Every married couple has a dream to have a baby. They always wish to bring a new life in this world. Most of them plan their first child after completion of 1st year of marriage. But a large number of couples are held back by this opportunity either because of past miscarriages, medical conditions, infertility or certain other problems. These can be social, emotional or psychological. But their heartily desire to have a child can be fulfilled by adopting a child. Child adoption is a growing trend in India and across the world, even celebrities like Sushmita Sen, Sunny Leone and Raveen Tandon have adopted kids.
Adopting a child is a godly act as it provides new life to a child who has been left alone in the world. Adoption was presumed to be a taboo for a long time in India but is now freely spoken and discussed.
Like most other countries in the world, there are certain rules and regulations that govern the adoption of a child in India. The adoption process in India is a very convenient process.It is monitored by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) which is a nodal agency that monitors and supervises domestic and international adoption. It is a subdivision of the Ministry of Women and Child Care.
Let’s take a look at how to adopt a baby:
What Qualification Do You Need To Adopt A Child In India?
There comes a time in every couple’s life when they want to add another member to their family. When you feel ready to have a little one join your family, you can look into this option and technicalities of making this dream into a reality. All countries and programs have their own list of rules concerning prospective adoptive parents (PAPs). So the query of how can I adopt a baby will now be clarified.
Following are the basic considerations that need to be ensured by the adopting parents in order to be suitable to adopt a child in India:
- Any Indian citizen, NRI or a foreign citizen can adopt a child in India. However, the procedure of adoption is different for each of them.
- Any individual is eligible for adopting a child regardless of their gender or marital status. If you are a single woman looking to adopt a child, you are allowed and able to do so.
- In case a couple is supporting/adopting a child, they should have established at least two years of stable marriage and are required to have a joint decision for the adoption of the child.
- The age gap between the child and the adoptive parent should not be less than 25 years of age. The maturity of the parent is of concern under Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) regulations and they need to be old enough to handle a child themselves.
When Is A Child Eligible To Be Adopted?
Adopting a child is a life changing decision for both you and the little one you are planning to adopt. But there are certain factors that are required to be checked first before the child is ready to be adopted. According to the Central Government of India, any surrendered, orphaned or abandoned child is permitted to be adopted only under the condition that the child is declared legally free by the Child Welfare Committee. Here are certain points explaining the meaning of what “legally free” means
- A child who has been deprived of any physical, social or emotional factors that are not under the control of parents or the guardian is considered surrendered by the Child Welfare Committee.
- A child who is without a legal parent or guardian is considered to be an orphan. Another condition is when the parents are unable to take proper care of the child, the Child Welfare Committee declares the child to be an orphan therefore allowing the child adoption process to proceed.
- A child who has been abandoned or being left by parents or guardian is declared abandoned by the Child Welfare Committee
- A child is considered eligible for adoption only when he/she is “legally free”. The basic procedure after finding any child who seems to be lost or abandoned, the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) alerts the state-wide newspapers to publish the child’s photograph and details. The DCP unit then requests the local police to find out about the child’s parents or guardian. If no one claims or is being found by the police, the DCP unit then declares the child to be “legally free” allowing the child adoption process to proceed.
What Are The Age Factors Associated With Adoption?
There are various age related factors that need to be properly understood before proceeding with the adoption process. Firstly, adoptive parent and child should have an age difference of at least 21 years. For example, if you are in your late 40s, you are allowed to adopt a child who is around 20 years old. Secondly, couples with a cumulative age of less than 90 are eligible to adopt a newborn. And lastly, for older and special-needs children, the Child Welfare Committee has relaxed the age limit to 55 years for the prospective parent. Most strolled question is what is the maximum age to adopt a child? So, a couple having a combined age of more than 110 years are not eligible for adoption.
Most organisations prefer couples that have been married for at least 5 years before allowing to adopt; however, this again is a relaxation from the Child Welfare Committee. A single individual between the ages of 30 and 45 years is eligible to adopt a child. If you come under this age segment, you are good to go. Adopt a child and enjoy the exciting experience of being a parent.
What Are The Normal Conditions That Are Required To Be Fulfilled By A Parent?
Do you want to adopt a child? Well, here are a few rules. Follow them to bring your child home. Central Adoption Resource Authority have some eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents to adopt a child. They are described below:
- The parents willing to adopt must be physically, emotionally and mentally stable. Their financial stability is also considered as a major factor in this situation, so that their ability to care for the adopted child is not hindered.
