A young Scottish mother was forced to flee her home while pregnant with her third child after social workers, who took her two children from her, deemed her “too dumb” to be a mother.
Kerry McDougall, 22, and her husband, Mark McDougall, 31, had their young sons taken away and placed with a foster family 200 miles from them. Now the couple, who fled their home to avoid another encounter with social workers, fears that because of McDougall’s learning difficulties, they’ll lose custody of their newborn as well.
“They’d already been taken from us. The social workers think because I can’t spell long words I’m incapable of love or caring for children,” McDougall said. “I can’t describe how it feels to know your children are somewhere else and are unhappy. I just have to trust one day we’ll get them back.”
McDougall, born with a cleft palate that resulted in speech problems until the age of six, was diagnosed with “mild to moderate” learning difficulties that impair her ability to read and write. Her issues are mostly academic, and have virtually no impact on her ability to function and care for her children. She cooks, cleans and looks after the family’s home.
The young mother said she and her husband were tricked into returning to Scotland after they’d moved to Ireland with their boys.
“We’d been living happily in southern Ireland for three years and the authorities there thought we were good parents,” she said. “We were led to believe that was proof enough for us to be left alone if we moved back. But Fife social services betrayed us.” Irish authorities reportedly deemed the couple to be fit parents, despite Scotland deciding otherwise.
"We moved to Ireland because we knew we’d have a better chance of keeping the boys — they don’t have forced adoption,” McDougall said. “When we got there, the social workers monitoring us couldn’t understand why Fife had such a problem. They gradually withdrew their involvement and then left us alone to look after our boys. We were happy and healthy — all of us. Mark had a job and I would take the boys out every day, to the park, swimming, or for walks. Come rain or shine, we got our wellies [sic] on and went jumping in puddles. Life was everything we wanted, except we weren’t back home.”
McDougall and her husband watched as their two sons were taken away by Scottish social workers, and the distraught mother said she felt as though she “failed” them by not acting on their son Sean’s pleas and moving away sooner.
“I did my best to be a good mum. I never smoked, drank or did drugs. They were always clean, never hungry and were happy, happy boys. It wasn’t enough,” she said. “For weeks before they were taken Sean begged for us to move so the social workers couldn’t take him away. I feel we failed him by not doing so sooner.”
McDougall's husband admitted that things have been difficult without his children, but said that the couple plans to keep fighting to bring their family back together.
“I’ve been low — there have been times I didn’t think I could go on,” he said. “The only thing that keeps me going is being with Kerry, and hoping we’ll get the boys back where they belong.”
Source: Mirror Online / Photo Credit: mirror.co.uk