Letter: Adoption obstacles

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Adoption obstacles

Sir: Two matters related to the well-being of children which you have recently aired in your columns are not unrelated: the prevalence of abuse and the obstructions put in the way of couples anxious to adopt.

Single girls who allow themselves to become pregnant often make excellent mothers for small babies; but they are less competent in coping with obstreperous toddlers, especially when they enter into - as they naturally will - new liaisons with men who are not the fathers of their children.

Where social workers have gone off the rails in relation to adoption is in attempting to set absolute standards of suitability when they should be deciding between the actual options available at the time for the placement of a particular child; the unobtainable best becoming the enemy of an achievable good, however less than perfect.

There is also a lot to be said for the two "mothers" meeting before the handover. No natural mother can be happy in transferring her child to the care of an unknown stranger, while the adopting mother needs to be able to say to the child that the natural mother handed him/her over for their sake, not hers, and was in tears at parting

The nation simply cannot afford - morally, socially or financially - to allow considerable numbers of its children to be damaged beyond repair. It is absurd to be spending huge amounts of NHS money on fertility when so many children are being conceived and reared in circumstances that militate against their achieving real maturity. These are our children whose work as adults will furnish our pensions. We are being neither hard- headed nor soft-hearted enough to cope with their needs sensibly.