Tennessee couple say adoption agency turned them away because they were Jewish

A spokesperson for the Department of Children’s Services declined to comment on the case, saying the agency does not comment on ongoing l...


A spokesperson for the Department of Children’s Services declined to comment on the case, saying the agency does not comment on ongoing litigation. The office of Tennessee Attorney General Herbert H. Slatery III did not respond to an email. Holston United Methodist Home for Children, the agency that declined to work with the Rutan-Rams, referred questions to the Alliance Defending Freedoma Scottsdale, Ariz., legal organization that did not respond to an email.

Holston President Bradley Williams said in a statement that the agency is “committed to biblical Christian principles” and “places children with families who agree with our statement of faith.”

“We view the caregivers we partner with as extensions of our ministry team serving children,” he said. “So from the start, we’re looking to find an alignment with them, and if we can’t do that, we try to help them find an agency that might be a better fit.”

The couple first saw the boy, who was about 3 years old, last January, Ms Rutan-Ram said in an interview Thursday, on the website of the Tampa Heart Gallery, a non-profit organization that profiles children in the foster care system and helps match them with adoptive families. Attracted by her smile, age and resilience in overcoming developmental challenges, the Rutan-Rams decided to start the adoption process.

Ms Rutan-Ram said she asked Holston “whether it would be a problem that we were a Jewish household”. The agency said it would get back to them, she recalls. Initially, Holston agreed to provide the mandatory parent training and home-study certification, which would then be presented to Florida before the conservatorship could take effect, the lawsuit said.

The couple could then have welcomed the child into their home for six months before adopting him. But on January 21, 2021, the day they were due to start the foster parent training course, Holston employee Melissa Russell emailed Ms Rutan-Ram.

The lawsuit quoted the email as saying, “As a Christian organization, our leadership team made the decision several years ago to only provide adoption services to potential adoptive families who share our system of beliefs in order to avoid conflicts or delays with future service delivery.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Tennessee couple say adoption agency turned them away because they were Jewish
Tennessee couple say adoption agency turned them away because they were Jewish
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