My feed
Premium

Please
or
to access all these features

MNHQ have commented on this thread

AIBU?

Potentially raising a white child as a Pakistani woman - tips

38 replies

FeelingGuilty151 · 07/10/2022 22:50

Once I’m eligible to adopt, I’m considering going through the process and I’m pretty much open to any child who is ethnically white British, Pakistani or a mix of the two. I was told this would make the matching process a lot quicker as in our area the children tend to be mostly white or mixed, so it would take some time for a Pakistani child to become available for adoption and that there would be an option to adopt Pakistani children from other areas

How would I be able to make a white child feel comfortable in a Pakistani household? My uncle has a white partner and has three children with her, my decreased uncle has 2 children with a white woman. So it’s not like they’d be the only kids with white heritage but obviously they wouldn’t have an Asian link, other than an adoptive one through me

Would keeping the child’s English name be more helpful as it’s a link to their own heritage and feeling of belonging to other white people?

I just have a lot of questions really since we do some things very differently to white British people. For example, we aren’t allowed to change adopted children’s names as it’s a link to their legacy and obviously under UK law the birth certificate would be replaced

Would a white child end up resenting me for taking them instead of a white couple taking them, what if they wished they had a white family who they resemble?

I don’t mean to come across offensively, I’m just really worried that I’d be doing more damage than good. If I end up getting matched with a white child it wouldn’t make any difference to me, I’m just thinking so much about the prospective child.

OP posts:

Am I being unreasonable?

82 votes. Final results.

POLL
You are being unreasonable
29%
You are NOT being unreasonable
71%
Hairymaery · 07/10/2022 22:52

What age child?

FeelingGuilty151 · 07/10/2022 22:54

Also to people who have been in the system or had similar experiences - how would you have felt about growing up with your white parents and then being placed with Pakistani people for adoption? Would it have affected your identity? Would it have made you feel like you were the odd one out? Or would you have been okay with it and would the acceptance from being part of the family and being loved unconditionally be more than enough?

OP posts:
FeelingGuilty151 · 07/10/2022 22:54

Hairymaery · 07/10/2022 22:52

What age child?

Anywhere between babies to primary age

OP posts:
serin · 07/10/2022 22:55

You sound lovely and very sensitive. Could you talk all this through with your social worker? They will be well placed to discuss things with you.
IME it is usually encouraged to keep a child's name and not change it,

FeelingGuilty151 · 07/10/2022 23:29

serin · 07/10/2022 22:55

You sound lovely and very sensitive. Could you talk all this through with your social worker? They will be well placed to discuss things with you.
IME it is usually encouraged to keep a child's name and not change it,

Yeah I absolutely will be speaking to her about it because I’m sure they’ve experienced this situation many times. The reason I was hoping other peoples insight is I wanted to know whether people have had any personal experiences themselves or if they wouldn’t have felt comfortable with an arrangement like this because I know it’s a lot more complex than “well it’s your child now” when the child in question not only has trauma issues from being seperated from their birth parents and all the other events leading up to that, but on top of that, having to worry about heritage!

OP posts:
RogueV · 07/10/2022 23:30

I can’t advise but you sound amazing.

antelopevalley · 07/10/2022 23:30

Talk it through with your social worker. But Social Workers are reluctant to place children in families that are different from their own ethnicity.
I am not sure why the idea of changing a child's name would even occur to you.

Have you actually been approved to adopt yet?

FeelingGuilty151 · 07/10/2022 23:42

antelopevalley · 07/10/2022 23:30

Talk it through with your social worker. But Social Workers are reluctant to place children in families that are different from their own ethnicity.
I am not sure why the idea of changing a child's name would even occur to you.

Have you actually been approved to adopt yet?

No not yet I’m just thinking about a lot first tbh. I believe in making an informed decision and not to do something that might not be exactly wise. I don’t know if I have explained myself properly, I hope I have.

I’m glad the advice is to keep the name as I completely agree with that, the reason why I mentioned it was because I know some people who have changed their children’s names upon adoption, mainly for their very young adopted children or those whose birth names put them at considerable risk of being identified by their birth family.

