Everything about Adoption of Newborn Baby in India
Mothers come in different shapes and forms. Growing up in a family where we are loved and cared for is the greatest blessing in the whole world. However, not everyone enjoys the privilege. There are couples that are not lucky to have children of their own. Also, there are children who due to various reasons do not own a family. For either parents or children that are seeking to fill their world with cherished and love, adoption is a viable option for them.
Adoption allows a child the “right to a family” by permanently being separated from his biological parents and become a lawful child of the adoptive parent. The child might be abandoned or orphaned and adoption is done for the best interest of the child. The process helps to bring together a child seeking for love and nourishment and a couple looking for a bundle of joy.
In India, the adoption does not only allow abandoned and orphaned children to be adopted. It also allows a child who is willingly surrendered by the parents for adoption either because of physical, economic or social reasons are not able to keep the child. However, there are different laws that govern the adoption process.
While in recent past India has experienced tremendous social and economic growth, hundreds of thousands of children are still growing up without a family. And many of these children have very minimal chances of joining families, either biological or adoptive, within India. The greatest chance of many children in India is getting international adoption.
A child can be surrendered to be adopted under any of the following circumstances:
- The biological parents of the child are compelled either by physical, social or emotional factors beyond their control to surrender the child.
- The child is born out of non-consensual relationship such as rape
- One or both of the biological parents of the child are dead. Or if one biological parent is alive, he is unfit to take care of the baby
- The baby is born to an unmarried woman or out of wedlock.
- A child who is abandoned or unaccompanied by parents and has been declared abandoned by the child welfare committee
- An orphaned child when both the biological parents have died and there is no next of kin who is able of taking care of the child.
The child adoption process in India is governed by the following four laws:
You to adopt a child in India, you must meet some conditions. CARA, the nodal agency that regulates the intra-country and in-country adoption of children has set the following basic conditions for anyone who wishes to adopt a child in India.
• A foreign citizen, non-resident Indian or Indian citizen can adopt a child. The procedure for adoption for each category is different
• There should be an age difference of 25 years between the adoptive parent and the child to be adopted
• Any male or female irrespective of marital status can adopt a child
• If the adoptive parents are a couple, they should have been married for at least two years. Both partners should consent to the adoption of the child
• A single female parent can adopt a child of any gender. However, a male single parent cannot adopt a female child
• The adoptive parents should not be suffering from any life-threatening disease
• The adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable
• The adoptive parents should not have more than four children
• They should be financially stable to take care of the adopted child
Procedure for Adoption
The procedure for adopting a child in India takes the following steps:
Step 1 Registration
The parents who are looking to adopt a child should register with the authorized agency. They can register either online or at the DCPO (District Child Protection Officer). Some of the recognized authorities that adoptive parents can register for child adoption are the Special Adoption Agency (SPA) and the Indian Placement Agency (RIPA).
The agency will help you to understand the formalities, general preparation required and the paperwork for registration.
Step 2 Home Study & Counseling
A social worker from the recognized agency will pay the home of a prospective parent a visit for a home study. According to the CARA regulation, the home study should be done within 3 months from the registration date.
Also, the adoptive parents might be required to attend counseling sessions for preparation, motivation, and evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the prospective parents.
The conclusions from the home study and counseling must be submitted to a court.
Step 3 Child Referral
The agency is supposed to alert the intended parents whenever there is a child to be adopted. The agency will share the relevant information about the child such as medical report and physical examination.
Also, the intended parents are allowed to spend some time with the baby once they are comfortable with the child report.
Step 4 Child Acceptance
If the adoptive parents are okay with the baby, they will sign the paperwork for the adoption of the child.
Step 5 petition Filling
Once the adoptive parents have signed the documents, they will be submitted to the lawyer who will submit the petition to the court.
Step 6 Pre-adoption Foster Care
Once the petition for child adoption is signed in court, the intended parents will take the child to foster care. Here they will try to learn the child’s behavior. This is done before taking the child home finally
Step 7 Court Hearing
The adoptive parents must attend a court hearing with the baby. The hearing is done in a closed room with the parents only. The judge will state the amount of money to be deposited in the child’s name.
Step 8 Court Order
After the hearing and the deposit of the required amount and evidence given, the judge will sign the adoption papers.
Step 9 Follow Up
After the adoption of the child, the social worker will visit the home up to 2 years and report to the court about the well-being of the adopted child.
Can a Single Woman Adopt a Child in India
According to the Juvenile Justice Act, 2006, a single woman is allowed to adopt a child. Some of the factors that have seen an increase in the cases of single women adopting children are separation/divorce, financial independence in women among other reasons.
A single woman is allowed by the law to adopt a child of any gender. Unlike their male counterparts who cannot adopt female children. However, for a single woman to be eligible to adopt a child, she must be at least 25 years. For a single woman of 45 years, she can adopt a child below 4 years of age. A single woman of up to 50 years can adopt a child of 5 to 8 years. A single woman of up to 55 years is allowed to adopt a child of between 9 and 18 years. A single woman above 55 years cannot adopt a child.
