Finding Yourself

Love this, raw, passionate and thought provoking, thankyou J xxx

HarsH ReaLiTy

Finding Yourself

By: Jason Chandler Cushman

Written on 6/2000

The past unknown can be bore, when no knowledge is had of that which was tore.

When the seal of history is cut, A piece of your heart can be seen to jut.

From that wound so small, so infinite. All you knew is surely bent.

Pain deeper than any well, can surely seem like the fires of hell.

But that pain, that gift, although so small, Starts the pieces of the puzzle to fall.

That puzzle, the key, to finding yourself, Is the inner soul’s manna, its being, its health.

That stranger that walks a different life, with whom you have so much strife.

Your identical twin, your brother, your soul. Whose relations with you takes its toll.

It is his place you wish to be. To be able to say, hey this is me.

But his life is not your…

View original post 83 more words

My Life in Print

At last my labour of love has come to life in a glossy covered paperback! Can hardly believe it after so long

I hope you will grab a copy and re-live my journey as told in this blog. In one handy hold-able book you get to walk and ride with me as my journey unfolds

book-in-the-flesh2

You will notice it is already dog eared as Hubby grabbed it on sight!

Forgive any minor mistakes as I am a writer (so I am told) and not a proof reader! 🙂

All I know is there is a sequel in me somewhere but for now enjoy the first published book here or click on the book links below!

http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/BlackSheep69

Drinking Tea So grab a copy, put the kettle on and be prepared t reach for something a little stronger mid way….rather like I am doing right now..#hic!

Thanks to all of you for reading my ramblings and rants…it is very much appreciated…be assured, there’s much more to come…………….

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Much Love

Black Sheep

xxx

Sneaky Peek…My Book Cover!!

Oh my god!! I am BEYOND EXCITED PEOPLE!!!

Just as soon as I accept my own copy my labour of love, my Journey becomes a fully printed, bound BOOK!!

Yippee!! I will of course post the link so you can all grab your very own copy but to say I am emotional to have got to this point is an understatement

Today I am a bit of a mess and I know I will blub when I see it in my hand. Can hardly wait!!:-)

Hope you like……….

 

book-cover

Best wishes from an excited Black Sheep

xxx
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Its National Adoption Week 2016- A Poem by Black Sheep

Its National Adoption Week 2016….

Many children await their forever families .

On an island

Imagine, by Black Sheep

Imagine never hearing the word Mummy from the mouth of a small person.

I cant.

Imagine never knowing if you will hold the hand of a small person knowing that small gesture makes them feel safe.

I cant

Imagine never holding that warm little body to calm their sobbing and sooth their fear

I cant

Imagine if you never hear the words ‘I love you’ spoken from the very soul of that small person

I cant

Imagine growing old and looking back wondering if you would have made a great parent

I cant

Imagine if you never shared the joy of success in that child as they grew

I cant

Imagine not having a fridge covered in bright colourful hand prints and wonky self portraits

I cant

Imagine never watching your small persons eyelashes flicker as they sleep and dream of fairies and fantasy

I cant

Imagine not bathing that grazed knee and watching it heal

I cant

Imagine not seeing the sheer joy on that little face as they rip open that longed for toy

I cant

Imagine the fear and uncertainty of not knowing if you will be fed tomorow

I cant

Imagine being told you are moving home again for the 5th time in as many years

I cant

Imagine if your next meal is just a stale biscuit and you are told to be grateful

I cant

Imagine your little ears ringing with the noise of shouting, banging doors and fighting

I cant

Imagine the constant stench of being unwashed and dirty under your unkempt clothing

I cant

Imagine having fear of the front door opening to reveal yet another person to take you away

I cant

Imagine if you face this winter with the same fear and dread of being cold and hungry as last year

I cant

Imagine meeting a new sibling for the first time and knowing they want to be with you

I can

Imagine finding a Mummy and Daddy who want to shower you with love and keep you safe

I can

Imagine knowing this is your forever family and you can stay and never move alone again

I can

Imagine learning that you have finally come home

I can

Imagine being told you are so loved and very much wanted

I can

Imagine knowing next Christmas or Birthday will be better than the last

I can

Imagine having a piece of paper that says you are hear to stay forever

I can

Can you Imagine???

Where are your Roots

Put yourself in the shoes of that small person…this week give some thought to the journey of this small person and how you could make a difference in their life.

Reach out to your local Adoption Agency or the Social Services if you think this small person could be part of your family!

