A planned adoption of a Somali child by a lesbian couple has been put on hold following protests from the Somali community.

The Harrow Times last week reported that more than 50 women protested outside Harrow Borough Council offices last week against an adoption they said was against their religious beliefs.

It is understood the adoption has been put on hold while the council examines the issues of the case.

The family involved in the case are being supported by the Victoria Climbie Foundation, which campaigns for improvement in child protection policies.

Director of the foundation Mor Dioum said: “Our main concern has been the process by which the adoption has been carried out.

“There is not an issue with the sexual orientation of the adoptive couple. We believe there has been a lack of communication between the children’s services at the council.

“It is right that this case is being reviewed but we want to see a general independent review of services so we don’t see cases like this again.”

According to friends of the family, the child was taken into care just over a year ago and its two other siblings have also been put into foster care.

It is understood the mother has previously suffered from mental health problems and that other members of the family offered to take care of the child.

A spokesman for the council said they could not comment on specific details.

In a statement, council leader Councillor Susan Hall said: “Clearly there is always an ideal that a child could be matched with parents from a similar background and heritage.

“But the reality is the ultimate choice is governed by the kind of adoptive parents who are available.

“The most important thing is that the child goes to a loving and supportive home and to people we believe, on the basis of thorough assessment, are best suited to look after them.

“There is clearly a need for potential foster and adoptive parents from different ethnic backgrounds to come forward as recruits.

“As the country’s population becomes more diverse, that requirement is only going to intensify and it is something we need to address as soon as we can.

“The careful search for the right adoptive parents also has to be matched against the fact that the child isn’t helped if this process drags on.”