BRITAIN'S LEGALISED CHILD ABDUCTION RACKET!
A harrowing story of how the State is able to steal a baby from its mother without real justification. Is this Russia or China? No this is Britain in the 21st Century - all of course done in blanket secrecy by despotic "Family Court".
DAILY MAIL ARTICLE FOLLOWS:
Snatched from her loving family and handed to strangers: Sophia was an adored baby with a devoted mother and besotted grandparents. Then social workers took an extraordinary decision
- Social workers prevented mother Samantha from taking baby Sophia home
- Stems from father, who isn't with Samantha, having committed sex assault
- Authorities now say she fails to recognise potential 'future emotional harm'
- Despite a lengthy court battle adored child will now be put up for adoption
The small pink bedroom remains pristine, untouched. The cot, its coverlet neat and pressed, stands empty. There are soft toys, a candy-coloured pedal car, a pushchair and a pretty little Moses basket.
Photos of a toddler — laughing, held aloft on her grandfather’s shoulders — give proof to a child’s existence, yet nothing in the room shows signs of use or life.
Indeed, the little girl — we’ll call her Sophia — for whom the bedroom was intended, has never slept in it. Since she was born 22 months ago, there has been no joyous welcome to the four-bedroom house on the South Coast in which her family live.
Instead, just two days after her birth, Sophia was wrenched from her family, and the shock was so profound, so terrible, that they are still reeling.
Torn apart: Sophia (whose identity has been obscured) with her proud mother Samantha
The law prevents us from using Sophia’s real name, because any day now the toddler will be forcibly adopted against her family’s wishes. She will, thereafter, become the child of strangers, who will raise her, without contact from her blood relatives, until she is an adult.
Yet Sophia already had a family who loved her; who were overjoyed by the prospect of caring for her. So much so that her 20-year-old mother, Samantha, had decided to live at her parents’ home so her daughter would have their love and support as well as hers.
In fact it was Sophia’s grandparents, Jayne Harley, 50, a doctors’ receptionist, and her husband Neil, 44, who runs a scaffolding company, who decorated the room in readiness for their first grandchild.
But our Nanny State decreed they should not be permitted to bring up their own child. A social worker and two police officers arrived at the hospital where Sophia was born, two days after her delivery by emergency Caesarean, and prevented them taking her home.
Last month, this newspaper ran a series of stories about single mothers in the Sixties who were coerced into giving up their babies for adoption for the sole reason that they were unmarried.
Today, unbelievably, forced adoptions still occur. But the Harleys’ story is so jaw-dropping, so harrowing, it is almost impossible to believe it happened in modern Britain.
But it did, and Sophia’s family spent 18 months fighting through the courts for the right to raise her. It was a battle that took them to the Court of Appeal in London and cost them £60,000 — raised from loans and savings — in legal fees.
Their ordeal began when Samantha, who was then aged 19, announced that she was pregnant.
‘We weren’t happy,’ recalls Jayne. ‘Sammy was still at college, training to be a nail technician, and her boyfriend, who was in his mid-20s, wasn’t working. It wasn’t the sort of relationship we wanted for her. We felt she could do better.
‘But Sammy was intent on keeping the baby — she wouldn’t consider a termination — so we agreed we’d support her in every way we could.’
'Cherished by her family': Little Sophia, aged six months, was taken away by social services
Jayne was concerned that Samantha, who had been a ‘challenging’ child and was diagnosed in her teens with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), would need help with parenting.
She and Neil, her husband of 14 years, resolved to step in: Samantha and the newborn should live at home with them, they all agreed.
Then Jayne discovered a disquieting fact about Samantha’s boyfriend John (not his real name). ‘We heard that he was on the Sex Offenders’ Register. My immediate thought was: “Oh God, please don’t let him be a rapist or paedophile.” ’
Court records, however, revealed that his crime was a sexual assault on a woman. ‘He had forced his hand up her skirt and kissed her against her will. It was a serious offence and it would be wrong to diminish it. But he wasn’t a paedophile or rapist,’ says Jayne.
Nonetheless, she was relieved when Samantha ended her relationship with John early on in the pregnancy. They remained friends, and Jayne accepted this as evidence that John intended to have a role in his child’s life, which seemed laudable.
Pending motherhood, moreover, gave Samantha a new sense of purpose. ‘She’d been defiant and disruptive, but she changed completely,’ recalls Jayne. ‘She improved herself, passed her driving test, bought a little car. She stayed in, devoted herself to studying and completed her college course.
‘And we started to look forward to the future. We got the baby’s room ready and bought everything she could possibly need.’
When, in June 2013, Samantha was admitted to hospital for the birth, Jayne was with her. She was surprised, however, when John, who was by then in a relationship with another young woman, arrived, too.
‘There was no plan for him to be there, but I didn’t regard him as a danger,’ recalls Jayne. ‘We’d even agreed that any future involvement between John and the baby would be arranged through social services.’
Jayne revelled in her new role as grandparent. ‘Holding Sophia was like holding my own daughter,’ she recalls. ‘There was the same level of love. Samantha had produced this beautiful baby girl. Seeing her for the first time was one of the happiest moments of my life.’
Then, two days after she was born in summer 2013, Jayne went to the hospital to collect her daughter and her baby to bring them home.
‘But there was delay after delay,’ she says. ‘Then a nurse said she needed to sign some paperwork. That was when the police and a social worker arrived and the nightmare started.’
What happened next was chilling.
‘They said Samantha had to go to a mother and baby unit outside the county, and that she had to leave immediately,’ says her mother.
‘My daughter was hysterical, screaming, “Mum, why are they doing this?” I couldn’t answer her. All I could think was that social services departments were there to keep families together, not tear them apart.