Families for children is an amazing local Adoption Charity

families for children….alongside your local authority you can get support to travel on this journey if you think you can give a loving home to one or more of the hundreds of small people waiting in the system.

Had my parents not taken the leap of faith , adopted me without hesitation or reservation, I would not be here today. My journey is familiar to you but many others out there need you to help them create their own story…

I mean, I turned out alright didn’t I?? Ha…#dontanswerthatone!

Thanks as always for reading

Black Sheep xxx

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Little Sister & Big Sister?

Ok so its been a while and I make no apology.. I’ve been super busy. Turning round on a spot for too long and made some decisions in my life at last. A cross roads? More like a huge pot hole in the road blocking my path like a gaping abyss. BUT I am rising above the crap and smiling….Oh yes, I am smiling pretty bloody wide and I don’t mind telling you!! You see I have added a new dimension to my life after some years of debate and I am loving it. Decision made, and seems it was the best timing ever! If you recall I always said I would reach out and connect with my half sister. Well a few aspects of my life have shaken me awake recently.

I spent a few days last week with dear old friends, one who has known me over 20 years so knows me as well as anyone…she pointed out to me that life was  too short not to accept someone else moving in a different direction. What I had suspected for well over a year hit me as a truth I was ready to accept. Not that I no longer care , but that I know they no longer care so I cant bang my head again that proverbial brick wall a moment longer. This advice came from a friend who is very special to me. She has an unending optimism and positive outlook that is simply infectious. She delights in almost everything, truthfully states she has the best life in the world and her effervescence rubs off onto you like a scent you cannot tire of. I love her and we have many great memories for which I will always smile (and belly laugh so hard we both snort!) The kind of friend you don’t have to see regularly to know they will  be exactly the same person when you do. Definitely the kind of friend you want to keep for life. If she’s reading this she knows I love her and wish I saw her more often.

I needed something to kick start me to blog this week . So much to share but its all a jumble of prose and hard to focus …so this morning a video landed in my inbox from none other than my BM. Its like she reads my mind Ha!..It could not have struck a louder cord …please watch it to the end before reading on..it is an amazing summary of how I have been feeling for sometime…”Truer words have never been spoken”

Friendships come and go, I get that, but I never felt that it would be the most unlikely friendships that would fall by the wayside. It happens… I get that too, but when it is totally unexpected and for no reason you can think of it hurts.

broken-friendships

Yes, it hurts like a bitch but actually my head tells me the opposite of my heart in this case. Logic suggests long term friendships are the ones to last the course but the reality is some people change, they move on and become virtual strangers. Why else would I have divorced my ex…we changed. It is better to spend quality time with those who warm you like a radiator rather than those who sap your energy like a drain ( I should have been a plumber!?) Trying to fathom someone out and constantly getting knocked back is tiresome and self destructive. Time romps on and one day you realise the other person brings so little to your party that you wonder why they even bothered coming in the first place? My advice is don’t be someones option…if something better comes up you get blown out…only be part of a two way street, not at the end of a dead end waiting for the street lamp to go off in your head and show you enlightenment. Takes a while but the relief of accepting the end of that road is immense.

I wish no one ill will, wish them all the best as I bear no grudges, but once my hurt becomes indifference I guess that’s that. Lock down from my end. I am not closed to an apology and explanation but wont be holding my breath

Time to focus on the positive, move away from the negative and look after myself and my own…

It takes too much energy and its wasted on enough trivia as it is…and so I realised lately that things had to change in many areas of my life and a new wave of excitement grew in the pit of my (post holiday excess) stomach.

Many exciting new journeys are in the offing (you will have to keep following ) and one in particular has already changed my life hugely.

You see, I am no longer just a little sister to two older brothers who I love with all my heart. I am also now officially a big sister to a little sister. Oh my god it is huge. We are two peas in one pod! It takes a while for stuff to sink in with me but I can honestly say connecting with this new character in my book is as big as connecting with my Birth Mother. Its true that timing is everything. I sat on her address for three long years so something, maybe some higher force stopped me making this massive step ..until now.

It transpires that my half sister was also at a cross roads in her life professionally and emotionally. Having said to close friends recently that she desperately needed something ‘meaningful’ to happen and soon. Now, I am not blowing my own trumpet here but my introductory letter landed on her door mat three days later? The irony is not entirely lost on me here! So of course I sent it recorded…you know me, it had to reach the right person after waiting this bloody long to write it didn’t it?

