Is adoption legal in India, how can I adopt a child in India?

 “Is adoption legal in India, how can I adopt a child in India?”


Today, a large number of families are enrolling for adoption for reasons other than infertility. Adoption is not a charitable act. It's about providing a child with the same level of care and responsibility as a biological child when you offer them a home and a family.

On social media, there have been multiple requests for the adoption of 'Covid orphans,' or children who have lost both parents to the virus. These posts have been heavily criticised by government officials because they expose orphaned and traumatised children to illegal adoption or, worse, child trafficking and child labour.

The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has advised the health ministry that parents with Covid-19 who are admitted to hospitals should fill out a form specifying who their children should be given to if they die. In these situations, the form does not imply that the existing adoption procedure will be bypassed. Instead, such a declaration would only benefit child welfare officials, who would still be required to follow proper procedures for any child adoption.

There are the legal procedures for adoption, why authorities are prohibiting adoption-related social media posts, and how it is illegal to take a child into one’s care without going through the proper channels.

The legal adoption process in India

Adoption is the legal process of establishing a parent-child connection between people who are not biologically related.

In India, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a statutory body under the WCD ministry that serves as the adoption nodal agency and is responsible for monitoring and regulating both domestic and international adoptions.

CARA regulates the adoption of orphaned (parents have died), abandoned (parents have abandoned), and surrendered (parents have legally given up custody) children through its affiliated or recognised adoption agencies.

The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, which applies to Hindus, Buddhists, Jains, and Sikhs, the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890, which applies to Muslim, Parsi, Christian, and Jewish adoptions, and the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000 govern adoption in the country.

Normally, a Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) must upload their adoption application and supporting paperwork to CARA's website in order to adopt a child in India. A social worker from a Specialised Adoption Organization (SAA), which is a CARA-approved agency, conducts a home study of the PAP, which is subsequently submitted to the website.

The SAA then shares profiles of children who are legally available for adoption with potential parents, who must “reserve” a child within 48 hours. Within a 20-day period, the SAA is meant to “match” the child with the prospective parent.

Previously, the SAA and the prospective parent were required to file a petition in the designated court regarding the final adoption decision, according to the JJ Act. The Union Cabinet, on the other hand, approved amendments to the Act that gave the District Magistrate, rather than the district court, the authority to issue final permission in adoption cases. This was done in order to speed up the adoption process.

Relatives wanting to adopt

If a family member desires to adopt an orphaned child, the process remains the same, according to Section 51 of the Adoption Regulations, 2017. The Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) requires prospective parents to register.

While the SAA will not disclose profiles of other children to prospective parents, the rest of the process will be the same.

The biological parents' or the Child Welfare Committee’s (CWC) consent will be necessary if the child is in their custody.

If the child is older than five years old, his or her consent is also recorded.

Adoptive parents must then provide an affidavit detailing their financial and social status before approaching the DM for final adoption clearance.

What happens during a crisis?

Even in the event of a pandemic, adoption procedures must be followed. A declaration by parents declaring who their children should be given over to in the event of their death, on the other hand, serves two objectives in this situation.

One, it assures that the child, who is likely to be traumatised, can be turned over to a trusted person right away. Two, it facilitates the work of Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) by establishing a prospective adoptive parent’s credentials in the eyes of the child’s biological parent.

However, this does not rule out the possibility of an informal adoption. The adoptive parent must legally take custody of the child and must follow the process.

Adoption through social media posts is illegal

First and foremost, if someone sees a social media post for adoption, it should not be spread further because doing so is prohibited. Posts like these must be reported to the District Child Welfare Committee or the child welfare helpline (1098).

Furthermore, officials have made it clear that children cannot be adopted informally based on social media posts, as this could expose traumatised children to the risks of child labour or human trafficking.

It is against the law to adopt or give orphan children to anybody else. Such children should be referred to a child welfare committee, which will take appropriate measures in the child's best interests.

Dissolution or disruption of adoption

If the adoptive parents and child are unable to adjust, a counselling session for the adoptive parents and adoptee is arranged by the Specialised Adoption Agency or the District Child Protection Unit. Adoptions can be disrupted or terminated if the child does not adjust to the family despite counselling efforts.

During pre-adoption foster care by the PAP, before the legal process of adoption is completed, disruption refers to the child being unpaired from the adoptive family owing to problems in the child’s integration with them. If the child does not adjust following the court order for adoption, the adoption must be lawfully dissolved by the same court that issued the order.

In India, disruptions are more common among older children, owing to a combination of poor parental counselling and a lack of preparation on the part of the children. Adoptive parents often have realistic expectations of their adopted children, which can lead to conflict and dissolution.

Furthermore, if the child is not being well cared for during the post-adoption follow-up, the agency has the right to take him or her back. Child welfare agencies have the option of placing the child in a temporary institution, following which a long-term rehabilitation plan can be devised. There are occasions when the child refuses to settle in the home and wishes to return to the institution. This can happen if the child is not counselled to understand that having a family is preferable to growing up in an institution.

Because India is a country with an excessive population and a big number of unwanted children, adoption is a pious act that should be conducted on a large scale by the people.

In India’s adoption system, agencies and adoptive parents have noticed an increasing preference for girls over boys in recent years. Adoption is one of the methods for controlling and preventing the raging problem of female foeticide and infanticide in India. And what could be more rewarding than providing a good and standard life to a child in desperate need? The adopted child will be well-cared for and protected, and he or she will have a promising future. Without a doubt, this is a complicated process, but if it is done, every parentless child will be able to attend school and live a life he could never have imagined.

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