Yusuf and his wife, Amal, started fostering over 10 years ago. They fostered a little girl for two years, she had been sent to them when she was only two weeks old and as she grew older she began referring to the couple as ‘mummy’ and ‘daddy’. When they were told that the child was going to be put up for adoption, the couple were conflicted as to what they were going to do. They knew that they didn’t want to let her go, and Yusuf decided to discuss the idea of adopting her with his wife and two biological sons – who had also quickly become enamoured with their foster sibling.
They were all unanimous in their decision to keep the baby in the family, and Yusuf quickly set the wheels in motion, and informed his Local Authority about his decision. He was told that because she was of a different race to him and his family, he wouldn’t be allowed to adopt her. Yusuf struggled to understand why this would be a problem.
On his foster daughter; ‘we were the only family she’d ever known…’
Yusuf tried to explain that it made sense for the child to stay with his family, but the Local Authority was adamant that they just couldn’t let this happen. He decided to seek advice elsewhere, and contacted a friend who was a solicitor, who informed him that because he had been fostering the little girl for over 12 months, he was legally allowed to adopt her. Yusuf returned to the Local Authority and told them he would take them to court if they did not overturn their decision as it had no standing. The couple applied to adopt their foster daughter and were successful. From start to finish, the adoption process took around 6 months.
On his adopted daughter; ‘she’s the daughter we always wanted… She completes our family.’
When asked if he had any apprehensions about adopting his foster child, Yusuf emphatically explained to us that he believed that she was sent to his family from Allah. He never had any doubts about wanting her to be a part of his family forever, but his family shared their apprehension over them adopting a black child. Yusuf’s father was vehemently opposed to the idea and went 6 months without speaking to him over it. He decided to reach out to an Imam and asked his advice about what he should do and was told not to do it. Yusuf was outraged that an upstanding figure of his community would hold such outdated attitudes to interracial adoption. He decided to trust his own gut and move ahead with the adoption because it felt right to him. He states that it was the best decision he could have made.
On if his daughter knows she’s adopted; ‘Yes, she knows that her Mother was sick and that she isn’t a “tummy baby”. She knows she was chosen by us, because she’s special.’
Yusuf wants prospective Muslim adopters to never let race be a barrier in stopping them from adopting. They should trust their gut and not listen to naysayers. He believes adoption is a wonderful thing, and he is following the Sunnah while simultaneously making a huge difference to a child’s life.