So I sent my letter, not dissimilar to the one I wrote three years back to my BM’s friend and neighbour (E). I went away on holiday knowing that otherwise I would spend the next few weeks practically mugging the postman to ensure he had emptied his mail bag completely. NO risk of sitting and waiting for a reply…Three days into my vacation I receive an email from my half sister, for the purpose of continuity we will still call her JB. She said she couldn’t leave it until I got home and wanted to respond right away. She described how her delight and surprise were felt in equal measure and that she was overwhelmed with a sense of need to know all about me and my life.

As we were both adopted we have already something very obvious in common. It was with teary eyes and a pounding heart I read the email out to Hubby and my girly at the breakfast table on a sunny deck. Oh My God, is this real? Yes, very real and you know I felt a huge relief. How did I know she would be happy to hear from me? Just knew I guess…but what is even more bizarre is I also felt that she needed me…I know its sounds strange but this has turned out to be the case, we needed each other and right now! Me for the validation that actually both she and I were put on the right path by our shared BM. She needed me to reassure her that a shitty few years were coming to an end and he huge life changing decisions were the right ones for her. Fair swap I’d say! 🙂

Some say we look alike, others say she is more like our BM. All say its the eyes. We all have the same eyes. I’ll take that!:-)

Out of nowhere I grew a pair, metaphorically , not literally you understand..that would be very odd ..and uncomfortable..Ha!  I knew that I had to connect with her and there was no time like the present. To say it was an instant connection is not a lie. It seems we were both adopted by white parents so we compared all the issues around that. We were both raised with other siblings, mine natural to my parents,  hers adopted alongside her and of different birth parents. She told me she was only aware of me as another daughter who was also adopted. She had no other information from our BM as she hadn’t developed the relationship, as I had, for her own reasons.So my appearance was quite a shock. She was initially cross that my BM had given her address to me, a complete stranger …I understood and said I felt bad as I honestly assumed she had been furnished with the same detail as I had. Fact was I had found our BM AFTER she had written, met by accident and then stepped away. Therefore in reality there was no way she would have had my details as our BM didn’t know I was even looking for her at that time. She was quite dismayed that her details had been passed on without her permission which I agreed was naughty, but no more so than the other issues I had pulled our BM for over the last few years. I talked her out of writing to her to express her displeasure …suggesting that there was no benefit to be had from telling her off for something she probably did in good faith. I said had she continued dialogue with her she may well have passed my details on to her once she had them but this was cut off so was not possible by the time I wrote myself. I suggested she did indeed write the letter, full fury force in her lovely handwriting. Then she should pour wine, throw something and then burn it. Done. Written but not sent to cause distress to a lady who, lets face it, is over excited at having her flock fly back to the nest (in her eyes and head and certainly in her heart) . She agreed , the end result was not worth it. Nobody would benefit ,the knock on effect to me and back to her was not worth it one  bit!

So we wrote and shared our lives and sent numerous pictures to each other. I commented on how we shared the lucky skin gene! How easy it is to furnish another soul with all that you hold dear! Thanks to modern technology we now have almost stepped inside each others lives and understand each other like no one else ever has ..its true to say we have held nothing back. What would be the point? Her life has so many parallels to mine, from our childhoods of finding ourselves the only black faces in our schools, to being raised in a white family.

Taking a trip down this memory lane together has been quite an eye opener but also almost rubber stamped a number of things I already suspected. I was right about the fact we may well have played as youngsters in the same play park. Remember me wondering whether we may have crossed paths when I was staying at my Grannies in the NW town near to where I was born.I’d considered that we may have shared childhood moments together as ‘relative’ strangers.Well it seems I was not far off from my guess. She did live for some time in the same area, so this is highly likely. Imagine the two of us on that See-saw… giggles filling the air as we rise and fall. Imagine if she had pushed me on the swings with no clue that the blood coursing through her veins may be shared by her playmate. Not so unlikely as it transpires now. We have communicated daily since my first letter and both agree it feels so natural, like we have always known each other. Our connection is on a spiritual and emotional level and two hourly phone calls confirm many things we have in common. Not least that we can both talk the hind legs off a donkey! We both feel drawn to each other and agree that the timing is spot on. She has had a tough few years and concluded that had my letter landed only a year ago her response may have been quite different. She already feels protective of my little girl , not only as she is connected by biology but as she feels the connection with me is strong enough to see herself as her aunt. I know this is strange but I do feel comfortable with having her in my child’s life in a way I don’t feel the same with reference to my BM. Is this because she has no agenda other than to know her as she wants to know me?. Nothing more than to embrace our connection as it is rather than run with it and present it to many others . Just because someone shares your genetics doesn’t mean they have to know you …that is how I felt about my impromptu meeting with my full blood brother. As it happens this is how my half sister felt and still feels about our BM. It would seem the ‘chance’ meeting of these two ladies at the funeral of a friend of the former was not so coincidental as it had been described to me. Having been furnished with all the details as to time , when and where the funeral was taking place, my BM arranged to be there and take the opportunity to approach her youngest long ago, adopted daughter.

