There are fundamental public policy reasons why adoption orders are final and last for life. However, in one ‘highly exceptional and particular’ case, the High Court has revoked such an order in response to a 14-year-old girl’s resolute wish to break her legal links with her adoptive parents.
The girl was adopted at the age of four by a couple who later cast her from their home and sent her to live abroad with their extended family. There she suffered serious abuse at the hands of those who should have been looking after her. She eventually returned to Britain and was thrilled to have rediscovered a loving bond with her biological mother and maternal grandmother.
Orders were subsequently made placing her under the full care and control of her mother and, in those circumstances, the girl applied to revoke the adoption order so that she could change her name to that of her natural family. She had extremely strong feelings in respect of her legal status and was adamant that she wanted nothing more to do with the adopters.
Revoking the adoption order and granting permission for the girl to change her name, the Court noted that the adopters had played little part in the proceedings and, by their inaction, had signified their lack of interest in the girl’s future. To maintain the order would profoundly harm the girl’s welfare, not least because the adopters would retain parental responsibility for her and the right to make decisions about and for her. Her mother and grandmother were delighted to be reunited with her and were committed to providing for her long-term future.