Save the Children said in a study that 6.6 babies die per 1 000 live births in Washington, making the US capital the most dangerous city in the developed world to be born.

Pretoria - A married couple desperately trying to adopt the four-year-old boy they have been caring for, has turned to the Pretoria High Court because authorities appear to be stalling. The couple believe they are being given the runaround because they are gay.

The parents, who are not named to protect the child, said in papers before court that they love the little boy, identified as C, dearly. They are the only parents he knows and calls them “daddy” and “papa”.

The child has been living with the couple since 2010 after “he chose them” when they visited a local orphanage.

“We were walking through the facility when this beautiful child came towards us with outstretched arms. We were overjoyed at the spontaneous reaction that this child displayed towards us,” one applicant said.

The couple said they had been happily married for the past four years and had wanted to adopt a child from the start.

They were devastated when a prospective adoption fell through and they decided to foster a child in need, which was why they visited the orphanage in August 2010.

“We were thrilled at the prospect of being parents for a less fortunate child. As C chose us, we decided to foster him. He immediately crawled into our hearts.”

His biological parents are alcoholics who lived on the streets with the boy, often dumping him with other people.

The couple are also fostering C’s baby sister after authorities asked them to take care of her. She was abandoned by her mother, who left her in the middle of the road and a passing motorist saved her.

The couple told the court that C was improving in “leaps and bounds” since he has been with them. “It is such a blessing to have him in our home and he is a complete part of our family.”

The couple had decided to adopt C and said they complied with all the requirements set by the Department of Welfare and Population Development and the Children’s Act.

However, the presiding officer of the Meyerton Children’s Court, which has to confirm the adoption, had a problem.

He said he was disinclined to grant the adoption as doubt existed in his mind whether it was in the best interests of the child to be with a gay couple. The magistrate also said that he had never encountered such a case beore.

The magistrate said he wanted an expert to address him on the implications the adoption by gay parents would have on the child and whether “he too, would become gay”.

The magistrate also wanted to know how the child would address his new parents, whether he would call them “mom and dad”, before he made a decision.

A legal representative was appointed to act on behalf of the child, and drew up a report stating that there was nothing to indicate that the gay couple would not be good parents.

Judge Bill Prinsloo ordered the Children’s Court to consider the adoption in light of the report. - Pretoria News Weekend