Courts have been justifiably reticent to pull a child who has bonded with surrogate parents from a permanent home, unless it is found his best interests compel it. In a recent Winnipeg case, adjudicator Jennifer Cooper followed this wise course in refusing to remove a toddler, who is part Métis, from his Filipino foster parents.
Manitoba's child welfare agencies strive to keep children in culturally appropriate homes for good reason. In late 2011, however, the six-month-old boy was placed with Filipino parents who want to adopt him. This past spring, the Métis Child and Family Services agency said they found an adoptive Métis home for him. The boy's biological father is Ukrainian, his mother's roots are European and Métis.
Ms. Cooper found moving the child from the home he has had for almost his entire life would hurt him more than he would benefit from being raised in a Métis home. She is right. A child's first needs are protection, love and the security that comes with parental bonding. Moving a child breaks the attachment, which must start anew. Culture is important to a sense of belonging, but the love bond is critical to the sense of self, the ability to flourish. The law has served him well.