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to think that being so ideologically pure won't help these kids?

(78 Posts)
upsylazy Tue 04-Jan-11 12:18:35

DH and I have begun to very tentatively think about fostering/adopting when DCs are older. I have been looking at a few adoption websites and there are a couple where they basically "advertise" kids up for adoption or fostering. I know that the current practice is to match children's ethnic and cultural background with their adoptive parents. While I totally agree with this in theory, the reality is that many children from minority ethnic backgrounds remain in care because they can't find a "matching" family.However, like I said, I do agree with the principle. What has made me really angry is that I've seen 2 children recently where it is specified that they can only be adopted by parents from the same RELIGIOUS background as the child. One of them is a Muslim and one is Jewish. Also, both of them have major special needs - one has autism and a severe learning disability and the other has Down syndrome and is nearly blind. It is hard enough to find people willing to adopt these kind of children without narrowing prospective adopters down to a minority religion (there are only 300,000 Jewish people in the UK. AIBU?

altinkum Tue 04-Jan-11 12:22:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

gordyslovesheep Tue 04-Jan-11 12:25:44

I agree with your point - I do think that those 'rules' exist for very good reasons but professionals also need to be able to judge on an individual level

there should be room for common sense and professional judgement

BootyMum Tue 04-Jan-11 12:32:21

I don't really agree with this.... Whose stipulation is it that the child be raised Muslim or Jewish? If the child is old enough to identify themselves as being of a particular religion then I guess fair enough. But if it is their biological parent's decision that they be raised Muslim or Jewish then I think this is unreasonable.
As they have decided not to raise their child [or have been deemed not suitable to do so] then I think they have forfeited the right to stipulate the child's religion, whether they are raised vegetarian, etc.

I can however understand why it is preferable that a child is raised in a family of the same ethnic origin to their own though.

humanoctopus Tue 04-Jan-11 12:57:06

BootyMum the parents opinions are important, aferall it is still their child.

The circumstances for a child being in care are not always at the level of someone 'choosing' or being to blame.

There is historical evidence of adults raised in other ethnic/religious families feeling that they were neither 'fish nor fowl' as they never really felt that they fit in. After a life of being raised in another religion/culture, they may find it impossible to be comfortable or accepted in their original group.

Most people seem not to have issue if its a visual difference and have accepted that it would be ideal for a white child to be raised in a white family, for example, but balk at the notion of religious ideals?

onlyjuststillme Tue 04-Jan-11 13:06:35

But religious beliefs are a choice! Visual and ethnic differences are not.

I also think that when it comes to adoption, legally and morally, when the court has signed the adoption order the child is no longer "theirs" so why are their opinions important??? Sorry to be blunt but there are adoptive families who are closely related to me and in my mind these children are no less part of our family than if they were born into it, and the parents are the ONLY parents who should have rights and responsibilities regarding that child.

humanoctopus Tue 04-Jan-11 13:12:56

It very much depends on the age of the child being fostered or adopted.

The child comes with a history. Rejecting that history is rejecting part of the child.

When people choose to adopt children that are not newborn babies, they accept that history and the implications therein.

Some of it is nonsense, I agree, but having worked in the area, adult adoptees can be very upset that a whole part of them was left out of the picture, iykwim.

fairtradefloozy Tue 04-Jan-11 13:13:53

Judaism certainly can be argued as an ethnic identity as well as a religion.

BootyMum Tue 04-Jan-11 13:16:47

Okay, yes, sorry didn't read OP carefully enough. I would make the distinction between fostering and adoption - if a child is being fostered, ie the aim is to place child back with biological parents then it is necessary that religion is matched.

But I cannot see why a child who is being adopted [unless as I said earlier child is old enough to identify themselves as a particular religion] would have this stipulation placed on it, presumably upon the wishes of the biological family who will have no input in their upbringing?

humanoctopus I am interested in your statement - The circumstances for a child being in care are not always at the level of someone 'choosing' or being to blame.
Can you explain this a bit more?

onlyjuststillme Tue 04-Jan-11 13:18:14

I agree if a child is culturally aware then the best should be done to support this. But in a case where the child has severe learning disabilities shouldn't finding a loving supportive LONG term home take priority?? I am sure being pushed from pillar to post, probably between people of differing cultural and religious beliefs, more damaging?

humanoctopus Tue 04-Jan-11 13:33:52

bootymum your statement: As they have decided not to raise their child [or have been deemed not suitable to do so]
That's what I was referring to. It was a bit presumptuous (sp?), I think. What I meant is that the circumstances that mean a child is received into the care system, or to be adopted, are varied.

Its not always that someone has decided not to raise a child, or be deemed unsuitable as a parent.

Temporary situations can be needing surgery or treatment, with no family available.