This meeting at the graveside served to throw JB such a huge curve ball she backed away and had a dramatic change of heart. Her need to find our BM was little more than curiosity with no wish to pursue a relationship of any kind. This I agreed was fair enough, we differ almost only in this respect. I accepted the meeting from my BM point of view but now given the other persons account of events I concur that it was a little misguided?   I hesitate to take a side but it would look and feel unfair to me if I were in JB shoes ….and throw in dealing with grieving a good friend at the same time! Phew! Its no real surprise she ran a mile is it!?

Recently I did tell our BM that we had found this amazing and deep connection. So natural the way we chat away like old friends, hubby cant understand how we can chatter for the first time ever in our lives for two solid hours! Not unlike when I first rang my BM by accident…hour and a half like two fish wives discussing everything from  the weather to the price of bread!

I told my BM that JB was lovely and that we just clicked with each other ..

she replied ‘Of course she is, as are you, because don’t forget love, you both came from the same womb’

And there you have it…Nature kicks Nurtures arse right into touch! The sharing of a genetic nest, albeit at different times has proven to be the soul reason why our connection is so strong, so easy and without hesitation we have embraced a friendship I already hold dear.

She tells me she feels we are drawn to help each other and I truly feel that too. Like a path carved from a solid foundation, our Birth Mother,  many years ago. She freed us from a future of promised fear and uncertainty. We embarked on two separated journeys… on roads fanning out in two directions. Eventually both paths merged into one single road and we were destined to meet as we both walked along it purposefully. Call it fate or Karma, it was going to happen if only due to the personalities in both of us. We are scarily similar in how we talk, think and dream.

We both agreed we feel we can share everything with each other and there is no reservation in showing our vulnerability. What we also share in common is that our families hold us in high esteem to the point of being almost totally reliant on our strength. How weird that her parents are deceased and yet her siblings, all adopted bar one, lean on her as if shes taken their place. Is that because of her sharing caring nature or being she is the one with the difference? I think we both have this very much in common!

slow dance

My point to all this is that no matter how life turns and twists, we all hold the key to how we move from chapter to chapter. A character may be left behind in a previous chapter and perhaps reappear in the future but it is healthier to write them out of the script if they make you feel unworthy. Embrace a new character who allows you to be you, to express yourself without judgement. That is exactly how I want my children to live their lives and loves.

We are all given choices ….choose to give and receive love…

Thanks for Reading

Much Love

Black Sheep xxx
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Adoption Numbers Plummet :-(

Came across this rather disturbing article recently……after all the positive reforms put in place by David Cameron, is all that work to be undone by Theresa May…Here’s hoping this is NOT so…………

According to the recent press , thousands of children are languishing in care whilst those seeking to adopt plummet? Not how I understand it but who knows what is the case…click on the image to read more ….and weep! 😦

Deflate

Click on Me for article

Back soon with big news…

Love Black Sheep xxx
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Mummy, Why are They Black?

Just because this made me cry…………….:-)

Whats interesting is comments to this video vary..I read some views from black people who focus on the word Black BUT beautiful…I didn’t I thought it was sweet , guess depends how you view it really…?

Although one comment I read made me wonder same…Has that child been kept under a rock? By her age had she really never seen anyone of colour?? Even in Eastern Europe? LOL Anyway the sentiment is sweet nevertheless and beats all the Racist crap I keep seeing day in day out online x

Best Wishes

Black Sheep

xxx
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Treasure the Little Things In Your Life

Just wanted to share this………..take a few minute and breathe….

Best Wishes

Red word

Black Sheep xxx

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Am I Beach Body Ready?

