I met with my friend yesterday afternoon and had a long chat about the exact details of her case. Since social services told her that her daughter had been adopted it has been extremely stressful for her as you can imagine. You are right it does seem that there has been a misunderstanding. I am a Chartered Accountant near to retirement so the exact process of all of this is new to me and is very confusing to my friend. She has a lot of papers in connection with the case but she was unable to find the letter from the Judge granting her one year to appeal the Adoption Order. Also she never wrote and complained to the firm of solicitors or the Law Society relating to the procedures the Judge said had not been carried out correctly, she only phoned them as she said she did not know how to formally make a complaint in writing. What a pity. In brief what seems to have happened is this:
We are almost certain there was a Placement Order (though I have not had time to be able to go through all her papers to see it) which her solicitor failed to overturn. After that she went by herself to the High Court and tried to overturn the Placement Order but the Judge told her she needed to go back to the County Court and that she had a year to appeal the "Order". The words "Placement Order" or "Adoption Order" were not used by the Judge she says. I am sure if there had been an Adoption Order the Judge would have made this clear to her and what its implications were. She found all of this confusing and not long after social services phoned and told her that her daughter had been adopted. She understood from this and so did I that social services meant there had been an Adoption Order. However, she has never received any papers from the Court or social services saying that there is an Adoption Order. A few days ago after speaking with me she spoke to someone who had tried to help her earlier on and was told to write to the Court and ask for the "Order" to be revoked. She expects a reply from the Court next week.
In addition a little while ago she phoned social services and asked if she could see her daughter and they said no. She told them she was going to try and get the "Order" revoked and all they said was "oh, okay". They never said you can't do that which from what you are saying if there was an Adoption Order in place they would have told her there is no more you can do. In speaking with social services they did tell her that her daughter was not eating properly and they were concerned about that. Her poor daughter probably can't understand why she is living with "strangers" and not her Mummy and I think the only way she can protest is to refuse to eat. It is extremely sad. Something needs to be done in the interests of her daughter as she must feel "imprisoned".
I hope this extra information will help you to give my friend some guidance on what to do. What I really need too is the name and address and phone number of a solicitor who is a specialist in this area hopefully not too far away from Orpington in Kent where we both live so we can set up a preliminary meeting with them as soon as possible. I wish you could take on the case!
I hope this all helps to make things a little clearer, and as you said time is crucial in all of this. Once you have all the information that you need from me I will edit the price again as I know this is a very complicated matter and has taken a lot, lot longer than I initially thought partly because my friend finds all the technical aspects of the process hard to understand and I must admit so have I, but I think I understand a lot more now than when I first sent my question on 5 August. Many thanks for your help and all of your useful questions. I will complete the survey you sent me at the end of this process.