‘I was stunned. All I knew was that two of the most precious people in our lives were being taken away and I couldn’t prevent it. I had no idea what we’d done wrong. It was barbaric; inhumane.
‘I asked why on earth they were doing it. They said Sophia was at risk from her parents. I couldn’t understand it. I re-live that moment every day: my daughter’s terrified face, begging me to stop it from happening, screaming for help, and me being powerless to do a thing.’
Jayne has never been able to establish exactly why, but she believes Social Services were panicked by the arrival of John at the hospital, and Jayne and her daughter became scapegoats.
Before being packed off to a mother and baby unit outside London (where she would ultimately spend 16 weeks), Samantha had never spent a night away from home. She was bewildered and frightened.
‘They said that if she went, she could keep her baby,’ says Jayne. ‘We tried to be positive. We said: “They’ll teach you parenting skills.”
‘None of us knew it was to be an assessment — that Samantha would be under scrutiny 24/7.’
For the next four months, Jayne and Neil, who had raised Samantha and her sister from his wife’s first marriage since they were five and six respectively, made the 250-mile round-trip to the unit every Sunday. It was the only day they were permitted to visit.
They were cheered by Samantha’s progress. ‘We could see how well she was parenting Sophia, and the bond that was developing between them,’ recalls Jayne. ‘Sophia was content. She was a smiley, happy baby.’
Despite this, greater trauma was in store. In October, when Samantha’s placement ended, she was told it had actually been an assessment — and that she had failed.
‘They said her parenting skills were not in doubt,’ says Jayne. ‘The problem was that she — like us, apparently — did not recognise her child could be exposed to “future emotional harm”.’
Sophia was wrenched peremptorily from the family who loved her and entrusted to the care of her prospective adoptive parents. The dreadful irony was lost on social workers.
Jayne says: ‘They kept saying Sophia was at risk of emotional harm from us, yet Social Services were the abusers. You cannot commit a more inhumane act than to prise a baby from the arms of the family that loves her and place her with strangers.’
Jayne and Neil, however, were not prepared to give up without a fight. In January 2014, they applied for a Special Guardianship Order.
Their application, through the courts, was to prove both long and costly — and ultimately futile. They are hard-working people but they did not have the financial resources to fund an expensive legal battle. Like all grandparents, they were not entitled to legal aid.
They raised £30,000 through a loan, borrowed £20,000 from their own parents and consumed their £10,000 nest egg on their fight.
Two GPs from the surgery where Jayne worked provided references for her, as did a young woman Jayne had informally fostered — at the request of the very Social Services department that now considered her a risk to her own grandchild — when she was a troubled adolescent. Yet still their application failed.
‘When I stood in the witness box, they treated me like a criminal,’ says Jayne. ‘I was traumatised. We felt helpless. It was as if they were trying to annihilate us.’
They employed a barrister, who said they had a strong case for appeal, so their quest reached the Court of Appeal in London.
That, too, failed. The decision left their solicitor, Michael Stocken, dumbfounded.
‘It seems as though the Court of Appeal bent over backwards to endorse the first court’s decision,’ he says. ‘But there’s no doubt that it is better for a child’s welfare to be with a loving kinship carer.
‘If grandparents with the Harleys’ background and commitment, and with all they had to offer their grandchild, lose a case like this, what hope is there for anyone else?
‘It has cost them a tremendous amount, and they were prepared to move heaven and earth to provide their grandchild with a loving home. They’re kind and genuine people. I cannot imagine the distress it has caused them all. They’ve had a very raw deal.’
This is scant solace for Jayne and Neil. All the while they pursued their case through the courts, they and Samantha were permitted to see Sophia just once a week at a supervised Family Contact Centre.
‘It was bittersweet,’ says Jayne. ‘We watched our granddaughter grow into a funny, feisty little character. She loved rough and tumble play with Neil. She called him DadDad, and I was Nana. Neil used to carry her on his shoulders and she would lay her little face against his.
‘She’s affectionate and loving, and we adore her. The pain of watching her tearful little face when we said goodbye each time, hearing her scream “Mummy”, and “Nana”, almost outweighed the pleasure of seeing her.’
Finally, their last line of appeal exhausted, they had to say a last and permanent goodbye to the child they all cherished; the little girl they loved so much that, as Jayne says: ‘We would have given our lives for her in a heartbeat.’
That final parting this January was unimaginably sad — not just for Jayne, Neil and Samantha but also for Sophia, now 22 months, who had formed a strong bond of love with them.
‘Shine like the little star you are. We will always love you,’ Jayne wrote in a farewell letter to her granddaughter. From Samantha there were presents of jewellery. ‘One day we will be one,’ she wrote, in hope, to her daughter. They’ve named a star after her.
‘When we went for the last time, I’m sure Sophia sensed it was a final goodbye,’ says Jayne, through tears. ‘She grabbed Samantha’s car keys. We had to prise her little hands out of ours.
‘All we could do was tell her how much we loved her; how although we weren’t with her, we’d be there always, waiting for her.
‘We don’t know what sort of turmoil her little mind is going through. Now, all we can do is pray for her, and wait until she is 18; until she’s old enough to come back to us. That’s all I live for now.
‘And until that day, everything will be left as it is. Her room will still be there, unchanged. We won’t part with a single thing. It will stay, with the memory box containing the photos of her first scan, the balloons we bought on the day she was born, her first knitted hat and her first tiny shoes.
‘She will know not a day passed when we did not think of her; that we loved her with all our hearts.’
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-3032868/Snatched-loving-family-handed-strangers-Sophia-adored-baby-devoted-mother-besotted-grandparents-social-workers-took-extraordinary-decision.html#ixzz58L8gwp59
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