With the controversy over forced adoptions of Portuguese children in UK still a major issue, at home a ruling by Supreme Court judges has finally seen a baby taken by social services 48-hours after his birth, returned to a delighted mother who remains battling for the custody of two older children.
Lígia Silva has been talking to reporters, and is due to appear in a TV exposé on her plight later this evening (Thursday).
For now, she is simply “a happy woman”, she told Jornal de Notícias – adding that she couldn’t believe the moment she was told five-month-old Rafael would finally be returned to her.
The story, that goes back to September 2016, actually saw Supreme Court judges recognise the illegality of the baby’s removal almost a month ago, and demand his “immediate” return to Silva. But due to a decision by Family Court judges to prolong the baby’s stay in foster care that did not happen until yesterday (Wednesday, February 9).
Silva is now intent on winning the same victory with her two elder children, aged two and six.
She has been telling reporters how initially she “didn’t know what to do” when her children were taken from her home in S. Mamede de Infesta, but bit by bit, with the help of her lawyer, she managed to calm down and start the long fight to get them home.
JN adds that the social worker in charge of Silva’s case has since been ‘removed’ from it.
Lawyer Aníbal Pinto told the paper yesterday that the four months that Silva and Rafael have been separated have been an “eternity” for the 33-year-old mother.
But the case does suggest that when parents challenge bad decisions, progress can be made.
(Since this news broke, the family court has stressed that the baby’s return has been made on the condition that it remains at the home of Silva’s mother.)
Meantime, lawyer Pedro Proença is busily trying to help Portuguese mothers caught out by forced adoptions in UK, and has already succeeded in winning back children in two cases (click here).