It could also be a child who has become separated through immigration from the family of origin.

And so on.

Sometimes mistakes are made and those decisions may be reversed at a later stage (for example, if parents disagree with social services, but the child is taken into care. Those parents may later be successful in getting their children back, and how horrific for those children if they have had to endure a different religion/culture, maybe being given foods that aren't allowed, etc).

Does that explain my statement?

onlyjuststillme Tue 04-Jan-11 13:39:35

Humanoctopus yes it does to a certain extent, specifically with regards to some fostering arrangements, and under these circumstances I would have to say I would agree with you. HOWEVER I think this is far less likely to be the case with adoption or very long term foster care (as is unfortunately the likely case with regards to the children mentioned in the op)

ShoppingDays Tue 04-Jan-11 13:44:48

YABU. Religion is a choice, yes, but it is also part of a child's culture, heritage and background.

humanoctopus Tue 04-Jan-11 13:52:13

Some adoptions are consented to on the basis that they are 'open' adoptions.

It would be expected that the childen would have contact with the birth family, either by visits, or phone, or letters, etc.

The parents who adopt in these circumstances are trained, and supported, and go into it with their eyes (and hearts) wide open.

onlyjuststillme Tue 04-Jan-11 13:57:35

so shopping - where would you place a 7 year old with Severe learning disabilities, and 2 siblings, who's biological mother was a mix of a and b ethnically and who was of c religious background, and who's biological father was of d religious background and had e ethnic background.

The likely hood of finding approved adopters who could represent a,b,c,d AND e AND who were willing to take on a sibling group and a child with a disability is pretty darn low. The line HAS to be drawn somewhere. The children's long term stability should always come first in my opinion.

Firawla Tue 04-Jan-11 14:03:45

I think yabu really, religion is a huge part of identity probably more so for the religions you mentioned than for the majority of people in uk. If it becomes impossible to find a family thats suitable in that regard and then someone else is found maybe at that point they decide to be more flexible on it rather than having the child remaining in care indefinitely, but to put it as an ideal for them to be in a family matching to their own background i think makes absolute sense, and they should be placed with that kind of family if at all possible.

altinkum Tue 04-Jan-11 14:10:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuzzLightBeer Tue 04-Jan-11 14:15:40

but aren't the difficulties of never being adopted worse?

And there is an elaphant in the room re the OP. Everyone is talking about older children identifying with culture/religion etc and the difficulties therein. But what of children with severe learning difficulties etc? Is it still so important then?
Not saying yes or no, just throwing the point open.

edam Tue 04-Jan-11 14:17:50

I think the websites and newsletters that advertise children for adoption are appalling. Good grief, these aren't puppies free to a good home.

Ethnic/religious identity is important to many people so it should be a consideration - but not to the point where a child languishes in care when they could have been adopted, especially as the older a child becomes, the less the chance of adoption. There's such a shortage of foster carers tbh I doubt ethnic and religious matching is always possible anyway.

Mind you, if, God forbid, anything happened to dh and I and SS placed ds outside our own family (God forbid again!) I'd come back and haunt any SW who handed him over to a strict religious family of any faith. 'Oranges are not the only fruit' and all that (although I doubt the Plymouth Brethren or whatever sect it was are terribly keen on adopting non-saved children anyway).

edam Tue 04-Jan-11 14:20:34

Oh, and re learning disabilities, people with LDs have the same right as anyone else to choose and express their beliefs. Issue is whose beliefs should they be exposed to in childhood? My great uncle had LDs back in the days when parents were told to put babies away, forget about them, go away and have another one. He was in Catholic homes his whole life. He did get some comfort from his faith but equally some of the nuns were bitches who thought LDs were a punishment from God.

altinkum Tue 04-Jan-11 14:22:32

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BuzzLightBeer Tue 04-Jan-11 14:26:30

yes I know that. But what I mean is when a child is unable to express or choose beleifs? When the choice is being adopted by, say, a non-jewish family or never being adopted?

I don't know, being an atheist. I'm no qualified to form an opinion on it. I'm interested in those who are though?

TheSugarPlumFairy Tue 04-Jan-11 14:36:24

just diving right in here but i thought i heard on the radio the other day that the ethic/racial matching requirements for both fostering and adoption were going to be removed by the government.

DH and i thought very seriously about fostering with a view to adopting a child a few years ago. In the area we used to live in there were a lot of very needy children who we thought we could help. Unfortunately we were the wrong colour to be allowed to try.

TheSugarPlumFairy Tue 04-Jan-11 14:39:56

onlyjuststillme Tue 04-Jan-11 14:48:30

I know of a couple who were not short listed for a potential adoption because the children were blonde and they were (Light) brunette!

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