When there are care proceedings brought by social services, the court will wish to end up with a plan which ensures that the children are cared for to a good enough standard throughout the whole of their childhood.
Alternative options are looked at simultaneously in order to save time.
However, the court will first of all want to establish whether or not children can be cared for to a good enough standard by at least one of their parents.
If children cannot be returned their parents then the court will want to understand whether any other family members could be long-term carers. This might include grandparents, older siblings or aunts/uncles. Sometimes very close family friends might also be considered. Anyone wanting to be considered as a carer for children will need to be fully assessed.
If children cannot be placed in their family, then the court will consider alternative options.
For younger children this normally means adoption. The older children adoption is often unrealistic and the long-term plan is usually one of long-term foster care.
The court will only approve a pathway to adoption if nothing else will do as a way of providing satisfactory long-term care for children.
Adoption changes legal relationships. The adopters become the children’s parents. The children’s birth parents become their former parents. The birth parents lose parental responsibility.
When consideration is given to postadoption contact, the contact isn’t about the birth parent (or grandparent) and their relationship with the child.
The court will wish to ensure that nothing happens which might undermine the security of the adoption. It is highly unlikely that postadoption contact would be ordered against the wishes of the adoptive parents.
Contact between the child and their birth parents can sometimes serve a positive purpose. This is to assist the child in understanding their identity. Such identity contact can be helpful to a child as they grow up. However, in terms of frequency, you are only looking at once or twice a year most.
In most cases when children are adopted the contact will be letterbox contact. This means that the parent sends an annual message to the children (but may get nothing in return).
Sometimes if a grandparent has a particularly close relationship with a child and was not possible to put themselves forward as a carer (perhaps for health reasons) there might be a greater level of postadoption contact – but it would be very unlikely that the level of contact would be very much.
So a short answer to the question – if my children are adopted will I be able to see them? Is probably not.
The best way to ensure that you see your children/grandchildren after care proceedings is to work together with social services to ensure that the children are returned home/placed within the family.