Cost of Adopting a Child in India
According to the CARA regulations, adopting a child in India will not cost more than INR 50,000. This cost covers the following transactions:
• Registration fee
• Home study
• Adoption agency’s official fee
You do not have to pay all the money at once. You can pay as the adoption process progresses.
Child adoption from Hospitals
The hospital experience is the best experience when adopting a child. This is the basic beginning point for most families that are adopting children locally. It gives the adoptive parents the opportunity to meet their son/daughter to be for the first time as soon as he is born. This makes bonding easy.
Before the child is born, the hospital should be notified in advance of the child’s delivery. If the adoption is independent, it is the mother’s lawyer that notifies the hospital. If it is adoption through the agency, the social worker informs the hospital.
The child adoption at the hospital process varies from one hospital to another. The hospital is supposed to give the written adoption instruction to the party concerned. This is crucial so that you will know what is and what is not expected of you at the hospital.
Once the child is born, he will be put through the newborn health screening. This is to ensure that the child is healthy and the necessary medical reports will be made available to you. It is at the hospital that the biological parents of the newborn child relinquish the rights to the child to the adoptive parents. The attorney or social worker will ensure that all the necessary procedures are followed.
During the stay at the hospital, the biological mother will help in the filling of the birth certificate. She will either be allowed to choose the first and middle name for the baby or give the names chosen by the adoptive parents.
After the adoption process is completed, the hospital will seal the original birth certificate and issue a new birth certificate under the names given by the adoptive parents.
The release of the child from the hospital will be determined by a number of factors. The wishes of the adoptive parents, the state laws and the hospital policy will play a significant role. In most cases, the biological mother may not wish to carry the baby out of the hospital. In such a case, the baby is discharged directly to the hands of the adoptive parents. In some incidents, the baby is released to the hands of the agency or social worker. This gives the agency temporary custody of the child before releasing it to the adoptive parents.
During the child’s stay at the hospital, the adoptive and the biological parents will have a chance to spend some time together. Prior planning for this will ensure for a smooth, joyful and intimate experience between the two parties involved.
Adoption Laws in India
The laws of child adoption in India are in conjunction with the personal laws of different religions. For this reason, adoption is not made according to the personal laws of Christians, Jews, Parsis, Hindus or Muslims. However, an adoption can take place upon approval by the court based on the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. In such an arrangement, the adoptive parents are guardians and not parents of the adopted child.
Under this act, Christian adoptive parents act as foster parents and the child is allowed by law to break away from the adoptive parents once he becomes an adult. For Hindu, Sikhs, Buddhists and Jains, the adoptive parents are allowed to adopt the child formerly and this in accordance with the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956.
Children that are abandoned or orphaned are adopted according to the Juvenile and Justice Act, 2015. Today, there are no specific laid laws for the adoption of Indian children by foreign or non-resident Indians. But the adoption is guided by the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015.
When you want to adopt a child, you are required by law to have the following documents:
• Adoption application form
• Marriage certificate
• Proof of age
• Passport size photographs – 4 copies of husband and wife together
• Proof of residence
• Letter of reference from 3 people
• Reason for adoption
• Latest hepatitis B and HIV test certificate
• Investment information
• In the case of early adoption, the adoptive parents must provide an adoption decree
• In cases where adoptive parents already have a child older than 7 years, whether adopted or biological, a letter of consent from such a child is needed
• For single parents, a letter from a close relative stating that the relative can take care of the child in case of any eventuality to the adoptive parent is needed
• In case the prospective adoptive parent is divorced, a legal divorce or separation certificate will be needed.
• Any other document that may be required either by the agency or court
Age Limit of Child for Adoption in India
According to the Indian adoption laws, only children can be adopted. In India, a person under 18 years is a child and can be adopted. However, for Hindus, according to the Hindu Adoption Act, a child under 15 years can be adopted.
It is a right of every child to grow in a family where he feels loved, cherished, nourished and nurtured in order to grow into a caring adult. However, many parents due to reasons such as economic, physical and emotional are hindered from bringing up their children in the desired way. Adoption of children under such circumstances is provided for by the Indian constitution. This is to ensure that no child is left devoid of the love and warmth of a family that he deserves.
According to the Hague international adoption guidelines, India has thousands of children that need to be adopted and find a family to belong to forever. The Indian government has opened all the necessary channels to help place either abandoned or orphaned children in adoptive families either locally or internationally.
Most abandoned and orphan children are being taken care of children centers in different parts of the country. All these children centers are licensed by CARA by facilitating either domestic or international adoption processes. Also, these centers are required to maintain the government-mandated care for these children.
When in these institutions, every child has a right to medical, educational and nutritional care. However, due to the high number of children, most of these institutions are not able to provide the standard services to these children. For this reason, many children experience orphanage-related delays.
The Indian laws of adoption do not allow for the adoption of only siblings. CARA has the right to determine the age range for which children can be adopted. However, the maximum age limit set is 55 years. For international adoptive parents, at least one trip to India is required before they can adopt a child. The trip should last at least 3 weeks. A no-objection certificate should be issued by the Indian Adoption Agency before an international parent can take the child is needed.