A former Justice of the UK’s Supreme Court has told how he had to overrule complaints that a couple were “too Jewish” to adopt. Lord Wilson told an audience this week that rules regarding the ethnicity of a child in care were discriminating against those same children they were intended to protect.
Child Protection agencies and local authorities recognise that an adoptive home is often the only viable solution for a child in care and the best opportunity they will get for a stable family home, particularly those who were taken into care because of abuse by their biological parents.
“But”, said Lord Wilson, “that has lead to other problems.”
In a lecture entitled “Adoption: Complexities Beyond the Law” he told a story of a three year old child who was to be placed for adoption with a couple with a strong Jewish identity.
The girl, who was a quarter Jewish, a quarter Scottish, a quarter Irish and a quarter Turkish should, according to the child’s guardian, be placed in a non-religious family environment.
“[The guardian] argued that C [the child] should be placed in a non-religious family in which exposure to her of the four elements of her ethnicity might evenly be developed. She said that the proposed couple were too Jewish,” said Lord Wilson.
“I rejected her view. I directed that C be placed with the couple and, a year later, I made the adoption order. Less than four weeks afterwards, out of the blue, the adoptive father died. I felt terrible: I had overruled the guardian’s objection and had caused C to be adopted by a grieving single parent.”
But he went on: “In the event however the adoption has worked out beautifully. C is one of four children, adopted under orders made by me, with whom, even after all these years, I keep in touch. They tend to write to me just before their birthdays, as if subtly to remind me of their continued ability to make use of £25. Two years ago C and her mother invited me to attend her batmitzvah. The family pinned a kippa on to my head. C looked radiant.”
He added that he applauded the “recent statutory dilution” by former Education Secretary Michael Gove “of the aim of seeking to place a child with adopters of similar ethnicity.”
The reason, he says, is because most people who adopt are white. So while the authorities know that there is a perceived need for an ethnic match between child and parents, it is better they are placed in a loving home with parents from different backgrounds than “languish” in foster care.
In a conclusion which may well upset many politically correct organisations, he said that to permit children, based on their race, to miss the opportunity of a loving family home is discrimination itself.