I spoke to one from of my local adoption agencies and she said that In our area we don’t match children based on ethnicity, this is the same with fostering as someone I know is a foster carer and she’s had plenty of white children matched to her. She said although ethnicity is taken into consideration when matching, if a match was found they wouldn’t delay it.

OP posts:
Cw112 · 07/10/2022 23:52

I think you're already on the right lines by recognising that there's things a child might need that you can't give them as an adoptive parent. Some APs really struggle with that which is natural but doesn't help the child. Yes keeping their original name is very important it's part of their identity and their story and should only be changed if there's a severe enough safeguarding risk. I think most children who get adopted need their APs to recognise that while it's really exciting to you that they are joining your family, that the act of joining your family means that child will have a sense of loss and grief over their biological family that they might not be fully able to articulate or understand. How you embrace their biological family is one of the most important things you can do for any adoptive child, you need to let them find their own feelings and boundaries with their first family rather than determining this for them which can be painful and worrying to do. But their first family are also a connection to their heritage and their story and it would be worth exploring with social workers who it's safe for them to have contact with (if parents need to be letterbox contact, perhaps grandparents could be in person contact). Life story work can be really powerful for children in helping them process their journey and understand it. I would invest in books and stories that show diverse ranges of families and people so the child can grow up seeing their experiences represented and you will be able to connect with other adoptive families through various adoption charities. Deffo chat through these concerns with your social worker as they might be able to give you some good resources.

Freespirit12 · 07/10/2022 23:59

I have two adopted children of a different ethnicity to mine.

My advice is not to overthink things. Be mindful yes but not to the point of mental exhaustion!

As long as you demonstrate love, care and total acceptance your child will respond to you in the same way.

There are things like heritage etc to look into but realistically speaking, the only way that child is going to feel as if they have a secure base with you is if they are involved in your life completely.

KloppsTeeth · 08/10/2022 00:00

Great post with lots of sensitivity. Personally, I would be delighted to have a varied cultural upbringing within a caring and stable home. Best of luck

Tabitha888 · 08/10/2022 00:03

I'm a white mum to a half Pakistani baby, just would say make it important to raise them with both cultures.

For example I'll do Xmas and Eid. I'll teach her both religions and let her partake in both since she's apart of both. X

Jellycatspyjamas · 08/10/2022 00:09

OP you could ask for your thread to be moved to the adoption boards, plenty of experienced adopters there who are very generous with their time, knowledge and experience.

gogohmm · 08/10/2022 00:09

You sound very committed!

Firstly it's very rare for babies , especially white babies quite frankly to come up for adoption unless very specific circumstances. With children any older it's rare for names to be changed unless a significant safeguarding reason. Your social worker can advise more but I wouldn't worry about the name situation. There's a shortage of adopters from ethnic minority backgrounds, not sure specifically about Pakistani but I your social worker can advise on likely matches.

I would think the hardest aspect on cross culture adoption potentially is religion if it's something you follow strictly - a child especially once older may resent rules that are stricter than that their upbringing would have been ( this is from a real case I know of, was tricky and the adoption broke down at 15)

Talk to your social worker who is best placed, I'm sure you will be a great mum

Luredbyapomegranate · 08/10/2022 00:17

gogohmm · 08/10/2022 00:09

You sound very committed!

Firstly it's very rare for babies , especially white babies quite frankly to come up for adoption unless very specific circumstances. With children any older it's rare for names to be changed unless a significant safeguarding reason. Your social worker can advise more but I wouldn't worry about the name situation. There's a shortage of adopters from ethnic minority backgrounds, not sure specifically about Pakistani but I your social worker can advise on likely matches.

