Socio-Legal Research: Looking Beyond Black Letter Law in the Context of Birth Mothers’ Rights in Adoption Proceedings
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This article explores the experiences that birth mothers face in adoption proceedings within a socio-legal context. With analysis of data from interviews with 32 birth mothers synthesised with the relevant provisions of the Adoption and Children Act 2002, it is argued that ingrained unfairness and a lack of accountability exists in the legal and administrative system where birth mothers’ rights are concerned. Analysis extends to the social problems of blame and stigmatizing of birth mothers which originates from those agencies involved in the adoptions. It highlights the perspectives and voices of birth mothers, who are seldom the focus in leading discourses of professional practice in this area. This research moves some way towards equalising this disparity by acknowledging their experiences and arguing that what they have to say should be noted by professionals involved in adoption practice. The findings demonstrate the interrelationship between birth mothers and the law, with critical examination of the results in relation to previous research and jurisprudence from the family courts and the European Court of Human Rights, both of which demand fairness and proportionality in adoption proceedings.
Deblasio, L. (2019). 'Socio-Legal Research: Looking Beyond Black Letter Law in the Context of Birth Mothers’ Rights in Adoption Proceedings', The Plymouth Law & Criminal Justice Review, p. 22-45.