The UK adoption process is a mysterious beast. Throw in a trip to A and E and the question of parental responsibility hits home.
As the nurse cleaned up our poor boy’s head after his accident, we were relieved to hear it was just a graze, and no permanent damage had been done. Heads bleed quite profusely, and so it probably looked worse than it was.
Earlier that evening however, we were not so reassured.
With the adoption process being so long and arduous, playing with our son felt like someone had finally cut our tether, and like hungry jackals finding a fresh carcass, we became even more excited than him when he starts enjoying a new toy. He bounced vigorously on his new space hopper, like children, we cheered and clapped with encouragement.
As his little brain flooded to process the information it was receiving, its already poor sense of danger switched off completely.
With an almighty shift in balance his head was thrust towards the broadband socket, and met it with an almighty crack.
Now our responsibility as parents, as we understand it, is not to overreact, but this time we knew it was serious, both of us flew off our chairs, as his tears instantly streamed down his cheeks.
My wife, being the caring mother, won the race to get to him, swept him up, and cradled him, only to experience the horror of pulling her hand back and seeing it crimson with our son’s blood.
Panic set in, and though the health of our child was a priority, a second thought hastily entered our heads – that of parental responsibility.
Within the UK, the adoption process dictates that once a child is placed for adoption, parental responsibility lies with three parties. Ourselves as the child’s carers, but also with the authority from which he was in care, and also, strangely, the birth parents.
As soon as we realised we had to go to A and E, this question of parental responsibility arose and smacked us in the face. What do we do?
The child is in our care, and we must do what is right for him, so we quickly assessed the damage, and even though he was now starting to laugh, there was what looked like a sizeable and bloody hole in his head.
With adoption, the process continues for a long time, even after placement, so we knew we had to contact the child’s social worker, but, because parental responsibility is still shared, we felt the need to err on the side of caution; we didn’t want to be the neglectful party who failed to look after our child, so we decided to take him to A and E.
It sounds self-seeking I know, but it is all part of the process we are undertaking. Whilst he is in our care but not legally ours, we have to accept we are only one of three parties responsible for him – like winning an Olympic gold medal, but the guy presenting it to you, hasn’t removed his hands yet.
About the Author: Andrew McDougallAndrew is an adoptive father, and stay at home dad. Having adopted his son in January 2013, he is a new adoptive parent, but well versed in the adoption process. He is a married, coffee drinker, Xbox addict, and a graduate of Marketing. Andrew McDougall is an alias he uses to protect the identity of his adopted son.
Sites That Link to this Post
- Adoptive parents are normal parents? | | February 14, 2013