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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 26 June 2008
A childcare system that is open to bureaucratic spite

• I AM the woman who several years ago opened the loophole allowing fosterers the right to be approved for adoption if they had had that child in residence for 11 months.
My daughter is now almost 15. I met her as a very very ill, vulnerable baby of five weeks.
She is beautiful, funny, sharp and although she is an extremely talented dancer, performing ballet and contemporary at very high standard, she is also talented in other areas.
I challenged Camden’s refusal to allow me to adopt because not only did we all love her very much but we were close to her birth family. Her birth aunt is a very special friend.
If I had not had contact with her family how could she ever know that her mother, at the age of seven, travelled to Dublin to receive the art prize in a contest covering all Ireland?
I discovered that I had not been properly represented at the adoption panel. Then I was told that, despite the law, the borough wanted her to have a new start without her family.
My daughter has a very large Irish family. She has Traveller links. She is described on all her early papers as “white British”. I have challenged this on every level.
She is however not the first Irish Traveller baby/child in my experience to have their backgrounds written off and denied. My daughter has been brought up to be proud of what is the oldest culture.
I did win the privilege of adopting my daughter. But it was at a high cost to her. At the adoption panel she was awarded an adoption allowance. Never has this been paid, despite the fact that she has overcome enormous difficulties and has had to be educated privately. I have been told this is because I challenged Camden, it was then a private adoption. It was never a private adoption. Camden did all the paperwork and were then forced to give their approval.
Adoption is and always should be about the child’s needs. But it is, like everything else, too open to bureaucratic spite and the closed-shop self-congratulatory attitude which pervades all elements of Camden’s childcare system
We have had very hard times but when my daughter spins on her toes and leaps across a floor – or floors hypocrisy with a typical piece of direct Irish comment – it is worth it for me.
I hope it is for her, denied as she has been of the allowances and resources which were hers by right.
Name and address supplied

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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