Boy reunited with Essex Police officers who helped change his life

Oct 19, 2016, 02:58 PM

A boy, removed as a toddler from a home where he had been neglected, has been reunited with the Essex Police officers who helped change his life.

Harry (not his real name) has gone on to live a happy life after being successfully adopted into a loving family through Essex County Council’s Adoption Service.

The schoolboy, 11, was joined by his adoptive parents for the emotional reunion which coincides with National Adoption Week.

Dc Adam Stevenson and Police Community Support Officer Hayley Howe were on a routine night-shift in the Colchester area back in April 2009 when they were sent to investigate an anonymous tip-off that a young boy was being neglected and left alone.

When the pair arrived at the house, no-one appeared to be at home. But in an upstairs room – which was padlocked from the outside – they found a three-year-old boy.

The tot had been left alone in a room in complete darkness and very poor conditions.

PCSO Howe instantly cuddled and comforted the young boy whilst Dc Stevenson began making enquiries to locate his parents and get the boy into temporary foster care.

Recalling the moment they made the discovery, Dc Stevenson said: “We found this little chap on his knees.

“I remember looking around the room seeing nothing for a child, no toys, no furniture, just him on the floor. He just looked at us, wanting to be cared for and cuddled. “I’ve always wondered what he was doing and if he was okay.”

PCSO Howe added: “After we had taken him back to the police station and given him food I had to hand him over to the social worker. It was so hard not knowing what was going to happen to him.”

The two officers have wondered for years about the toddler they found that night and were delighted to hear he had been adopted, was leading a happy life and wanted to meet them.

PCSO Howe added: “Just to know he is now doing really well, let alone meeting him, has been amazing.”

At an emotional reunion at Essex Police’s Chelmsford headquarters, Harry and his parents met both officers to thank them.

Harry said: “They changed my life because without Adam and Hayley I wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have been adopted by my dads.”

His father Steve added: “This has been so special, without Hayley and Adam and people like them who knows what would have happened to Harry.”

Harry’s adoptive parents Steve and Paul now help Essex County Council’s Adoption Service train and prepare other new adoptive parents. Harry also supports the training by speaking to new parents about the experience from his perspective.

Steve added: “The experience of adopting a child has been an incredible adventure. It has brought so many exciting hurdles and challenges to our life.

“People say we changed Harry’s life but he has changed our world. We were just a couple and now, through adoption, we are a family and Harry has given us purpose.”

Essex Police’s Chief Constable Stephen Kavanagh said: “My officers routinely face heart-breaking situations such as the one in which they found Harry.

“They don’t expect thanks, so for Hayley and Adam to be thanked in person by Harry and to see how well he is doing with his adoptive family is amazing, I’m very proud of them.”

Cllr David Finch, Leader of Essex County Council, added: “What Harry experienced was truly shocking but I am delighted to hear how well he is now doing. “His story is a fantastic example of how authorities in Essex are working closely together to protect children and ensure they get the best possible start in life. “Adopters also play an integral part and National Adoption Week is the ideal time to recognise their contribution. It is also a good opportunity to consider whether you could give a child a loving home by becoming an adopter yourself.” Essex County Council helps find families for dozens of children every year and is currently looking for a loving home for more than 20 young children. National Adoption Week takes place from Octob...