‘Giving up my baby was biggest mistake of my life’ - Burnley mum

A DYSLEXIC woman whose baby was taken away from her says she is terrified to have another child for fear of going through another ordeal.

Kelly Richards was just 19 and alone when she had her son. She loved him dearly, and not wanting to cause him harm, says she turned for help — and made the biggest mistake of her life.

Said Kelly: “I knew I was dyslexic and was worried I would get measurements mixed up if I had to give my little boy medicines. I would never, ever have hurt him. I didn’t have family to support me so I thought social services might help. It was the worse thing I ever did.

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“It is just as though he is dead. He’s gone, but I know he is alive and living somewhere in Lancashire. I grieve every day and can’t face the thought of it happening all over again.

“I’m dyslexic, not a bad person. I’ve never taken drugs or abused anybody and the only time I have a drink is at Christmas or a birthday, but I never stood a chance.

The photos I have show we were happy and he was not neglected.”

Kelly, now 28, is happily married and would like a family.

She said it had taken her years to come to terms with her emotional turmoil. She has improved her English and maths by attending classes, and intends to start a college course in September, but is still frightened for the future.

“I’m scared”, said Kelly. “My lovely baby is nine years old now. I’ve never seen him. They put him up for adoption and I am allowed to write to a box number once a year. I’d never even heard his voice until recently. When I wrote I asked the adoptive parents if they would make a recording of him talking. It brought tears to my eyes when I played the CD of him playing.

“According to social services I wasn’t a fit mother as I was dyslexic. That is what was written on the paperwork. I would never tell anyone to go to social services for support or help, because you get your child whipped off you.”

Frances Mercer, chairman of the North East Lancashire Dyslexic Association, said teenager Kelly should have been supported and helped. She said: “I can understand there were difficulties for Kelly and fears about how she was managing. Dyslexia is also associated with dyscalculia– difficulty with numbers – and dyspraxia – organisational skills that affect our day-to-day management of life. She needed the correct support and understanding.

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“That is what should have happened. With the correct support she would have been OK.”

A spokesman for Lancashire County Council Social Services Department said: “We never comment on individual cases because of confidentiality, but if this lady would like to get in touch we are more than happy to talk about her concerns and put her mind at ease.”