over two years with the adopters. How can we, how can any judge, take the risk of disturbing that?”
Lord Justice Munby criticised the granting of an adoption order while the man’s case’s case had yet to be fully resolved, concluding starkly:
“I cannot part from this case without expressing my very great concerns about that it reveals about our system. The history of events…makes for depressing and profoundly worrying reading. This is not, I stress, necessarily a criticism of those involved, most of whom did what was required of them. It is a criticism of a system whose inadequacies and potential for catastrophe have here been all too starkly exposed. No humanly devised system can ever be foolproof, but we must do everything to ensure as best we can that future catastrophes are prevented.”
Photo by Naddsy via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence
A version of this column originally appeared in www.marilynstowe.co.uk.