In October, the Christian girl’s family was horrified when they learned their daughter had been adopted by a Muslim family in Florida.
“I thought they were going to take her away,” said Rachel, a 22-year-old Christian woman.
“It’s a terrible thing to have happen to someone like me, and I was terrified that my child was going to be put up for adoption.”
The family was so worried they went to the local adoption agency.
“They told us, ‘We don’t do Muslim adoption,’ and we were like, ‘Yeah, we do Muslim adoptions,'” Rachel said.
But it didn’t take long for Rachel to realize they were wrong.
“When I came home, they took her and put her in a room with some other kids,” she said.
The family then learned that their daughter was being raised by a married Muslim man and had never met her biological parents.
“So I started crying and crying,” she recalled.
“The Muslim family, they were like ‘We love you so much, we don’t want to lose you, we want to have your child.'”
Rachel said she felt ashamed and upset, and that she didn’t know how to help.
“All I did was sit there and I felt like I was alone and I just started crying,” Rachel said, tears flowing.
“Then, I felt really sad, I just didn’t want her to be alone.
I felt guilty for not knowing.
I just felt like, Oh my God, my child is being taken away.”
After a few weeks, Rachel and her family decided to leave Florida and seek help.
They contacted a social worker, who called Rachel back to tell her the adoption agency was not accepting new children.
Rachel said they were shocked.
“But they told me, ‘You know, you don’t have to worry about anything, and we’ll make sure you have a good adoption,'” she said, adding that the social worker was very helpful.
Rachel and the social help contacted the Florida Department of Children and Families, which told them it would take action.
“We were kind of scared,” Rachel admitted.
“And it’s like, Wow, now we’re in this dark place and we’re doing nothing to make things better.”
But Rachel and other Christian families are not alone.
According to a survey conducted by the National Christian Foundation in October, only 6 percent of American adults believe it is OK for Muslim parents to adopt their children.
“In general, the public doesn’t really care about the Christian family who was taken away from their family,” said Dan Bongino, executive director of the Christian Foundation.
“If you are an American and you have faith, and you are in a situation where you are separated from your child and your children are separated and you don.t know who to call, then you might want to speak up,” he said.
According a report by the Pew Research Center, American Muslims make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population.
“Muslim parents of American children are disproportionately affected by the lack of accountability and support in the U to Muslim parents who have been denied the chance to adopt,” the report states.
In Florida, Rachel’s case is not unusual.
According the Pew report, more than 1 in 5 American Muslims live in poverty.
Many Muslims, especially young Muslims, are fearful that adoption will end their family’s relationship with Islam.
“As a Muslim child, I feel that adoption is something that would be an opportunity for my family to reunite,” said Tarek, a 23-year old Muslim woman who lives in Tampa.
“That would mean that I would be reunited with my biological parents and I would have a relationship with my mother, and my father, and the rest of my family.”
“I’m not a bad person.
I’m not like a bad girl, I’m just like everyone else,” said Shadi, a 26-year of Muslim origin who lives with her Muslim family and is in her third year of college.
“You know that I’m Muslim, I can’t hide that,” she added.
“My parents don’t know that.”
According to the Pew study, one in five Muslims in the United States are immigrants, and about one in four are in the country illegally.
In the same report, about one out of every five Muslims have been married to someone who is not their spouse for the last two years.
Many of those Muslim families are struggling financially, according to a report from the American Immigration Council.
“There is no question that immigrant families in Florida face challenges of poverty, unemployment, and limited education, employment, and housing opportunities,” the Council said.
“Immigrant families are often separated from their children, and often have limited resources to provide for their children,” it continued.
The American Immigration Center said that in 2014, nearly 7 in 10 American Muslims were not enrolled in school, which disproportionately impacts Muslim women. “Women