British-Indian Couple Told They Can't Adopt Because Only White Babies Were Available, And It's Not Okay

A Sikh couple from Berkshire, England have been rejected by their local adoption agency because of their ethnicity.

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Adopting a child to join your family unit is one of the kindest, most selfless and loving acts a parent – or parents – can do for a child.

So, imagine our anger when we heard that a Sikh couple were allegedly told they couldn't adopt a white child because of their ethnicity.

According to the Times, British-born Sandeep and Reena Mander from Berkshire are unable to have children of their own and admitted they would be thrilled to adopt a child of any ethnic background.

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However, the couple were allegedly rejected by their local adoption agency, Adopt Berkshire, on the basis that only white children were available, and therefore white British or European applicants would be given priority.

The couple also claim they were told to adopt a child from India instead.

Mr Mander told the publication that he and his wife had tried to conceive for seven years and undergone 16 rounds of IVF before taking the decision to adopt.

'Having attended introductory workshops organised by RBWM (Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead) and Adopt Berkshire, giving an adopted child — no matter what race — the security of a loving home was all we wanted to do,' he revealed.

'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",' he added.

The Manders have now reportedly taken legal action to challenge the adoption agency's decision, with the backing of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, and their cause has even been taken up by prime minister Theresa May, who serves as their local MP.

While adoption agencies can prioritise parents from the same ethnic background as a child, government guidelines state that a child's ethnicity should never act as a barrier to adoption, especially given the fact there was a 12 per cent drop in the number of child adoptions in England between 2015-2016.

According toAdopt Berkshire's website, children available for adoption in the area will 'reflect the racial, cultural and religious backgrounds of the populations within the areas from which they originate' and 'local authorities will try firstly to identify appropriate prospective adopters … who reflect the child's culture and religion of heritage'.

However, it also stated the organisation would not keep children waiting in order to 'achieve a direct match'.

The Manders have now been approved for adoption in the US, however the process is expected to cost about £60,000.

What kind of world are we living in when two people who want to provide a loving and safe environment for a child could be forbidden from doing so solely because of their cultural heritage?

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