(SKY NEWS) — A woman who regretted giving her baby girl up for adoption was not properly assessed by her local council beforehand, a judge has said.
The woman, who cannot be named, gave the child up when she was just three hours old.
But she had a change of heart and got her daughter back just before her first birthday, following a court battle with the adoptive parents.
During a family court trial in Cardiff, Mr Justice Francis said the mother had named the little girl and “struggled” to leave her on the day she was born.
Concerns were raised about her mental health two days later.
Saying that litigation had been “necessitated” by the council’s “failings”, the judge said a social worker had “immediately accepted” the woman’s decision to give up the baby.
He added: “In my judgment, they had a duty to discuss this with the mother, in fact with both parents, in detail, before accepting the position rather than actively encouraging them to go through with the adoption.”
The council’s actions had led to “two decent couples” finding themselves “pitted against each other” in litigation they could not have “wished for in their worst nightmares”, he said.
The “human misery” in the court room during the trial had been “palpable”, he continued.
He ruled that the little girl should leave her adoptive parents and return to her biological ones.
Lawyers representing the council had apologised, the judge said.
Details of the case have emerged in a written ruling which has been published online.
The adoptive couple asked Mr Justice Francis to let them make an adoption application but he declined, saying it was “bound to fail”.
“Prospective adopters, who are selected to accept a relinquished baby from hospital, should be informed they will need to be robust because of the possibility that the parents may change their minds,” he said.
Mr Justice Francis said that no-one involved in the case – including the council – could be identified, but did say the council was a “Welsh local authority”.