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UK adoption agency denies Sikh couple.
A Sikh couple living in the UK have reported to the press that they were turned away from a local adoption agency as a result of their ‘cultural heritage’. Since then, they have filed to sue the agency. Sandeep and Reena Mander, the affected couple, recently opened a case against Adopt Berkshire. Adopt Berkshire acts as the official agency for the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead. According to the couple, the agency advised them not to file their application because only white children were up for adoption at the time.

A saddened Sandeep Mander talked to the press, expressing shock and disappointment at the fact that they were turned away because they regarded themselves as Indian. He said, “Giving an adopted child – no matter what race – the security of a loving home was all we wanted to do. 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.’”

The case against the adoption agency is being handled by law firm McAllister Olivarius. The Manders explained that a member of staff calling from Adopt Berkshire inquired about the couple’s ethnic background. The couple then responded they were Indian but had been born in England. Afterward, the member of staff from the agency informed the couple that they could not be prioritized in their quest for adoption. As Mander relayed the story to the press, he explained that the agency had pushed them to other means of adoption. He said, “They said we should, seek other means of adopting a child.”

In response to press queries, a representative for Adopt Berkshire said, “We do not comment on ongoing court cases.” There have been no additional comments from the agency.

The agency’s website states it welcomes people from “different cultural and religious backgrounds,” who seek to adopt their children. However, it goes further to explain it makes efforts to match children in its homes with adoptive parents who “reflect the child’s culture and religion of heritage and who speak the child’s first language.” Despite these sentiments, the packet elaborates that no children will be kept excessively long on the waiting list so as to “achieve a direct match.”

The General Secretary of the Sikh Federation in the UK, Narinderjit Singh, has called out racial discrimination as a basis for the denial. In a statement to the press, he said, “The couple were offering to adopt a child needing a stable, caring and loving home. Instead they appear to have been confronted with what can only be called racism.”

Wisdom da Costa is a counselor playing a role in the Maidenhead borough. He also plays a part in the Royal Borough of Windsor. In an interview with the press, he said, “We need to get to the bottom of what’s causing this misunderstanding. It is quite a white council. If you get a group of people who are of one type, then by nature they are not going to appreciate the other types of cultures and communities that occur in any town especially those as diverse as Windsor and Maidenhead.”

The Manders hope to get a court decision allowing them a go-ahead in their adoption plans.

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