In yet another case of racial discrimination, a British-Sikh couple were refused permission to adopt a white child because of their “cultural heritage” and told to adopt a child from India instead. Sandeep and Reena Mander, British-born business professionals from Berkshire, said they had wanted to adopt a child of any ethnic background. But they were told that, as only white children were in need, white British or European applicants would be given preference, meaning they were unlikely to be selected.The Manders, both in their 30s, allege that they were told to adopt a child from India instead.
“Giving an adopted child – no matter what race – the security of a loving home was all we wanted to do,” Sandeep Mander said. “What we didn’t expect was a refusal for us to even apply for adoption, not because of our incapability to adopt, but because our cultural heritage was defined as ‘Indian/Pakistani’,” The Times quoted him as saying
Adoption agencies are allowed to prioritise on the basis of race in order to match children to prospective parents of the same ethnic background. But the government has also said that a child’s ethnicity should not be a barrier to adoption. The Manders, whose cause has been taken up by Prime Minister Theresa May as their local MP, will take their case to court.
They are applying to Slough County Court, seeking declaration that the policy should allow them to adopt. The Manders had an assessment and home visit from Adopt Berkshire, an agency run by the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead (RBWM), last year.
They were allegedly told that, while in other respect they would be suitable adoptive parents, they could not apply because only white children were available for adoption an therefore white couples would be given priority. “What we didn’t expect was a refusal for us to even apply for adoption, not because of our incapability to adopt, but because our cultural heritage was defined an Indian/Pakistani,” he said.
Adopt Berkshire has not commented on the allegations but its website says that it welcomes applicants from different cultural, religious and sexual backgrounds.