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Swedish couple forced to give back adopted son

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06:49 CEST+02:00
A couple from western Sweden was forced to give up their adopted son when his biological mother changed her mind eight months after giving him up for adoption.

The couple, which had spent years trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant, finally decided to join the queue to adopt a baby.

In April 2010, they learned that a young woman had decided to put her soon-to-be born child up for adoption, the Dagens Juridik newspaper reports.

Within hours of the boy's birth on June 1st, 2010, the couple arrived at the maternity ward to pick up the newborn.

"We were overjoyed," the adoptive mother told the newspaper.

"We were the first parents he got to meet. His biological father wasn't around and his birth mother didn't want to hold him," said the adoptive father.

While the adoptive parents cared for their new son, they continued to work through the lengthy administrative process associated with finalising the adoption.

In August, the boy's biological mother signed the consent forms confirming that she wanted to give him up for adoption.

But in February, the biological mother had changed her mind and withdrew her consent.

And because the adoption wasn't finalised, the biological mother had the right to reclaim the boy, according to Gunilla Cederström, an investigator with Sweden's National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen).

"As far as I can tell from previous legal cases, someone who has custody can take back their consent up until the adoption is finalised, in other words, when the court has ruled on the adoption and the ruling has come into force," she told Dagens Juridik.

The biological mother's sudden change of heart has dealt a crushing blow to the parents who had cared for the boy for the last eight months.

Not only must they give up the boy, but they were also required to take an active role in helping him get to know the biological mother he's never met.

"It feels like we're being mocked. We supposed to help her bond with our beloved child, who they now want to take from us," the adoptive mother told the newspaper.

The boy was handed back to his biological parents in April and they now have joint custody of him.

In the wake of the decision, the adoptive parents want to see a review of Sweden's adoption laws to ensure they have the child's best interests in mind.

"We're not saying that a single girl who once chose to give up her child for adoption is unfit to be a mother, but we want the law to require a thorough investigation to see what is best for the child," they told Dagens Juridik.

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