Given this dogma, one wonders how the severance of the above-referenced child's ties to her grandmother is truly taking all aspects of her welfare into consideration. The above ruling also begs the question of whether or not the court proceeding was in keeping with section 8 of the European Convention on the Protection of Human and Fundamental Freedoms 1950. Indeed, Diduck and Kaganas may be correct in their statement that "the complete replacement of one family with another may be out of step with human rights ideals. It may also be out of step with changing family practice' (Diduck and Kaganas, 2006).
Current adoption laws in the United Kingdom stem from the Adoption Act of 1976, which was revised under the Children's Act of 1989. Further amendments were created with the Adoption and Children Act of 2002 and the Children and Adoption Act of 2006.
From the time of the Adoption of Children Act in 1926, the majority of children adopted in the United Kingdom were infants. There was an explosion of abandoned infants after World War I. Women having affairs with soldiers while either unmarried or with husbands away at war led to many illegitimate births. These women, and the women who had taken care of these children were now working in factories. A better solution than abandonment was found in adoptions. The focus of these adoptions was twofold; adoption provided relief for unmarried mothers, and it allowed married couples, unable to conceive, to become parents. Most adoptions were closed and cloaked in secrecy. The 'clean break' these types of adoptions created was thought to be the best way for infants to create bonds of attachment to their new parents.
The last several decades have seen many changes in social thinking and behavior. Some of these new ideas have led to drastic changes in the types and needs of adopted children. Illegitimacy and unwed mothers no longer carry the social stigma they once did, and many religions have grown more tolerant of these people, welcoming them whereas before they would have been shunned. As a result, more women are choosing to keep their infant children to raise themselves. New legislation has made divorce easier to obtain, thus there has been a growing number of single parents. Legislation has also allowed more women to obtain abortions for unplanned or unwanted pregnancies.
2 See Keating's discussion on the underlying issues of the enactment of the 1926 Adoption of Children Act.
3 Keating provides reasoning behind the clean break ideas of early adoption. For the opposing view, see Norrie (pg20).
RUNNING HEAD: Aligning Adoption Law with Human Rights Ideals
These social changes, along with the wide spread use of more effective contraceptives, have caused the number of infancy adoptions to sharply decline since 1970.4
At the same time, adoptions of looked-after or foster children have increased. In 1975, 7% of all