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(1)The court cannot dispense with the consent of any parent or guardian of a child to the child being placed for adoption or to the making of an adoption order in respect of the child unless the court is satisfied that—
(a)the parent or guardian cannot be found or is incapable of giving consent, or
(b)the welfare of the child requires the consent to be dispensed with.
(2)The following provisions apply to references in this Chapter to any parent or guardian of a child giving or withdrawing—
(a)consent to the placement of a child for adoption, or
(b)consent to the making of an adoption order (including a future adoption order).
(3)Any consent given by the mother to the making of an adoption order is ineffective if it is given less than six weeks after the child’s birth.
(4)The withdrawal of any consent to the placement of a child for adoption, or of any consent given under section 20, is ineffective if it is given after an application for an adoption order is made.
(5)“Consent” means consent given unconditionally and with full understanding of what is involved; but a person may consent to adoption without knowing the identity of the persons in whose favour the order will be made.
(6)“Parent” (except in subsections (9) and (10) below) means a parent having parental responsibility.
(7)Consent under section 19 or 20 must be given in the form prescribed by rules, and the rules may prescribe forms in which a person giving consent under any other provision of this Part may do so (if he wishes).
(8)Consent given under section 19 or 20 must be withdrawn—
(a)in the form prescribed by rules, or
(b)by notice given to the agency.
(9)Subsection (10) applies if—
(a)an agency has placed a child for adoption under section 19 in pursuance of consent given by a parent of the child, and
(b)at a later time, the other parent of the child acquires parental responsibility for the child.
(10)The other parent is to be treated as having at that time given consent in accordance with this section in the same terms as those in which the first parent gave consent.
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