Found myself musing today, as I do and wondered the burning query….Hmmmm, am I beach body ready? Now there lies a question!! Answer is Hell Yes…I have a body , I am going to the beach so we are considered ready ,right? 

Maybe, or maybe not! Its been a bloody long old year this one 2016 and we are only half way through. However it is a year since my last feeling of sand beneath my feet …the anniversary of my annual slob-out is looming and my poor tired and aging body is telling me its not before time either.

I picked up a stinking cold a fortnight ago. A ‘Summer Cold’ What the hell is that anyway? Its like saying a Winter Sunburn to me. Just wrong. To glamorize it by adding Summer in front is not gonna change the fact I wheezed , sneezed, sniffed and remain decidedly miffed! Its gone from Ertha Kit husky (hubby liked that) to Kermit the Frog croaky ( He didn’t like this in the same way…more amused than aroused). I am now left with a 20 a day hack and I don’t even smoke! It’s just not fair!! *stamps foot*

Furthermore only a few weeks back I moved our dental practice to somewhere nearer and NHS and we are delighted with the move. Well I was until my new chap tells me I have gum disease…fast forward to several nightmares of my entire top and bottom set falling out when I bite an apple…not to mention gallons of that toxic Corsodyl sluicing round my mouth…. like Listerine isn’t bad enough?. I cant taste food (wine not so bad oddly)  Do you know the result of regular use of this particular mouthwash? Staining isn’t as bad as they make out if you brush your teeth like a mad thing afterwards , which I do. You actually lose weight!! Yes, I kid you not. You lose weight because basically you cant taste food…. so you don’t bother eating.

As a consequence I bought a spanking new outfit for a friends wedding recently and delightedly took in the darts! Result…for now…Beach body here I come…or not!

So today I rock up to my new dentist to learn my fate….I already know I have been promised a small filling…the first in 46 years so I am impressed and unimpressed with myself all at the same time.

I want to know if I am going to lose these wonky gnashers in my dotage….and get a brand new shiny set like Katie Price’s (or god forbid Rylan Clark’s ?)

falseteeth.jpg

So I lie back and think of England….well not exactly but anything to distract me from the light over my face, the silly shades and the needle my lovely new Dentist is brandishing….He leans in for a kiss…again , not exactly but I am trying to make this appointment more Shades of Grey than Streaks of Red you know ! Thankfully the filling wasn’t too bad, thanks to the anaesthetic causing facial Elephantitus on the left side of my  face. It remained numb for much of the morning . I swear I am not a wimp but who likes needles ? The scaling was less painful than expected and the news was actually I don’t have as bad gums as he promised. I have to wedge little brushes the size of my daughter hairbrush through my teeth and see him again in 6 months …Hey? So from a Aggressive gum disorder to Keep up the great oral hygiene and see you in half a year? Alright then , cheers, I’ll be on my way …

Now it seems Gum Disease as well as most other non-specific traits, we have in all of us, is more than likely hereditary. And just bad luck. Cant blame my BM as she doesn’t have it so guess my Birth Father was long in the tooth. Hmmm, Cheers for that one….another reason not to find him then! Grrrrr…well at least I can chew gum for now eh!

Anyway, like all my girlfriends, when preparing for a jolly on the beach we do a mini check list: Leg fuzz, Brazilian (or not…), Pit Fur, Body buffed and polished, Nails buffed and polished and eyebrows to make Kim Kardashian turn and stare!

I like to think I am pretty fastidious when it comes to being ‘smooth’ but you can never go too far when you are exposing so much flesh!

So along with a new Maxi dress to cover all my sins,  a new Tankini is bagged still tagged..yes the days of Bikini are LONG GONE, as is my size 8-10 waistline but I wear my jelly roll with pride…my daughter is single-handedly responsible for it of course, along with the tiger stripe stretch marks proving I am in fact her Mummy…or is it Kettle Chips and Shiraz…either way, I am sure there are bigger battles to flight in this life than the Bulge?!

I am a good girl when it comes to Suncreen too…happy to slap on the Factor 50 if only to avoid those unwanted  liver spots ! A lack of sunlight in the UK is more than compensated for by going abroad for a blast of pure Ozone free scorching!

All in all I feel my impending chillaxing is well deserved….countdown is on…so the last thing to do is paint my toes and buff off the rough skin…Really simple you might think…yes it would be, had the recent knock to my big toe NOT have taken place. Oh yes couldn’t have happened at a better time could it?Jeez!.