- If any of the parent is suffering from a life-threatening disease, they are not permitted to adopt a child. After all, a child needs a happy and stable environment to flourish.
- Each kid needs individual attention from his/her parents and an adopted child, even more so. Therefore, couples that have three or more than three kids are not eligible to adopt. For a special-needs child, the authorities consider the possibilities of adoption to get them into loving and caring families.
- Adopting as a single woman is also permitted by CARA. There are certain specific factors associated with the adoption process for a single parent. If you are approved by the authorities to adopt a child on the basis of financial social and emotional stability, you can proceed with the further procedures as discussed below.
What Are The Various Steps Involved In The Adoption Process?
After understanding the conditions and being eligible to have an adopted child, there still remains the process through which you go about it. For your easy comprehension of how adoption process India works, we have divided into a number of steps Here is a list of them:
- Home study
- Child Reference
- Filing the Petition
- Pre-adoption foster care
- Court Hearing
- Follow Up
Now, let’s discuss each of the steps one by one:-
Parents first need to register online on the official website of Central Adoption Resource Authority. Recognised Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA) and Special Adoption Agency (SPA) are certain agencies that provide such registration services in India. The adopting couple is then required to visit nearby Adoption Coordination Agency where the social welfare worker explains the complete process and takes them through the various paperwork and registration processes.
2. Home Study:-
The social welfare worker then visits the Parent’s residence to conduct a home study. According to CARA regulations, the home study must be completed within 3 months from the registration date .The reports are then submitted to the honourable court.
3. Child Reference:-
The registration agencies then starts to engage parents with certain adoptable children. According to CARA, agencies like RIPA and SPA are only allowed to shortlist at most 6 children for each Prospective Adoptive Parent. The agencies then submits various medical reports and physical examination reports to the couple. The parents are also allowed to spend a certain amount of time with the child to initiate the bonding.
4. Filing the Petition:-
After all the necessary documents are signed by parents, they are then advanced to a lawyer who constructs a petition that is to be presented in the court. The adoptive parents are required to visit the court and then the petition is being signed in presence of a court officer.
5. Pre-adoption foster care:-
The Prospective Adoptive Parent after signing the petition are allowed to take the child to pre-adoption foster care where they can spend time with the child and understand his/her habits and interests. They can also get input from the nursing staff so as to properly understand the requirements of the child. Finally, they can take their child home.
6. Court Hearing:-
After spending some days with the child, parents along with the child are required to attend a court hearing which is held in a closed room. The judge asks about the experience the parents have had with the child. Judge then inquires the parents about the investment that is to be made in the child’s name. Once the receipt of investment made is shown, the judge then finally passes the adoption orders.
7. Follow Up:-
After completion of all the procedures regarding adoption, the agency is required to present follow up reports in the court regarding the child’s health and well-being. This is required to be followed for at least 2 years.
Once you understand the full process and comprehend the implications of it in your life, the obvious next step is to analyse if your family and financial situation is ready for a kid. The cost of raising even biological kids are considered before young women plan their pregnancy, so if you are adopting, the expenses of doing so should be taken well into consideration.
Is Adopting A Child Expensive?
Under CARA rules, an adoption within India should cost no more than Rs 46,000: registration for Rs 1,000, the home study process for Rs 5,000 and Rs 40,000 for the agency’s official child-care corpus fund. Comparing to the happiness a child brings in the life of people, this cost is far less.
Therefore it can be surely said that child adoption in India is a very smooth and streamlined process, with the government officials providing help wherever required. Parents can also seek help from various non profitable organisations which provide counselling sessions for wannabe parents to clearly understand the responsibilities of being a parent.
Having a child is a priceless joy, an experience that would completely transform your life. But obviously it is not an easy decision, therefore you and your partner will have to ask some very hard questions to each other regarding the relationship between you two, accepting a child that does not biologically belong to you, about the financial conditions and the time and attention required to take care of a child. You will have to make tough decisions and will have to discuss various possibilities of adopting a child. Therefore, start researching about the different factors involved in the adoption process. Understand the responsibilities that will have to be accounted for. Try to discuss as much as possible amongst your family members so as to understand the real perspective of everyone regarding your decision of adopting a child. Once you are completely satisfied with everything, only then you should take a step forward and open your heart to bring your little fella home.