A British couple of Sikh Indian heritage are suing an adoption agency for allegedly refusing to consider them for adopting a white child, and advising them to go to India instead.
Sandeep and Reena Mander are both business professionals in their thirties from Berkshire, who have no close links to India.
The couple is open to adopting a child of any ethnic background and have been told they are suitable for adoption.
However, only white children were available and they were told by the agency they would not be prioritized and it was not worth pursuing.
In the UK it is legal to preference adoptive parents of the same ethnic background as a children but government guideline insisting race should not be a barrier to adoption.
“Giving an adopted child – no matter what race – the security of a loving home was all we wanted to do,” Mr. Mander told The Times.
“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.
Now the couple is suing the agency, with the backing of Prime Minister Theresa May (who is their local MP) and the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).
Georgina Calvert-Lee from McAllister Olivarius law firm, who is representing the Manders, told the paper:
“It is unacceptable for a child to be denied loving adoptive parents solely on the grounds that the child does not share the same racial or cultural heritage as the adopters.”
David Isaac, chair of the EHRC, said: “There are many children who are waiting for a loving family like Sandeep and Reena to help give them a better life. To be denied this because of so-called cultural heritage is wrong.”
The Manders also told The Times that they are desperate for a child, having tried IVF unsuccessfully 16 times over the course of seven years.
The couple has now been accepted to look for a child to adopt in the U.S.