Indians are fast opening up to the idea of adoption. It is no more a taboo. Adoption is no more just a result of fertility issues, but it is gaining acceptance due to the higher level of social awareness among people. Even couples or single people who have no fertility issues opt for adoption to give a loving home to a homeless innocent child.
The financial and emotional stress of modern life has led to an increase in infertility problems. Also many couples go for a single child at first due to physical and financial constraints, but once they settle down with one child, they feel the need for a sibling. Many such couples too are opting for adoption of a second baby. Plannings to be made for an adopted child is not much different from that of deciding to have a biological child. But adoption requires some more self analysis. The common questions that arise in one’s mind are-
1. Am I really emotionally prepared to adopt a child and also patiently go through all the procedures of adoption?
2. Does my financial situation allow me to provide a comfortable life to the child? More so, if it is a second child?
3. Will I be able to love the child who is not biologically mine?
4. Will the child accept me?
5. Can the actual genes of the child negate all my efforts of bringing up the child in a particular manner?
6. Can the other family members (more importantly the biological child in case of adoption of a second child) accept the new member heartily?
7. What will be the society’s reaction?
8. How and when should I tell the reality to the adopted child?
Several such doubts arise in the mind because we do not want to do any kind of injustice to an innocent child. If any such doubts prevail in the mind, it is better to go for counseling before starting the actual procedure of adoption. Locate parents who have adopted and learn their experiences.
General Rules of Adoption in India
1. The age difference between the adoptive parent and the child to be adopted should be at least 21 years.
2. If a one year old child is adopted, the age of the parents should not be more than 45 years. The maximum age changes with the age of the child, but it cannot be more than 55 years.
3. Children upto the age of 12 years can only be adopted.
4. There are different laws of adoption for Hindus, Muslims and Christians.
5. Single women can adopt child of any gender, but Single men can only adopt a male child. It is also more difficult for single men to get a child for adoption.
6. Desiring parents should be medically fit.
7. They should have enough income to support the child comfortably.
8. If going for a second adoption, a child of the same sex as the first child of the couple, is only allowed. Although this may differ under different laws.
A child is given for adoption only after a homestudy of the applicant parents. The social workers working for the orphanage from where the child is to be adopted, visit the future adoptive parents’ home to be sure that the couple can provide a good home to the child. Only after a positive result is shown of the home study, the application for adoption will be considered by the court.
Selection of a Child
Parents or persons going for an adoption can specify their requirements to the adoption agency. Parents can select the gender, age, complexion of the child. The agency then tries to match these requirements and then calls the adopters to select.
Medical Report and Birth Certificate
The authorized adoption agencies provide the Birth Certificate and the medical history of the child. To clear any doubts, the adopters can get the child examined by any doctor of their choice. Birth Certificate of the child is an essential document, which the adoptive parents should not forget to posses.
The child is legally handed over to the foster parents by the court after it verifies all details of the persons adopting the child and the adoption agency, after all legal requirements have been fulfilled. The foster parents and representatives of the adoption agency have to attend the court on the given date.
The new foster parents are counseled by the adoption agency whenever required. Representatives of the adoption agency also check the status and well being of the adopted child from time to time.
It is always better to adopt a child through the legal procedures laid down by the government, even if it means a little delay. Adopting by illegal means may put one in trouble in the future. What if the real parent turns up sometimes in the future and starts blackmailing? Children are accepted in authorized orphanages and adoption centers after due verifications about the child’s history, so that no one can play mischief later.
The wait may be for months or years, but it is worth it.
The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is the highest authority in India for adoption related procedures. The regional placement agencies have to be recognized by CARA.