A United Kingdom court has ruled to allow a British woman to adopt a girl who was found abandoned in a box on a street near the Upper Egyptian city of Luxor.
According to the Guardian, a high court judge ruled that the unidentified British woman can adopt the six-year-old and keep her in the UK. The ruling, which the judge said would be in the girl’s best interests, comes despite objections from the woman’s Egyptian ex-husband and from the Egyptian government.
In a written ruling summarised by the Guardian, the high court judge revealed that the girl, then a newborn, was found abandoned in 2010 by an orphanage run by a UK charity. The newborn was then taken into the care of the British woman and her Egyptian husband. After separating from her husband, the woman travelled with the child to the UK and filed adoption papers.
However, both the woman’s former Egyptian partner and the Egyptian government objected. The husband, identified as a Muslim lawyer, hoped to see the child return to Egypt either with the British woman or alone. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Ministry of Social Solidarity said that adoption was not recognised under Egyptian law and that the girl might lose her Muslim heritage if she was allowed to be brought up by the woman, who is a Christian, in the United Kingdom.
While adoption, in the regular sense, is strictly forbidden under Egyptian law, the law nevertheless allows other methods of caring for an orphaned child.
While there are no official statistics on the number of street children in Egypt, activists working with street children have often said the number is higher than one million.