Letter: Children need love more than a culture

I read Emma Daly's article ("The girl who got away", 2 November) with rising waves of frustration. What do people mean when they say "the adoption of children by foreigners ... is ethnic cleansing by the well-meaning"? Is it really better for children to stay within their own cultures, come what may? Why have we raised culture to the status of a new religion? Such an attitude forms a large part of ethnic wars and their horrors.

Mr Nicholson says: "There is no culture in death". I would add: "There is no culture in an institution" and that is where Natasha would have stayed if she had survived. To be in an orphanage is to be cut off from your own people in a most unhappy way.

Eighteen months ago I adopted an eight-year-old boy from Bucharest after three-and- a-half years of bureaucratic wrangles. He had been in an institution since birth and the adjustment he had to make to family life was far greater than to England with its new culture and language. If I can fight my way through more bureaucracy and get Alex a British passport in time, I would like to take him to Romania for Christmas. This is not an essential as much as an extra. The essentials are happiness, health and security - with a loving family, friends and an enlightened education. I hope he will grow up to be a humanist rather than an ethnocentrist.

Della Nock

London SW2