The mother of two children who are being adopted by gay men even though their grandparents want to care for them wept yesterday as she told of her final meeting with her son and daughter.
‘I told them, “Listen, Mummy is not going to see you for a while”,’ she said. Her son replied: ‘But Mummy, I want to come and stay with you and Granny and Grandad.’
The row over the future of the five-year-old boy and four-year-old girl intensified yesterday after the Daily Mail revealed details of the heartbreaking case. Their grandparents spent two years fighting for the right to care for the children, whose 26-year-old mother is a recovering heroin addict. She desperately wanted her parents to look after them.
But social workers said their ages – he is 59 and she is 46 – and their health – he has angina and she is diabetic – ruled them out.
The mother told the Mail that she had been ordered to say her goodbyes to the children last August during a trip to Edinburgh Zoo. ‘They told me not to cry and be strong so as not to upset the children,’ she said. ‘How can you tell a mother that when she’s never going to see her children again?’
She voiced her anger at the decision to allow her son and daughter to be fostered by a homosexual couple.
‘I did not under any circumstances want my children to be placed with gay men. I wanted them to have a mum and a dad.
‘They can’t be telling me that, within a 60-mile radius, the only people they could find to look after my children were two men.
‘I’ve got nothing against gay people. I’ve got gay friends, but children need a mum and a dad, not a dad and another dad.
I’m ashamed of what I’ve done, especially what I’ve put mum and dad through because they have been brilliant every step of the way.
‘My children deserve so much love and my mum and dad were prepared to give them it, but social work snatched them away.
‘They are a mum and dad in a million and I know they would have brought my children up brilliantly.’
The mother also revealed that social workers have asked her to meet the gay couple under their supervision. But she will not see her children – or be allowed to know where they are going to be living.
The Mail revealed yesterday how the grandparents had fought a relentless battle for the right to look after the youngsters after deciding their daughter was unfit to do so.
But they were opposed every step of the way by Edinburgh’s social work department, which believed they should go to an adoptive family.
When the grandparents eventually caved in to what they describe as ‘bully tactics’ by the social workers, the department arranged for the children to be adopted by a gay couple in the Edinburgh area. They had already decided that, whatever the outcome of the battle, the children should not see their mother owing to her unstable lifestyle and history of offences.
Recalling her final, 90-minute meeting with her children, the mother said: ‘I was told that this would be the last time. They asked me to pick a place to take them and I decided on the zoo. The social worker was with me and kept saying to me I would have to tell them I was not going to see them any more and that I had to stay strong for their sakes.
‘At one point she said that my son was the spitting image of my mum and my daughter looked like her grandad. What kind of thing is that to say at a moment like that, when I’m about to tell them I won’t see them again?
‘I told them that I loved them and I would write them lots of letters and cards and that they would be going to a new house soon.
‘I got really upset and had to keep turning away so that they didn’t see me crying. The social worker said, “Just leave it there”. Ten minutes later, that was it.’
But the mother still had to help put the children in the social worker’s car. ‘My son grabbed me tightly on the leg and and would not let me go. It was just absolutely devastating.’
She said that the heartrending last meeting had happened while her parents were still fighting for full parental rights for the brother and sister, who have been staying with foster parents for the last two years pending a decision on their future.
Her parents’ last meeting with the children came two months later in October. By then, under mounting pressure from the social work department and concerned about months or years of further disruption to their lives, they had taken the agonising decision to withdraw from the legal fight.
The grandfather, a farm worker, and his wife say the social work department are effectively blackmailing them by telling them they will not see the children again unless they give the new adoptive arrangements their blessing.
Although the family desperately want to reverse the adoption procedure they do not now know how they can. Their previous solicitor has moved to a new job and would be unable to represent them in her current role. They would also need to reapply for legal aid before taking any action – and time is running out.
The children have already had several meetings with the men who are soon to become their full-time fathers. They are understood to be seeing them for a few hours daily and have recently visited their home. The men are giving them a bedroom each – and the girl’s has been decked out with a ‘princess’ bedspread. The children have also been shown the wellington boots waiting for them at the back door when they want to play outside.
Under the adoption procedure, the children will see more and more of the gay couple, spending occasional nights in their home, until they move in permanently. The social work department will remain in contact with the new parents for the first year of adoption – then, providing there are no serious problems, contact will cease.
Thereafter the only official channel the children’s natural family will have for making contact with them would be through an adoption agency. The mother said: ‘The social worker told me the kids are getting on really well with them. My daughter had apparently said to the social worker, “Come up and see my princess bed”. I just feel totally devastated.
Now they want me to meet the men. Social work phoned me to ask how I was feeling now about them being adopted by a gay couple and if I had calmed down.
‘They told me that out of the couples they had on their books they were the ones who were able to cater for their needs best. I find that very hard to believe. I’ll have to say that to them when I meet them because it’s how I feel, but I don’t want the whole thing to become an argument. I will have lots of questions to ask them.’
Councillor Marilyne MacLaren, convener for education, children and families at Edinburgh City Council, said: ‘I have been assured that the professional view is that the adoptive couple will provide a safe, secure and loving environment for these children.
‘These are always very complex cases but I think it is important to say that the grandparents have been fully involved in discussions about this case over a period of time.’
Authorities place adopted children with two gay men