Asian? Want to adopt? Struggling to adopt? Here’s our adoption story

There’s been a lot of press coverage recently about a Sikh couple who have been told they cannot adopt, due to their cultural and religious heritage. They were told go to India to adopt. Why? Because the children their agency was placing for adoption are primarily white. White adopters are preferred. I am an Asian adopter. I have adopted children through the UK system. It wasn’t easy. A lot of barriers were put in our way. Our cultural and religious heritage was an excuse to turn us down by local authorities, and voluntary agencies. But I didn’t take no for an answer. This is our story.

The wrong kind of Asian to adopt

After a failed and horrendous IVF treatment, two miscarriages, King of the Mountains and I realised having a birth child wasn’t going to happen.

We wanted a family, the child didn’t have to be ours, this led us to consider adoption.

Adoption felt right for us.

I’d seen the posters. BME parents wanted to adopt BME children languishing in the care system.

As First4Adoption says: “Sadly, statistics show that children from BME backgrounds are waiting longer to be matched with adoptive parents in London, could you help and provide a happy and permanent home to one of these children?”

That’s what I wanted to do.

I picked up the phone and started ringing around. I was enthusiastic, as you are when you start out on a new adventure. Who wouldn’t want us? Young(ish) couple, fit and healthy with plenty of potential. We wanted to share our lives with a child from the UK care system.

But, I was wrong.

Sorry, but we can’t take you on, we don’t get children with your cultural or religious heritage.

What do you mean? You want BME adopters.

Yes, we do. But not you.

We were the wrong sort of Asian.

Our heritage is South Indian and Christian. We are a minority within a minority.

But you don’t even know us

Now that’s what really pissed me off.

I can still feel the anger as I type.

Those initial calls had nothing to do with our potential to adopt, our potential to be loving parents to a child hurt by trauma and abuse. No.

Those calls focused purely, on screening us, on race and culture.

If this had been a job interview, I think they would call that discrimination.

Getting beyond the phone call

That’s what I had to do, get to the next stage. It started to feel like a game.

I wasn’t going to accept defeat.

I knew I had to talk about our rich and diverse family, because:

  • My husband is adopted. His parents are WHITE
  • He has an adopted sister, she’s BLACK AFRO-CARIBBEAN
  • And he has a brother and sister who are both WHITE, their kids, our nieces and nephews are WHITE
  • And we have nieces and nephews, they are DUAL HERITAGE, BLACK/WHITE, ASIAN/WHITE.

I had to get that into the conversation.

And we had both volunteered at a local cubs and scouts troop working with underprivileged kids.

Try, try, and try again

We were turned down.

By the voluntary agency that only took on a strict quota of gay, single and black and minority ethnic adopters. They didn’t want us.

And the local authority with a high Asian population, they wouldn’t be able to find a right match for us. They only had white children in foster care.

There were others. They all said no. Sorry, but we can’t match you.

Then I rang TACT.

Someone listened to us. They heard our story

TACT was willing to listen.

They looked beyond us as a purely Asian couple, they looked at our diverse family background and realised we had something to offer.

We made it to an interview. We were actually going to talk to someone face-to-face.

As the cliche goes the rest is history

TACT approved us to move to the next stage the preparation course, and the homestudy with a wonderful social worker who guided through to approved adopter status.

Game. Set. Matched.

After 18 months were approved as adopters (it’s a lot quicker now) and a few months later we were matched with our children.

And our kids, they aren’t an identical cultural/religious match. That didn’t bother us. It doesn’t bother them because we are simply Mum and Dad.

We are a family, we have two wonderful, amazing kids.

I am proud to be their mummy.

If you are Asian. Want to adopt. Struggling to adopt.

You can adopt.

It’s hard, there will be barriers, but keep pushing, challenge the system.

Get the social workers to look beyond your colour, your race, your religion, your culture. Show them what you have to offer as parents.

You can. We did.

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37 Comments

  1. Gosh this is so shocking but thank you so much for sharing your story. I am so glad that your story had a happy outcome, adoption can be such a gruelling process I’m sure. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Thank you! It was tough going through this but I do hope this story gives others some hope if they are struggling to adopt!

  2. It’s really wonderful that you share your story for us all to read. There is so much that people don’t know about adoption and you are opening our eyes. I’m sorry you had a tough time and no one would listen. I’m so pleased that finally someone did and you got to be a family. I hope that this post gives people hope. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove
    Laura – Dear Bear and Beany recently posted…A Night In With Belle…My Profile

    • Thank you so much! I do hope if people are struggling to adopt, and do get to read this post they find some comfort that they can adopt. There may be barriers in their way, but it’s worth the struggle!

