Holiday abroad before adoption order

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Our daughter was placed with us in March and is doing brilliantly. Before being linked we had booked an overseas holiday for the end of August. The courts are processing the paperwork for the AO now, but we don't yet have a date for the hearing. Social services have said that they will apply for a passport for us, and would like us to be able to go, however will NOT give permission if the AO has not been granted. The reason they have given is that if there is an accident or she falls ill then we may have to contact them for permission to give her medical treatment (obviously emergency treatment would be given anyway). We really want to go on this holiday, and have another child to consider as well. If we thought our daughter couldn't cope with it then we would not have asked, indeed the social workers have no qualms with that. My question is, is there anything we can do? Can they give us any more parental responsibility so that they can give us permission to take her? This must have been an issue within foster families and other adoptive families I'm sure. Does anybody have any advice please? Thank you.

I'll also post this on the adopters board.

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We took our long term foster child (now adopted) on holiday with us. We gave them a year's notice. I had to research getting a passport for a looked after child (as they didn't know). I printed it off, and highlighted what needed to be done in her case, and did a bullet point 'to do list'. Even then they didn't get on with it. It took a change of SW (to a fab one who stayed with us for years right up to adoption) for it to be sorted in the nick of time. As she was Section 20 at the time, the parental responsibility needed to come from birth family. They were willing, but needed SW to chase up and sign relevant stuff. I am sure that the LA would have given permission had she been on a care order at the time. Lots of foster children go abroad with their foster carers. So it should not be any different to you.

I recently had a conversation with a solicitor who says that (long term) foster children can sue for breach of human rights if they weren't entitled to things (like being able to join in holidays with foster family). We didn't investigate this further, but I am sure the LA in your case are on dodgy ground. You could check with an adoption solicitor (but it may cost you!).

I presume if you are still pre adoption order you could contact the IRO who does the LAC reviews (although they are not that really that independent, they should have the child's best interests at heart. Or if papers are in court has a guardian been appointed?

Our holiday insurance covered ANY child who was travelling with us, own children or foster children, so that shouldn't be a problem.

If you can get a passport, all you would really need was a covering letter to say that the child was about to be adopted and that X local authority gave permission for her to travel with her prospective adopters.

Good luck!

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P.S. you have shared parental responsibility for her NOW. I am sure that the hospital who would treat her in the event of an accident would treat on your say so. They would not even necessarily know that you don't have full parental responsibility. But what would happen if she had an accident at a weekend or in the night in this country? Their office wouldn't be open. As foster parents we eventually had devolved parental authority for emergency medical stuff anyway. So it really should not be a problem for them to sort out. Can you ask their legal team to advise you?

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It might be different for you if your LO has no extra needs but we had a letter from ss to say that we could sign anything and we just had to phone ss if ours went into hospital. I know we were only staying in this country but I'm sure they can do it for abroad. We also had to tell them where we were staying, have you booked the holiday in their birth name so it would match their passport? Even if you holiday in this country they could hurt themselves, become ill etc so it's a bit poor excuse not giving permission as the SW is not on call 24hrs and so you still have to phone out of hours. They can give permission over the phone for anything. Maybe speak to SW manager and see if they can help?

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They can't refuse you permission, you have a right to family life, as Bermuda says. The PR is a smokescreen, in the event of something serious happening and you all being out for the count, no one stops life saving treatment to check there is agreement.

You can't suddenly be given more PR. You have limited PR shared three ways with SS and birth parents.

HOWEVER if your holiday is in 6/7 weeks time I would say you've left it far too late to apply for a passport for her. Getting a passport in her birth name requires a copy of her full birth cert, all her birth mothers details, including her full birth cert (copy) so that needs getting. If birth mum was born after 1982 you need maternal grandmas long birth cert copy too to prove right to British passport. The SW may not know where birth mum or birth grandma were born to provide the info to get the copies. The copies all cost money so someone in SS is going to have to sanction the costs of several birth cert copies and a passport (probably around £120 by the time they've finished) Then they need to complete the form, someone needs to sign it who knows birth mum (usually a senior SW). You hope to goodness they haven't made a mistake (one of my foster child's was rejected THREE times). Then it takes usually 2-3 weeks at this time of year and can be longer.

Believe me I've done this, I ended up having to put my two fosling in respite care 12 HOURS before we were due to leave for holiday, it was horrible. I spent the first day of my holiday crying on and off cos I felt so awful for dumping a 6 month old and 16 month old with complete strangers when they'd only been with us two months.

None of this will be priority work for the SW. She has a case load, a lot of essential work to do, many staff will be on leave or about to go on leave. You will be incredibly lucky for them to turn this into a new passport for a LAC for whom the AO is pending (and that almost certainly won't be an option either cos it's usually a wait of several weeks for the long adoption cert, even the short one can take a couple of weeks).

Cancel now would be my advice, I think it's very unlikely this will be sorted in six weeks.

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