Child Adoption

Procedure for Child Adopation in India

They showed me the babies one by one. The last one was asleep, and when I walked up to her, she suddenly opened her eyes and smiled. I said this is got to be the one! - Sushmita Sen about her adopted daughter Renee.

From Hollywood's hottest couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, and pop diva Madonna, to celebrity single mom Sushmita Sen, they have all done it: adopt a child

Legal approval

Under the guidelines of Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), which is the autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development, only children legally approved for adoption can be adopted.

These include children orphaned, abandoned or surrendered by parents. They can be adopted through the local Recognised Indian Placement Agencies or Licensed Adoption Placement Agencies.

The Prospective Adoptive Parents are provided pre-adoptive counselling to prepare them before adoption. They are then given a list of documents they require for court use. While a few documents such as the income certificate, medical certificate of the parents, a copy of the wedding certificate (if married), police clearance certificate, etc. are mandatory, others such as insurance policy, property documents, etc. are treated as supportive documents.

Home study

Soon after, the parents register themselves with the agency, and submit the list of documents. Then, a home study is conducted by a professional social worker from the registered agency where he/she tries to understand the relationship between the couple, their financial background, support of the extended family, their interest in the adoption, etc.

Once this is done, a match is found for the parents. We take into consideration the gender, complexion and facial features," he says. Then the child is shown to the parents, who can take it home under the Foster Care Agreement. The procedure does not end there.

The parents must send a quarterly report after 90 days to the agency. The agency files the documents in the district court through a lawyer. Later, the court sends a notice to a scrutiny body – Indian Council for Child Welfare or Indian Council of Social Welfare. A scrutiny officer meets the child, and goes through the paper work, and sends a report to the court.

And, when the court calls, the social worker of the agency, the parents and the child appear before the court. Then, the court passes the adoption decree. After this, the Deed of Adoption is registered at the registrars office by the social worker and the parents. And, then the child is legally theirs.

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Ready Reckoner for adopting a child

* A Hindu female, who is unmarried, divorced or widowed, and is over 21 years of age and of sound mind, can adopt a child.

* Any Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh can adopt under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, and the adopted child has the right as the own child.

* However, Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews can raise the child under the Guardians and Wards Act, but the child does not acquire any right as their own child.

* Prospective Adoptive Parents must have an income of not less than Rs. 3,000 a month.

* Their total age must not be above 90. One of them should not be aged above 45. An individual who wants to adopt must be aged between 30 and 45. The age difference between the parent and the child must be at least 21 years .

* In the case of children with special needs, the Government has the liberty to relax the age limit of the parents .

* The consent of the child must be had, if the child is six years or above.

* The parents must pay for the maintenance of the child and legal fee.

Source: The Hindu dated 10/05/08