A “miracle baby” allegedly smuggled to Britain by a child-trafficking ring must be taken from the foster mother who has cared for him for the last 15 months and handed over to strangers for adoption, a high court judge ruled yesterday.
The two-year-old boy, identified in court only as C, was brought to Britain from Kenya in October 2003. An infertile woman, Mrs E, claimed she had delivered him after a 27-day pregnancy as a miraculous gift from God.
However, the woman who claimed to be his mother aroused suspicion when she registered the baby with her GP in north London, who knew she had a condition that made it impossible for her to have a child. C was taken into care by Haringey council aged just six weeks and went through several foster placements before he was placed with Mrs F, a divorcee in her 50s from north Africa, in April 2005.
Yesterday both Mrs F and Mr and Mrs E lost their battles for the right to look after the boy, although the judge, Mr Justice Ryder, acknowledged that both families had cared for him well.
Mr and Mrs E are members of Gilbert Deya Ministries, the controversial church which claims to be Britain’s fastest growing religious movement. Its leader, Gilbert Deya, who is under investigation by the Charity Commission, claims to have used prayer to help infertile members of his congregation have children.
Mrs E claimed to have had two other children miraculously. One died soon after birth and the other was taken into care by the authorities in Kenya.
In a judgment in 2004, Mr Justice Ryder ruled that C was a victim of trafficking and his birth “a falsehood not a miracle”. A search was launched for his real parents in Kenya and neighbouring countries but no one came forward whose DNA matched his. Yesterday the judge told Mr and Mrs E that he was satisfied that handing C over to them would be against his best interests because their belief that C’s birth was miraculous would prevent them from properly telling him the “secular story” of his birth that he would need to work out his identity.
C had several care placements before Mrs F began fostering him in April 2005.
Mrs F wanted to apply for a residence order for C to live with her, and then a special guardianship order, a status short of adoption.
But she said her Muslim faith barred her from adopting him. The judge said she was well-bonded with C, who was “developing well and thriving in her care”. He had no doubt that C was “a confident, well cared for boy”.
But she was a divorcee, living alone with the child, and her only back-up was a grown-up student son. The judge said she had no concept of how important his identity would be to C, who would not know who his parents were.
Mr and Mrs A, Roman Catholics from an African-Caribbean background with children of their own, would provide “a better cultural match”, including matching better with C’s “visual identity”. With them, C would have siblings and male and female role models.
The judge accepted that C might suffer a separation reaction when removed from his foster mother, but that would be mitigated “by the high-quality attentive parenting which the local authority have assessed Mr and Mrs A as being able to provide”. Psychiatrists said the boy was securely attached to his foster mother and had the capacity to attach to others.
Also, adoption would give him the stability, security, identity and nationality that residence, foster care or special guardianship would not.
Gilbert Deya said: “The case involving this child has been going on for nearly three years. What the judge has failed to understand is no one has ever found the parents of these children.
“If they were stolen the victims of the theft would come forward but no one has ever found us guilty of anything.
“In the Bible Moses was taken from his parents but then found them again. It is the same for this child. He will find his true parents and our church.”