A 14 year old girl, referred to as PK, made an application to revoke her adoption, and change her surname to that of her biological mother.
PK was placed into adoption when she was just four years old. Two years later, her adoptive parents, Mr and Mrs K, sent her to Ghana to live with their extended family.
She returned to the United Kingdom in July 2014 and was reunited with her birth mother and maternal grandmother.
In deciding whether to grant her application for revocation of the adoption order, the court observed that an order to invalidate an otherwise properly made adoption order would undermine the basis on which adoption is made, namely that they are final and for life. Such orders gravely damage the lifelong commitment of adoptive parents to their children, if there is the possibility of the child, or the parents, subsequently challenging the adoption.
The law is very clear; once an orders for adoption has been made, it is only in highly exceptional and very particular circumstances that the court will permit the order to be set aside.
The court found that there were powerful reasons in favour of setting aside the order PK. It was extremely important to her as a 14 year old, that the court take into account her wishes and views, which are that she should no longer be the adopted child of Mr and Mrs K but should instead be recognised legally as a member of her biological family.
Disruption to her childhood and her new found relationship with her mother were also considered together with her wishes to once again carry the last name of her biological mother, thereby reflecting her membership of the family.
Continuing with the adoption order would have profound disadvantages for PK’s welfare, as she would remain the child of her adoptive parents despite taking no practical part in her life.
Against the background described, the court decided that there would be emotionally harmful consequences for PK to remain the adopted child of Mr and Mrs K. It was therefore agreed that the adoption order be set aside and she be placed back to the care of her biological mother. She was also given permission to be change her surname to reflect that of her biological family.