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Adoption in India

Parenting is a joyous journey of nurturing a young one with love and affection. The
importance of a family in early years of development for a child is crucial. Adoption
provides a loving home to orphans and destitute children.

In recent years, the views on adoption have changed drastically in India. Traditionally in
India, adoptions were intra-familial with the objective of fulfilling religious and familial
duties. The first Childrens Act was enacted in the Madras and Bombay Precedencies in
1920, with the purposes of providing care and protection to destitute and neglected

Conceiving often becomes an issue due to todays changed lifestyles. Mostly, couples wait
for five years before contemplating medical treatments or adoption.

As Madhurima Gupta shares-We were expecting our first child and very excited.
Unfortunately, it was an ectopic pregnancy. We couldnt conceive for the next couple of
years. After many failed cycles of IVF, we gave up. By this time, eight long years had

Then they decided to adopt a child to fulfill their dream to become parents.

We followed the government procedure that took many months. We were asked to wait
for about four years.

We followed the government procedure that took many months. We were asked to wait
for about four years. However, we received a call much sooner to see a case. The child
turned to be angel in disguiseand thus began the roller-coaster journey of being parents
to a boisterous, over adventurous, active and an extremely loving child.

Adopting a child helps to fill the void in the lives couples and completes families. But it is
a long process and involves a lot of paperwork.

Adoption in India
According to CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), the Central Designated
Authority of Government of India that facilitates adoption of Indian children as per
Adoption Guidelines, 3988 children were given for in-country adoption and 374 for
inter-country adoption from April 2014 to March 2015. Despite the fact that there
are millions of orphans in our country, the number of adoptable (legally free for adoption)
children is lesser.

Three legislations allow Indian citizens to adopt children:

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956

The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000, amended in 2006

International Adoptions
Indian citizens, non-resident Indians and non-Indians residing outside India, can adopt a
child from India under one of the above mentioned three Acts, though different set of
rules are applicable for each of the category of adopting parents. Adoption laws give
priority to Indian citizens residing in India during the adoption process. A lot of the
adoption procedure also depends on regulations of the countries of residence of adoptive
parents and relevant immigration laws.

Adopting as a Non Resident Indian (NRI)

A child in an Indian orphanage has to be rejected by three native Indian couples, before
he/she can be placed for international adoption. Direct communication with an Indian
orphanage is not possible and prospective parents have to go through an agency in the
country of residence.

Children for Adoption

A child below six years who is an orphan, abandoned or surrendered and declared legally
free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee is eligible for adoption. A court-committed
child can come for adoption through Juvenile Welfare Board. An advertisement is placed
in State level newspapers by District Child Protection Unit with the childs photograph
and details to trace out the biological parents or legal guardians. If the child is unclaimed,
then he/she is placed for adoption.

Babies, who are born in hospitals and relinquished, have a record of medical birth history.
However this information may not be available in case of abandoned babies. At the time of
registration, you can request for a hospital born baby.

Age of the Child

You can decide to adopt a baby, a toddler or even an older child. It is a personal preference.
However, bonding with a baby is often easier. With an older child, it might require some

A single woman adopting a boy should be at least 21 years older than the child. A single
male is not eligible to adopt a girl child.

It is now possible to adopt two children of the same-sex and also another child of the
s1ame sex as that of the biological offspring.

Eligibility Criterion for Parents

The eligibility criterion for prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) are as follows-

The prospective adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable
and not have any life threatening medical condition.
Adopting couple should have at least two years of stable marital relationship
Any prospective adoptive parent, irrespective of marital status or having own biological
son or daughter is eligible to adopt.
A single female is eligible to adopt a child of any gender
A single male can only adopt a male child
The consent of both spouses is necessary if they adopt as a couple
The age of prospective adoptive parents is counted from the date of registration. If a
child offered for adoption is 4 years of age then the composite age of prospective adoptive
parents is 90 years and for single parents is 45 years. For older children it is more. The
minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents
should not be less than twenty one years.

Adopting Legally
Adopting directly from nursing homes, maternity homes or hospitals is not possible.
There are many touts/ or middleman in adoption who might mislead and lead to illegal
adoption, which may make you a part of child trafficking network. Legal adoption can only
be done through Specialised Adoption agencies (SAAs) that are recognised by State

CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) is the Central Designated Authority of

Government of India and responsible for facilitating adoption of Indian Children as per
the Adoption Guidelines.

Application Process
CARA has an online registration for all prospective parents within the country and abroad.
It also helps in tracking the status of the application. Registering online on the CARA
website is the first step for adoption. You can search for an agency from any state in India
on the CARA website.

Documents Required
The following documents are prescribed by CARA to validate the parents ability to take
care of a child. Uploading these documents within 30 days of successful submission of an
online registration form is mandatory otherwise the registration gets cancelled.