I would think the hardest aspect on cross culture adoption potentially is religion if it's something you follow strictly - a child especially once older may resent rules that are stricter than that their upbringing would have been ( this is from a real case I know of, was tricky and the adoption broke down at 15)

Talk to your social worker who is best placed, I'm sure you will be a great mum

@gogohmm

This isn’t true at all and hasn’t been for some time. There were something like 62 under twos available at some point in the NW year and most of them were white. Children whose parents have failed to cope with previous children will often have younger children removed shortly after birth. There are more babies available than there used to be and plenty are white.

alpenguin · 08/10/2022 00:19

The situation here is slightly different to a white person raising a child
of a different ethnic heritage. Raising a white child in the UK they will not miss out on western culture and their history is all they’ll learn about at school (and only sanitised half truths at that) so in many ways you are in an advantageous position that you will raise a child within and understanding the family culture, while living within and understanding the wider western culture too.

Many of the problems in reversed situations is that the family culture is the dominant social one and that the ethnic heritage of the child becomes secondary or even dismissed as irrelevant, often with good intentions but as has been seen many times quite negative results.

EmeraldShamrock1 · 08/10/2022 00:23

I think whatever you do will be lovely because you care so much and have considered your future child's feelings in every thought.

Best of luck on your journey to Motherhood.

MolkosTeenageAngst · 08/10/2022 00:34

You wouldn’t be matched with a child unless the social worker and then the panel all agreed that you were a good match for that child. Race and culture would be considered as part of that, so if you are matched with a white child (or a child from another non-Pakistani background) it will be because those involved in the matching don’t feel it would be an issue. You won’t be considered as a match for non-Pakistani children who won’t be suited to a culture different from their birth family or to your culture specifically. If you are matched to a child, regardless of their race and culture, it is because the social workers and others involved in the matching and approval rating feel that you and the child are a good fit for each other and that you will be able to meet that child’s needs. All the things you are worrying about would have been considered and discussed with you well before the adoption was confirmed so I don’t think you need to overthink it at this point.

CustardySergeant · 08/10/2022 00:45

"For example, we aren’t allowed to change adopted children’s names as it’s a link to their legacy and obviously under UK law the birth certificate would be replaced"

I'm puzzled by this:- why would the birth certificate be replaced?

toomuchlaundry · 08/10/2022 00:54

@CustardySergeant I’m adopted (many years ago). I have a birth certificate with only my name on (not birth parents or adopted parents). Date of birth is on it and it is date stamped for the date the adoption process was completed.

MaChienEstUnDick · 08/10/2022 00:56

I think, from the outside, that it's a little concerning that it's been suggested you make choices to make any adoption 'quicker', rather than 'better for the potential adoptee'.

You need to talk this through with your social worker properly and make decisions based on the child's need rather than any thought of speeding things up.

I don't mean to be mean because you do sound amazing and that you're already thinking this through and very open to doing it right. But a 'how quickly can I get this done' attitude isn't the right one and I'm surprised the advice you've been given has been positioned this way.

Dinoteeth · 08/10/2022 01:00

Op re the name my sister adopted a 3 yo. She wanted to change the name by adding a middle name say John Peter with the intent to later drop the John keeping the Peter. The LO wasn't happy 'my name is John not John Peter'

So you might need to go with their lead.

PurpleFrames · 08/10/2022 01:07

Would you have been truly happy being raised by a white family? The scientific studies say it is really important to have cultural immersion in childhood and same culture fostering is most successful. No doubt in the future adoption will be banned due to its bad outcomes for families. A few things to think about.

mathanxiety · 08/10/2022 01:08

I would say, if the child is exclusively English speaking, don't speak any language other than English around him or her, and make sure family members only speak English too.

With a baby or toddler, there's a possibility of becoming bilingual.

If you're an exclusively English speaking family, ignore obv.

SandyY2K · 08/10/2022 01:19

A close relative adopted a child a few years ago. They were adamant that the child had to be the same ethnicity as them. They wanted the child to fit in/blend in with the rest of the family, not stand out.

My relatives partner was open to other ethnicities, but my relative wasn't. It was their hill to die on.
The child fits in so well now and I do think it wouldn't be the same if there was a visible difference.

I'm a person of colour myself, as is my relative.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.