Glimmer of hope for parents as court halts ‚forced adoption‘ of their 18-month-old daughter

By Daily Mail Reporter Last updated at 3:31 PM on 12th April 2010

A couple who fled to Spain to prevent their unborn child being taken away by social services were today battling to prevent their eldest child being adopted. The British pair, who gave themselves the pseudonyms Jim and Carissa Smith to protect their identities, lost their daughter Poppy when she was just 11 weeks old after they were declared unfit parents. When Carissa became pregnant for a second time, the couple fled to Spain where she gave birth to a baby boy in February. He is now being held by Spanish child protection workers. Battle: The couple with their son in Spain, before he was taken into care, have won the right to battle the decision for their eldest daughter to be adopted Today the European Court halted the forced adoption of their daughter, who is now 18 months old. The court will decide if Suffolk County Council have the right to permanently place her with another family after taking her away from her parents. Jim and Carissa are hoping that a win will start the ball rolling in their fight to get their daughter back. ‚It has taken us 18 months to get the go ahead from the EU Court,‘ said Jim. ‚But it means Suffolk Social Services should stop Poppy’s adoption until sufficient time has been allowed for our case to be heard. ‚We had reached a point of utter despair. Time was running out to get Poppy back but thankfully the Court of Human Rights has recognised our plight and will give us a fair chance to fight for our children. ‚Finally, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel we’ve been stuck in since Poppy was taken.‘ Their daughter known as Poppy, has already been at the centre of a legal battle to decide who should care for her. The family’s case has been taken up by Conservative MP Tim Yeo, who said there was no justification for the intervention and accused Suffolk Social Services of being ‚child kidnappers‘. He used parliamentary privilege in November to accuse Suffolk County Council of ‚actively seeking opportunities to remove babies from their mothers‘. He described how social workers began monitoring Carissa and Jim after the birth of their daughter in August 2008. They waited until Jim, a lorry driver, was out at work one day to swoop on the couple’s home with police and ’snatch the baby from the arms of her mother‘. In the ensuing legal battle, the council repeatedly changed its grounds for intervening, alternating between blaming one parent and then the other. Carissa was accused of having factitious disorder – a condition in which sufferers feign illness Her parents tried to regain custody of her but lost their appeal and it was decided she would be adopted. So when Carissa fell pregnant again, the couple sought refuge in Spain, taking £400 in savings along with their battered car. Their son is now with Spanish child protection agency workers after they took him from his mother at two weeks old, allegedly after their British counterparts sent documents highlighting the couple’s case to every hospital in the country. The couple now face an anxious wait to find out if the European Court say Suffolk County Council has the legal right to permanently place their daughter with the adoptive family. Jim, who is now a legal advocate for other families fighting forced adoptions and runs five online blogs documenting the evidence for his plight, said: ‚Our lives were destroyed by British social services, and we won’t rest until this terrible wrong is righted.‘ Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1265416/Glimmer-hope-parents-cou…