Blackpool grandma 'heartbroken' after being told to say last goodbye to grandchildren as they are put up for adoption

A Blackpool woman whose grandchildren were taken into care after their mum was deemed unable to look after them says she has been left heartbroken by a court’s decision to put the vulnerable youngsters up for adoption – meaning she will not be allowed to see them until they turn 18.

By Wes Holmes
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 1:32 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:58 pm

'Abigail', six, 'Zoe', three, and 'William', two, were taken into care in March last year after their maternal grandmother raised concerns about her daughter's struggles with alcohol addiction and mental illness.*

Now a court has ruled the children – who faced being split up due to a shortage of Blackpool foster carers – will be put up for adoption, and may not be allowed see their biological family if their adoptive parents object to it.

The law does not give grandparents any automatic rights to see their grandchildren

Their grandma said: “I’ll get one letter a year to send to the children, but I’m not even allowed to write 'love from nanny and grandad'. I won't be allowed to see them face to face until they're 18. I could be dead by then. It's just heartbreaking.”

She added that she fears the children may also lose each other, as social services say Zoe and William could be separated from Abigail if they are unable to find guardians willing to adopt all three of them after six months.

“They have been separated, put back together for a few weeks, and now they’re going to be separated again – so it’s all up in the air at the moment,” their grandma said.

"On Friday I was told I had to say goodbye that afternoon. I had not even prepared myself for it. I hadn’t even been able to prepare a memory box or anything for the children to remember me by.

"I went to Blackpool Council office and they decided they were going to give me another meeting because I hadn’t been informed.

“They said they have six month window to find adoptive parents for them. After the six months, if no one comes forward they will try to have Zoe and William adopted together and Abigail would be separated from them and put into long-term care. They think it’s easier for two of them to be adopted than three, and Abigail is less likely to be adopted because of her age.

“My daughter has no chance of having them back. Because she has mental health problems and she has been drinking, there's no chance to get them back at all. Now my fear is that they will be adopted and I’m never going to see them again.

"I'm constantly tearful. It's unfair on the kids because they know me, I’ve always been there for them, and yet I can’t even see them any more.”

Grandparents do not have automatic rights to see their grandchildren under UK law. If a grandchild is adopted, an order stating that the child may spend time with their birth grandparents may be made – however, this is extremely rare.

A spokesman for Blackpool Council, said: “Whilst we cannot comment on individual cases due to confidentiality, all decisions are carefully decided by a judge and are made in the best interests of a child. These decisions are informed by an advocate who represents children within the legal system.”

*Names have been changed to protect the children's identities