A Jewish couple from Tennessee had their bid to foster and adopt a disabled child denied because their faith “didn’t align” with the adoption agency’s belief system. The couple and multiple other residents have filed a lawsuit against Tennessee’s Department of Child Services.
“After learning they couldn’t have biological children of their own, a Jewish couple in Tennessee hoped to foster—and later adopt—a disabled boy whom they saw as adorable and resilient. To do so, they’d have to work with a state-funded foster care agency.
Ultimately, however, they were told their Jewish faith didn’t align with that agency’s belief system, according to a lawsuit the couple and several other state residents filed against the state’s Department of Children’s Services Wednesday.
“I felt like I’d been punched in the gut,” Elizabeth Rutan-Ram said in a press release announcing the lawsuit, which was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State. “It was the first time I felt discriminated against because I am Jewish. It was very shocking. And it was very hurtful that the agency seemed to think that a child would be better off in state custody than with a loving family like us.””