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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.

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Musti · 08/10/2022 01:20

Well if you’re in the UK and they are English white kids then I don’t think you need to do anything special. They’ll live in a culture of their ethnicity. But if their parents are from another country then I would look at what customs there are, the language, travel there etc

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superplumb · 08/10/2022 08:04

You sound really lovely op. I have no experience but I wouldnt change the name unless the child is a very young baby. To change a name even for a toddler would be really really confusing to them and I dont see any benefit in doing so.

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blackcatnight · 08/10/2022 08:55

Since the child will grow up in a community and extended family, not just your household, I would consider this too.

I have a colleague who is married to a Pakistani man, and they wanted to adopt. However, his parents did not feel comfortable with the prospect of adopting a white child because, according to my colleague, the law in Pakistan itself and maybe sharia law too, is that a Muslim family may only adopt a Muslim child, and a non-Muslim couple may only adopt a non-Muslim child. So his parents were very opposed to adopting a white child. They do have extended family back in Pakistan they visit regularly, so this may also figure in. In the end, they did adopt a Pakistani heritage baby.

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RosaGallica · 08/10/2022 09:27

I would be a bit concerned about a British girl child being raised to be a culturally appropriate woman for Pakistani culture tbh. I would be similarly concerned if my dd wanted to marry into a traditional Pakistani family. I raise this as you specifically say ‘as a woman’ in your title.

It depends on exactly what expectations and culture you are raising them in. We all know that the expectations placed on women are high and that women are viewed as second class citizens in the traditions of the sub-continent.

Is that what you wanted from the op? As pp’s said discussing it thoroughly and openly with social workers would be a good idea.

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Lilgamesh2 · 08/10/2022 10:08

"I just have a lot of questions really since we do some things very differently to white British people."

Could you elaborate on this perhaps?

I agree with PP that it's easier than a white person adopting a Pakistani child because they'll naturally feel connected to British culture by virtue of living there.

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museumum · 08/10/2022 10:20

I have a close relative who is a single woman with an adopted child Which is what it sounds like you’re proposing.
They are super close now as a family unit of two but with close wider family relationships.
people I know of Pakistani heritage are all so different I can’t really answer your question-
do you live alone? Or a multi generational household?
what’s the language used in the home?
are you religious? Muslim?
If so will you celebrate or acknowledge Christmas as well as Muslim festivals?
do you have any “traditional” gender-base expectations or rules around clothing, dating and marriage?
they’re just a few areas I can imagine cross cultural tension growing up. Apparently trauma can resurface in the teenage years (or family aren’t there yet) making dating / freedoms a potential flash point.

but you sound like you’ll be a great parent either way 😁

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LiveInSunshine · 08/10/2022 10:54

I think a lot of the answer lies less within you, but in those that surround you.
Would your extended family welcome the child the same?
Would the rest of your support network?
Are you living in a diverse and multicultural area with lots of interracial families? Or do you live in an area where the child would be routinely exposed to tensions and prejudice?
I think the answer to these questions could make or break the experience.
I have friends who have mixed race Pakistani-English children who have embraced the mixing of the cultures and been very welcome in the community and family. However both communities here are integrated with each other and the children are not the only ones in mixed households either at school, at the mosque or at gatherings. I’ve been to other areas, even quite locally, though with notable tension between community groups and day to day divisions are much greater.

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PipMumsnet · 08/10/2022 14:51

Hi OP, we just to ask if you would like us to move your thread to the adoption board where you might get more support and advice? If so please use the report function on the thread and we will happily do so.
Wishing you the very best,
MNHQ

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notdaddycool · 08/10/2022 15:01

The child will be with you until 18 ish but then have 50/60+ years more. If they are white and had to explain a Pakistani name all that time it works be awkward. I wouldn’t change a name anyway, but if it’s young enough for you to name pick one based on its ethnicity or one that works in both cultures, maybe Maya for a girl (know plenty of Indian Mayas not do sure about Pakistanis), I’d do it even if it wasn’t your favourite name. Our kids are Eng/Asian, they get both religions but we are pretty blase about them.

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Hotandbothereds · 08/10/2022 15:01

We’re in the process of adoption at the moment, OP have you been booked onto the training course yet?

Once you’ve been allocated a social worker, in our area we attended a three day course covering lots of your questions (I assume similar happens in other areas of the UK)

Changing a childs name is very much not encouraged at all, it’s an important link to their past and social workers have been very clear that this isn’t something they’d support.

On a child being placed with a family of a different heritage, it’s something you can say you’re open to, but essentially it’s down to the social workers and adoption panel to decide the best family for the child.

What’s most important is that the child is placed with the right family for them, it’s not about trying to find a child quickly, its about what’s right for that child.

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Hotandbothereds · 08/10/2022 15:04

superplumb · 08/10/2022 08:04

You sound really lovely op. I have no experience but I wouldnt change the name unless the child is a very young baby. To change a name even for a toddler would be really really confusing to them and I dont see any benefit in doing so.

Changing a child’s name at all is very much discouraged these days, it’s a really important part of the child’s identity that shouldn’t be erased, no matter what age they are.

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Hotandbothereds · 08/10/2022 15:04

@superplumb I posted too soon! I meant to add I was agreeing with you!

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BCBird · 08/10/2022 15:12

I am.mixed race but was brought up by my white mother and white stepdad. I was loved but I do not think tbis situation does not have any affect on the child. I would advise you to adopt someone of a similar origin or colour. The most important thing is love but i have no doubt that different ethnicity will have an effect on the child.

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