Before we start, I want to share news which is very interesting about adoption in India and the fact is that, inspite of number of reported incidents of female foeticide, child abuse and disgraceful acts against women in India, the number of girl children adopted in India is much more than that of boys, in the last few years. Wow!! That’s really great news and I hope you also be surprised.
Now child adoption is seen as an increasing trend around the world and even in India also. In last few years, we have seen some of the celebrities also adopted a child and surprisingly out of them, some are not married even. It is such a great initiative. Hats off to them!
Mostly adoptions are either because the parents are not able to have their own kids due to medical conditions or some people are adopting a child because they want to give support to that baby who is all alone in the world. In earlier days specially in India, adoption was not popular and not even people were interested in adoption but now days, people are accepting adoption and trying to help those children who need love and support.
In India, an Indian citizen or a non-resident Indian (NRI) can adopt a child under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 and the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890.
Let’s see what the procedure to adopt a child in India is.
Fundamental Principles of Adoption: The following fundamental principles shall govern adoptions of children from India, namely:-
- The child’s best interests shall be of paramount consideration, while processing any adoption placement.
- Preference shall be given to place the child in adoption with Indian citizens and with due regard to the principle of placement of the child in his own socio-cultural environment, as far as possible.
- All adoptions shall be registered on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and the confidentiality of the same shall be maintained by the Authority.
Stakeholders in adoption process:
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA): – Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions.
- State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA): – State Adoption Resource Agency acts as a nodal body within the State to promote and monitor adoption and non-institutional care in coordination with Central Adoption Resource Authority.
- Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA): – Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) is recognized by the State Government for the purpose of placing children in adoption.
- Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA): – Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency is recognized as a foreign social or child welfare agency that is authorized by Central Adoption Resource Authority on the recommendation of the concerned Central Authority or Government Department of that country for coordinating all matters relating to adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that country.
- District Child Protection Unit (DCPU): – District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) means a unit set up by the State Government at the district level. It identifies orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in the district and gets them declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee.
Eligibility Criteria for Adoption:
1. The prospective adoptive parents shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable. They shall be financially capable also and shall not have any life-threatening medical condition.
2. Any prospective adoptive parents, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has biological son or daughter can adopt a child subject to following, namely-
- the consent of both the spouses for the adoption shall be required, in case of a married couple
- a single female can adopt a child of any gender
- a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child
3. In case a couple is adopting a child, they should have completed at least two years of stable marriage. 4. The age of prospective adoptive parents, as on the date of registration, shall be counted for deciding the eligibility and the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents to apply for children of different age groups shall be as under:-
Age of Child
Maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents
Maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent
Up to 4 years
Above 4 up to 8 years
Above 8 up to 18 years
5. In case of couple, the composite age of the prospective adoptive parents shall be counted.
6. The age difference between the child and the adoptive parents should not be less than 25 years.
7. The age criteria for prospective adoptive parents shall not be applicable in case of relative adoptions and adoption by step-parent.
8. Couples with three or more children shall not be considered for adoption except in case of special need children as defined in sub-regulation (21) of regulation 2, hard to place children as mentioned in regulation 50 and in case of relative adoption and adoption by step-parent.
Procedure to Adopt a Child:
- Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) register online on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) on www.cara.nic.in
- Select preferred Adoption Agency for Home Study Report (HSR) and State
- User ID and Password generated
- Upload documents within 30 days of registration
- Registration number generated
- Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) conducts Home Study Report (HSR) of the PAPs and uploads it on CARINGS within 30 days from the date of submission of required documents on CARINGS
- Suitability of PAPs is determined (if not found suitable, PAPs informed with reasons for rejection)
- PAPs reserve one child, as per their preference from up to 6 children
- PAPs visit the adoption agency within 15 days from the date of reservation and finalize
- If the child is not finalized within the stipulated time, the PAPs come down in the seniority list
- On acceptance of the child by the PAPs, SAA completes the referral and adoption process (on CARINGS)
- PAPs take the child in pre – adoption foster care and SAA files petition in the court
- Adoption Court order issued
- A post-adoption follow-up report is conducted for a period of two years.
Can Parents Ask for a Specific Child?
The PAPs cannot ask for the adoption of a specific child, hence if you are only looking for newborn baby adoption it may not completely be possible. However, they can give their preferences, which may include:
- Gender of the child
- Skin color
- Health condition (parents can specify if they want to adopt a child with a physical or mental disability)
Required Documents For Adopting A Child?
- Following is the list of documents to be prepared for the adoption process:
- Adoption application
- 4 x 6 size photographs – 4 copies of husband and wife together
- Marriage certificate and proof of age
- Reason for adoption
- Latest HIV and Hepatitis B report of the couple
- Income certificate
- Proof of residence
- Investment details
- Reference letter from 3 people
- Any other document which may be required by the agency or the court