Now we learn that the same is true of adoption in the UK: if a family adopts a Muslim child, the State will assess and enforce the purity of the parents’ Muslim practices.
It’s bad enough that this couple had to convert to Islam to adopt a child from Morocco. But then they found out that Her Majesty’s Government would assess their Islamic practices — and insist on evaluating them to confirm the rigor of their faith — before they could adopt a second child.
According to the Times Online:
Muslim converts ‘not Islamic enough’ for their adopted son to have a brother
Moroccan authorities were happy for boy to make a home in Britain but officials in Surrey were not so sure
When Robert and Jo Garofalo decided they wanted to adopt a child in Morocco they knew it would not be easy. Although the law in the Muslim state had been changed to allow foreign adoptions, the couple were required to convert to Islam first.
But in the end it was not the Moroccan authorities that proved the biggest hurdle for the film director and his wife — it was their own local social services. For three months, during which Mrs Garofalo lived with their adopted son in a rented flat in Tangier, the couple were subjected to a series of what they believe were unnecessarily harsh and intrusive interviews in which every aspect of their lives was scrutinised. Finally they were approved and were able to bring young Samuel back to their home, where he has thrived.
So when, earlier this year, they approached Surrey social services for approval to adopt again from the same Moroccan orphanage, they were surprised to discover that they would have to go through the whole process again. The couple were particularly concerned that, in order to assess Samuel’s “attachment” to them, he would have to be monitored and even filmed while playing.
Equally disconcerting was that even though social workers indicated in an initial report that they would be prepared to support the second application, the couple were left with the impression that they were being asked to do more to show they were living a Muslim lifestyle.
“The Moroccan orphanage felt it would be good for Samuel to have a brother and were very positive and encouraging. They were happy with the way we dealt with Samuel’s cultural and religious needs,” Mrs Garofalo, a 40-year-old actress, said. But this was not enough for Surrey, who made clear that an assessment would go ahead only if the couple proved that they were making enough effort to live a Muslim lifestyle.
In their report, social workers noted that although the couple had stated their religion was Islam “there is no outward sign that this is a Muslim family… Joanne and Robert are aware that the socio-religious element is an aspect of Samuel’s identity and heritage which this agency takes very seriously.” It recommended that “particular attention be given to sharing techniques and strategies with Joanne and Robert that will enhance their children’s sense of identity and legacy, particularly in view of their very public statement they made deciding to convert to Islam in order to adopt”.
Would Surrey social services have been as zealous in enforcing the Garofalos’ religious observances if their adopted child were the offspring of Anglicans or Methodists? What do you think?
Mrs Garofalo said: “The social workers made it clear that we should be seen to be ‘keeping Samuel’s culture alive’ by showing signs of it in our house. But what does that mean? He has to know about English life, as well as knowing where he comes from.
“Did they really expect me to be covered up, sitting on a prayer mat? When we’d converted to Islam so that we could adopt Samuel, there’d been no clause in the paperwork saying we had to put the Koran in our entrance.
The article goes on to detail the bureaucratic labyrinths that the couple had to negotiate, both in Morocco and in England, to secure the adoption of their child. The process involved unimaginably intrusive interviews and investigations:
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Mrs Garofalo’s former husband was contacted for a reference, even though their marriage had lasted only months, when she was in her early twenties. On one occasion, Mrs Garofalo was asked: “Would you adopt a child with a terminal illness or a facial disfigurement?” “When I told her I wouldn’t want to adopt a child with a facial disfigurement or one that was going to die, she became very condescending,” said Jo. “She said, ‘So. Jo. You have a problem with facial disfigurement?’
When they found out that they would have to repeat the whole nightmare to adopt a second child, they decided it wasn’t worth it.
So when, in January this year, they decided to adopt another child from the same orphanage, the Garofalos were taken aback to find that they would have to go through the whole assessment process again.
Even so, they went ahead and were visited by two Surrey social workers who prepared an initial report. But after being told that Samuel would have to be monitored and filmed, they decided to abandon their efforts.
“We decided we didn’t want to subject Samuel to that. We didn’t want him to be filmed at a play centre. And if we were being questioned at this stage like this, before we’d even started the procedure, what would it be like farther down the line?”
But here’s the clincher:
Surrey County Council said that children’s services were under a legal duty to conduct an assessment on how the couple’s son was doing, and their efforts to promote his Muslim faith, before exploring a second adoption.
“The couple approached us with a view to adopting the second child and we told them that by law we had to do an assessment to find out how well the adopted Muslim child from Morocco had settled with them in this country, the security of his attachments and the likely impact on him of having a sibling with complex needs in the household. We also told them the assessment would look at their efforts to promote the adopted child’s religion and culture. After finding out these legal requirements, they decided not to continue the process.”
The “adopted child’s religion and culture.”
This child was four months old when he was adopted. He had no religion or culture.
Or are the social workers of Surrey recanting the last sixty years of dogma in the nature-versus-nurture controversy? Is culture built in? Is it indistinguishable from race? Can a child inherit it like skin color or body build?
What could be more racist than that?
The government of the UK has made it plain that it considers itself the enforcer of religion and culture, and that those characteristics are inherited, a part of a child’s genetic code.
It’s a pity they’re willing to do that only for Islam, and not for native English culture.
God help Britain.
Hat tip: Gaia.