Social Workers Snatched Me from the White Parents I Loved to Make Me Live with a Black Family; How the Colour-Obsessed Foster Care System Sentenced Dawn to a Lifetime of Regret

Daily Mail (London), March 30, 2012 | Go to article overview

Social Workers Snatched Me from the White Parents I Loved to Make Me Live with a Black Family; How the Colour-Obsessed Foster Care System Sentenced Dawn to a Lifetime of Regret


Byline: by Antonia Hoyle

HER earliest childhood memories are as cherished as they are vivid. There were Saturday mornings digging potatoes in the allotment with her father, and the smell of sausages wafting from the barbecue during family holidays in Cornwall.

Lazy summer afternoons were spent playing in the garden with her three older siblings; family dinners were boisterous affairs; and birthday parties were celebrated with homemade cake.

Dawn Cousins grew up feeling loved and secure, and that her future was full of hope. At least she did until she was seven.

At that point, her idyllic life was snatched away when a social worker took her away from her picturesque Oxfordshire home.

Dawn was informed that despite the fact her parents Gina and Pete had fostered her from birth, they were unsuitable for raising her.

She spent the next six months in a children's home before being adopted by a couple who lived 50 miles away. She had to adapt to her different family, start a new school, and make new friends.

So what was the reason behind social services' drastic decision? Dawn's parents were not abusing her nor were they embroiled in a life of crime. They were doing nothing to jeopardise their little girl's well-being.

They were a decent, middle-class couple who desperately wanted to adopt Dawn, and had attempted to do so.

However, social services told them not to pursue their application because they were white. Since Dawn was mixed race she would be better off with a black family, they said.

Until recently, local authorities made it incredibly difficult for white couples to adopt a mixed-race child.

And although Education Secretary Michael Gove issued new guidelines last year relaxing the rules on inter-racial adoption, it is still more difficult for cases to be approved than same-race ones -- resulting in growing numbers of children left in care.

Recent figures show that only 3,050 children were adopted from the 65,000 in care in 2010 -- many of whom could have found happy homes with parents of a different race.

Much has been made of the devastating effect such antiquated rulings have had on prospective parents. But what of the impact they have had on children -- especially when they carry both black and white genes? In Dawn's case it led to years of confusion and squandered opportunities.

As an adolescent, she went off the rails, had a breakdown and was put back into care.

It is only now, at 38, that she feels able to reflect on a system she believes badly let her down.

Dawn's British biological mother, Linda, gave her up for adoption when she was born in June 1973, after Linda's Jamaican immigrant husband, Owen, walked out on her.

Dawn's foster parents Pete -- now 70 and a retired civil servant -- and Gina, 69, had two daughters and a son of their own but were overjoyed that they were able to look after Dawn, too.

She says: 'They were generous people who wanted to help others less fortunate.

'Mum and Dad, as I called them, treated me the same as their other children. I was their first foster child -- and from the start they made me feel welcome.' A bright girl, Dawn excelled at school. She claims her skin colour was never questioned by anyone, not even herself.

'I never asked my parents why my skin was darker, and my hair curly and black,' she says. 'I would have loved my sister's long blonde hair but it didn't occur to me to ask why mine was so different.

'It didn't matter that I was the only black child in my primary school. Mum was always there at sports days and parents' evenings, and I knew I was loved.' She says she only discovered Gina and Pete weren't her real parents when the official from Slough social services called on the family one afternoon in July 1980.

Dawn was told then that she could no longer live with the people she loved. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Social Workers Snatched Me from the White Parents I Loved to Make Me Live with a Black Family; How the Colour-Obsessed Foster Care System Sentenced Dawn to a Lifetime of Regret
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.