Three days ago, having ignored the knock to a fairly thin and weakened nail I slipped on my Leopard print slipper boots. Something felt wrong so I whipped it off again. Low and behold approximately half of said big toe nail came clean off. Whhhhaaaattt? Didn’t bleed, didn’t hurt just looked bloody odd. Considering it left half a deep blue polish against the now exposed flesh it looked less than funky…Sending a pic alongside a distressed message to a BFF she gave me a suitable amount of sympathy for which I love her. I then decided in my wisdom to go ahead and paint the skin the same colour as the polish! Her response was that it didn’t look half bad from a distance! Result! That’ll do me. No one is going to be closer than from a distance to this toe if I can help it so I might just get away with it. I am pleased with the result and may even add glitter!? My child and hubby are both outraged but then its not their bloody toe is it!

So all I know is me and my half shell toe are going on holiday and no-one needs know that the skin is painted …in fact i might experiment with a half and half two tone look on both big toes just to ring the changes? Too much? Ok then one colour I promise….

When my body and mind are rested and recovered from a tough few months I will be ready to face my next challenge…for that you will just have to watch this space!

This rant / muse is dedicated to one of the most beautiful ladies with the biggest warmest heart….primarily because I pinched this photo from her..she knows who she is and that I love her xxx

beach

When I have sand between my toes and a view of the ocean I will know everything works out as it should in the end….

Much Love

Black Sheep

ps.Happy Holidays xxxx

 

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Will Brexit affect the UK adoption of eastern European migrants’ children?

An old article…well in the world of blogging it might be considered old anyway. (Mid June!) However I read this and felt it worthy of a share. (The point that struck me was that given the recent Changes in Adoption timelines these children would surely be amongst the most vulnerable now they are part of our society. But to my mind there is also the argument that the UK has hundreds of vulnerable children residing in the care system desperate for adoption so whats the right way to go…..food for thought…read on…courtesy of the Guardian….

Ilona, 20, came to Britain from Hungary two years ago to make a better life for herself, and has worked as a hotel chambermaid. An attempt to get a late abortion brought her to the attention of children’s social services. She told social workers that she and her partner did not have the financial means to look after their daughter and were prepared for her to be taken into care and adopted in Britain.

The parents wanted nothing further to do with their child, Annuska, but they did want the best for her and opposed the local authority’s plans to return her to Hungary for adoption or to be looked after by another family member. They didn’t want relatives in Hungary to know about their child or for her to know about her origins and history.

They firmly believe the better life they sought for themselves in Britain should be available to their child. But Hungary regards all children born to Hungarian parents as its nationals and demands the right to decide the fate of those who may be subject to care proceedings or adoption in Britain.

Annuska’s case is far from unique. Across the UK, children’s services have seen growing numbers of complex child protection issues among families from eastern European countries since their accession to the EU.

“Free movement of workers and their families within the European Union has led to many children living, permanently or temporarily, in countries of which they are not nationals. Inevitably, some of them will come to the attention of the child protection authorities because of ill-treatment or neglect, or the risk of it,” Lady Hale said in the supreme court this year in a case of two young Roma girls over whom Hungary wanted jurisdiction.

Until a few years ago, cases of migrant parents voluntarily giving up their children were virtually unknown. Frank Feehan, QC, a barrister and family law specialist, is supporting Ilona’s case to have her daughter adopted in Britain. He says: “Relinquished baby cases number about 20 or 30 a year. We had never heard of these cases a few years ago.” Cross-border care and adoption cases now number hundreds a year, he adds, “almost always from EU accession states”.

Poverty is a common factor. Migrant workers come to escape poverty but find they cannot do so even when they find work. Karen Goodman, professional officer at the British Association of Social Workers, says she is seeing more child protection cases among children of eastern European parentage as a result of poverty and domestic violence, as well as cases like Annuska’s where parents are actively giving up their children to UK authorities because they do not wish them to grow up in their home country.

Cultural and religious concerns are also a factor. Alexandra Conroy Harris, legal consultant for child placement charity CoramBaaf, says social workers became aware of “relinquished children” cases at the time of the first wave of migration from Poland in 2004. If women had unwanted pregnancies, “as Catholics they would not go for terminations. This way [putting them into care] they did not have to tell their families back home”, she explains

Anthony Douglas, chief executive of Cafcass, which provides legal guardians in care cases, warns against the “charged implication that parents come here to offload their children for adoption” as a misuse of EU migration arrangements. He says “relinquished children” are a small proportion of foreign child protection cases. Still, he concedes that the growth in cross-border care proceedings poses big problems for the local authorities concerned. Should children taken into care be fostered or adopted in Britain, or returned to their parents’ home country?

