LONDON – In a radical twist to the adoption law in the country, unmarried couples or same sex couples will now be allowed to adopt a child. This shake-up is the biggest in 30 years and came into effect from Friday. LONDON – In a radical twist to the adoption law in the country, unmarried couples or same sex couples will now be allowed to adopt a child. This shake-up is the biggest in 30 years and came into effect from Friday.
The Adoption and Children Act was passed by the Parliament in 2002, but was implemented only yesterday. Under this law, adoption is no longer limited to married couples or single persons. Prior to the law coming into effect, unmarried people in England and Wales adopted individually, thereby depriving parental rights to their partners. Basically, the modification of the adoption law is aimed at increasing the number of potential people interested in adoption at a time when there is a paucity of the same.
“Adoption is no longer about adopting babies relinquished by unmarried mothers, but much more about finding permanent families who are committed to children who are in public care,” commented Felicity Collier, the chief executive of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. “Opening up adoption to unmarried partners will encourage more people to consider adoption.”
She added that this move came at an important time when many children were waiting to be taken up for adoption. The Act also introduced “special guardianship” rules under which the adoptive parents can apply to take care of the children until they are 18 years old. Additionally, parents who gave up their children for adoption can now trace them through a third party provided the child in question approves it.
“There’s a generation of unmarried mothers who actually have lived wanting to know desperately whether the child they gave up for adoption is alive or dead,” said Pam Hodgkins, chief executive of the National Adoption Agency. She added that children usually feared this process since they felt they would be rejected again.