  3. I found your story so interesting to read but it really shocked me to hear about the barriers that you faced at first? You hit the email on the head – if it were a job interview it would surely be considered discrimination? So many children out there desperately need a loving mum and dad, and I’m just so pleased that you were finally able to give your children their forever family. Thank you for sharing this with #DreamTeam x

    • I know, it is discrimination. And I am really glad the Sikh couple aren’t backing down because at the end of the day, just as you say, these children need loving families but end up languishing in care because social services can’t find their perception of the perfect match!

  4. I honestly had no idea of the struggles you went through to adopt and I am so glad you’ve shared your story. I’m both shocked and appalled that you were turned down on so many occasions but I am so glad you didn’t give up and your adoption story had a happy ending. I really think you’re going to give hope to many with this. Thank you for sharing with #bigpinklink x
    Hannah Jane recently posted…What My Kid Wore Wednesday #18My Profile

    • Awww thank you lovely. It was a shock to face this, I wasn’t expecting to get flat out refusals based on our race and culture and TACT our adoption agency were so brilliant – and thanks to them we have our amazing kids.

  5. That’s just … mutters swear words under breath. I’m so glad that you managed to find someone who’d listen to you and were able to navigate your way through the system. Surely the best thing for any child is a loving home, whoever is proving it?! Tweeted in the hope that this will find it’s way to others in the same situation and encourage them.

  6. I am genuinely horrified by this! Why on Earth would loving potential parents be turned down for adoption regardless of race, religion, anything really?! In a climate where so many children are left languishing in the care system because we are so short of adoptive parents?! I am so sorry for you that it took so long to be matched, and as someone who was in care as a child, I’m even more sorry for the children who had to wait that little bit longer to be united with 2 clearly very loving parents. High five to you for persevering through everything you have been through. I hope that one day the system wises up to this. #bigpinklink
    Aleena recently posted…Ragtag Risotto: Let’s Get Cooking!My Profile

    • I know, it seems so nonsensical but some social workers are fixated on identity and that’s their primary concern above all else. It’s the kids that suffer!

  7. Surely that is bureaucracy gone mad? Thank god you got there eventually – I can’t imagine the frustration you must have felt at that time. Well done you for beating the system… xx
    Thanks for sharing with #coolmumclub
    MMT recently posted…#coolmumclub Linky week 73My Profile

    • Thank you! Yes, system beat….I’m glad we got through all of this, but it saddens me that other parents still face the same barriers and challenges to adoption. The ones who suffer most are the kids who desperately want a permanent home.

  8. I so shocked by this story! Surely all that matters is that you have a safe, stable home and can provide a loving family and home for a child who needs it? I’m so glad you persisted and are now raising awareness and inspiring people to carry on even when at first it seems a struggle. What a lovely end to your story. Wishing you all the best!

    • Yes, you are right, that’s what matters most that kids are placed within a stable loving home regardless of our race and culture. Thank you for your lovely comment. x

    • Thank you so much. I hope people will read this and think they too can adopt, and not to take no for an answer…. it can be done!

    • Thank you, but it’s sad that others are still having to fight the same battle, and yes kids still languish in care when they could be placed with brilliant adoptive families.

  9. I’m so happy you succeeded in the end! It’s such a shame that even today these barriers exist! #dreamteam

    • Thank you, it was a struggle and a real shock when we got this reaction. But we just had to push on!

  10. It sounds insane – so they think it’s better for the children’s welfare to languish even longer in the system, then to be adopted by someone who is not a ‘perfect’ match? It makes my angry just typing that. So glad you found someone who listened in the end.
    Jenni recently posted…Kids Activity Travel KitMy Profile

    • Thank you so much. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that this was their priority. It’s taking a long time to shift attitudes.

  11. It’s do hard to understand the mentality of people and organisations these days, especially when there are children waiting for parents and couples longing to become those parents. Colour and religion should NOT come into it in my opinion. As long as you can offer the child what they need then that surely is all that should matter. I’m glad you got there in the end but you shouldn’t have been made to fight so hard for it xx
    Cath – BattleMum recently posted…10 Things That Make Me HappyMy Profile

    • Thank you! I agree!

      BME kids have to wait longer in social care waiting for adoptive parents, and when we come along, we’re not even considered – it’s so frustrating!

  12. I can’t believe that some adoption agencies turned you down due to cultural and religious factors, as you said there are kids who are looking for a loving home and you could provide that. I am so happy that you managed to adopt and stuck to it x

    • I know! I was shocked when I heard the responses from the agencies. All that did was toughen my resolve!

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