Latvia and Slovakia also take a similar stance to Hungary. They consider they should have the right to decide the fate of all children born to Latvian or Slovakian parents. Relations with all three countries are “highly charged”, says Douglas.

British courts are having to decide whether it is in the child’s best interests to agree to the demands of these countries and allow care decisions to be taken there. According to EU regulations, the best interests of the child are the priority, and the “best placed” jurisdiction for those interests to be decided is usually where the child is habitually resident, unless they have a particular connection with another member state (such as their homeland). Best interests may include considering ethnicity and ensuring children maintain links with their cultural background.

The regulations require British courts to recognise other EU courts and child protection services as not inferior in “competence, diligence, resources or efficacy”. Yet, of course, there are differences, hence the tensions between Britain and some other EU nations. In particular, some of the EU authorities use orphanages more than Britain does and object to Britain’s use of fostering and adoption without parental consent. “We in Britain think foster care is better but we can’t use that as a reason for not sending children back,” says Conroy Harris.

In the case that went to the supreme court, Hungary wanted jurisdiction over two Roma girls aged three and four, who have been fostered in Britain for three years. The foster carers are not an ethnic match and the girls are not learning Hungarian. Their parents, now back in Hungary, have been trying to have them returned to the country.

The case went all the way to the UK supreme court where Lady Hale ruled that from a best interest point of view, the English family court was where the decision about the girls’ future should be made. It would be able to choose from a range of options, whereas a Hungarian court would always exclude care in Britain and reject non-consensual adoption in the UK – even though that might be in the girls’ best interests.

Not all eastern European countries take the same view as Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia. In another case, an Estonian department of children and families official, Ly Ruus, wrote to the English family court: “We are very happy for the baby finding new parents. For a child growing up and being responsible and a good person, it does not matter where you are born and where you live – all that matters is the love and care you get from your parents who will be around you.”

That view is supported by Andrew Webb, the lead on family justice at the Association of Directors of Children’s Services. Cultural roots are important, he says, but babies can develop perfectly well in different circumstances. They should know their life story so they can look for their roots, “but I don’t think that’s the same as making a decision on the basis of the nationality of the child”.

But Feehan believes there is a fundamental problem in Hale’s approach in terms of relations with other EU states. “Courts must be careful when exercising this jurisdiction. It cuts across the traditional principle that legal status should not change unless all parties agree.”

In contrast, Nuala Mole, founder of the Aire Centre, a charity advising on European legal issues, finds Hungary, Latvia and Slovakia’s stance outdated. “The idea that states own their citizens and have the right to make decisions about them is old-fashioned,” she says. Under international law, states are signed up to the primacy of the best interests of children. “The home territory is the EU – not individual countries.”

And if Britain leaves the EU? “British courts wouldn’t have to decide on which jurisdiction is best placed to hear the cases,” says Mole. But she assumes Britain would try to sign up to agreements such as the European Free Trade Association and so the EU legal regime would remain in place.

In Annuska’s case the high court ruled that, despite the EU regulations, her parents had given valid consent for an adoption, so the English family court, not a Hungarian court, can make decisions in her case.

The family court has now heard her case and dismissed the local authority’s application for a care order, which would have resulted in her return to Hungary. Mr Justice Baker said that “such a plan would not be in [Annuska’s] overall interests”. The local authority has therefore confirmed that she will be adopted in England, in accordance with her mother’s wishes.

Baker said: “A move to Hungary would in my judgment be far more disruptive and damaging than an adoptive placement in this country which will involve only one change of carer, no language difficulties, and a transition that can be arranged at a pace and in a way that best meets [Annuska’s] needs.” He accepted those needs included being brought up with an understanding of her background and cultural heritage, and said that “those who arrange her adoption should look carefully to ensure that any proposed adopters are aware of this factor and have the ability and commitment to bring her up with such an understanding”.

As for the two Roma girls, they have been fostered for so long in Britain and have not learned Hungarian, so it seems unlikely they will go back to Hungary even if the UK votes to leave the EU.

Some names have been changed

As you know me by now, I am always banging on about culture and roots so I felt the need to share this piece…I didn’t write it clearly but it hit a nerve….

Much Love

Black Sheep xxx

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