Wondering How To Adopt In India? Here are Answers To 15 FAQs About Adoption!

People looking to adopt in India often feel lost, as the laws governing adoption can be intimidating. Here are answers to 15 FAQs (frequently asked questions) about adoption.

Want to adopt in India and looking for answers to questions about the process and legal framework? Read on!

You don’t have to give birth to someone to have a family. We’re all family – an extended family.These words by actress Sandra Bullock sum up adoption in the most beautiful way possible. Motherhood or rather parenthood is not restricted to your DNA, it is an emotional relationship that comes from the heart. It’s said that that adopting a child would mean a new lease of life for the child, but it’s as much a new lease of life and joy to the parents.

Who is eligible to adopt in India?

Any person irrespective of their marital status is eligible to adopt a child. But the person adopting a child must be mentally, physically, and emotionally stable. The person intending to adopt must be financially stable and shall not have any life-threatening medical condition.

Are there any restrictions on single or divorced women for adopting children?

Single or divorced women are eligible to adopt a child in India. Single women can adopt a child of any gender unlike single men who are permitted to adopt only a male child.

Are there restrictions on married couples adopting a child?

In the case of a married couple, the consent of both spouses is essential for them to be considered eligible as prospective adoptive parents. A married couple must have also had a minimum of two years of stable marital relationship before registering for adoption.

Could having a biological child become a limitation for adoption?

A single person or a married couple is eligible to adopt in India,  irrespective of the gender of their biological child or children. But a person with 3 or more biological children would not be eligible for adoption. In such a case exception would be made if the child is sought to be adopted as a special needs child, a relative’s child is sought to be adopted or the adoption is being sought by a single parent.

Does age of the prospective parent or adoptive child play an important role in the eligibility criteria to adopt in India?

The eligibility of prospective parents is considered based on their age as on the date of registration. Further the age of the child they would be eligible to adopt would be based on their age. The criteria for deciding the age is listed below:

Age of the Child Maximum Composite Age of a Couple Maximum Age of Single Parent
Up to 4 years 90 years 45 years
Above 4 and up to 8 years 100 years 50 years
Above 8 and up to 18 years 110 years 55 years

Under any circumstance, there should not be an age difference of fewer than 25 years between any parent and an adopted child. But this criteria for age is not applicable when a relative’s child is being adopted or the adoption is sought by a step-parent.

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Can Non-Resident Indians, Overseas Citizens of India, and Foreign Nationals adopt from India?

Persons currently residing in countries that are signatories to the Hague Convention be it NRI, OCI or a foreign national can approach an authorized foreign adoption agency in the concerned central authority in the location of residence to initiate the adoption process.  NRIs looking to adopt in India, are considered on par with Indian Nationals residing in India for priority of adoption.

What are the legislations governing adoption in India?

Until the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 (2 of 2016) came into force, adoption was entirely governed by personal laws in India. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and Buddhists. Thus only people belonging to these religious beliefs could adopt. Parsis, Muslims Christians, or Jews could only be awarded guardianship under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.

This would mean, the adopting parent would only have guardianship rights over the child until she or he becomes a major. The child also will not have inheritance rights of the guardian’s property. This was challenged by activist Shabnam Hashmi, and the Supreme Court ruled that “irrespective of religion, caste, and creed, are free to adopt children under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act”. Though this was termed optional legislation by the apex court. So, people still have the right to follow their religious personal laws and seek only guardianship over the child as specified under the personal laws.

When is a child considered eligible for adoption?

An orphan surrendered or abandoned child, who has been declared free for adoption by the child welfare committee.

When the prospective parent is related to the child in the capacity of a maternal or paternal aunt, uncle, or grandparent. The term relatives defined under the Juvenile Justice Act, covers only these relations. Child or children of a spouse from the earlier marriage. The biological parent should have surrendered the child for adoption.

What is the process to adopt in India, if you are an Indian citizen?

The prospective parent has to upload their application on the CARINGS portal maintained by the Central Adoption and Registration Agency (CARA) along with the required documents. This application is made to the specialized adoption agencies and the application can only be made online on this platform https://carings.nic.in/.

After the registration, a social worker from the specialized adoption agency conducts a home study of the prospective adoptive parent and uploads a report on the CARINGS portal.

Based on the choice and eligibility of the parent, children are referred to the parent and they have to reserve the child within the next 48 hours. The adoption committee then matches the child to the parent in the next 20 days.

After that, the prospective parents then accepts the child and takes the child in pre-adoption foster care.

Within 10 days of this acceptance by the prospective parents along with the specialized adoption file a petition with the district magistrate to approve the final decree of adoption.

The birth certificate and the will be applied for and issued within 8 days of the acceptance of the decree of adoption.

Is there a follow-up by the adoption agency after the completion of the process of adoption?

Yes, for up to 2 years from the date of the child being adopted there shall be follow up on the child by the special adoption agency.

Do the special adoption agencies charge a fee for their services?

Yes, the special adoption agencies charge the following during the and after the adoption process:

Fee for home study report: Rs.6000/-

Child care corpus fee: Rs.40,000/-

Each post-adoption follow-up visit: Rs.2000/- there would be 4 visits in 2 years.

Can NRIs, OCI, foreign nationals from countries not signatories to the Hague convention apply with CARA?

Yes, they would have to approach the authorized foreign adoption agency in their country of location. They are enlisted by CARA.

What is the time taken for the adoption process in India?

It takes 3-4 months on average for the process to be completed after the child has been finalized by the prospective parents. But it would be difficult to estimate the waiting period as it depends on several factors including the location and gender preference of the prospective parent. The wait period is significantly lesser if the prospective parents chooses to adopt a child with special needs.

Does the fee and adoption process vary for NRI, OCI, and foreign nationals?

Yes, there is a difference in process and fee for NRI, OCI, and foreign nationals. The details of the same are specified here: http://cara.nic.in/Parents/Guidelines_living_Abroad.html.

Do persons adopting a relative’s child, also have to apply through CARA?

Yes, for adopting a relative’s child as well as a stepchild, application has to be made through the CARA portal.

The Central Adoption and Resource Authority (CARA) maintains a database of children and prospective parents and also adoption details through its centralized CARINGS software. So do not fall prey to advertisements on social media or instant messaging applications, publicizing children for adoption. If you see such advertisements or a child in need of care immediately report this to the CHILDLINE on the toll-free number 1098 or to the local police station. Even if you wish to adopt the child it has to process through CARA to be deemed legal.

Adoption is a means of attaining parenthood, hence it is a major life-changing decision. Before you proceed with the decision to adopt a child, ask yourself if you are ready for the parenting responsibility and prepared to emotionally invest in the child. Only if you are sure, proceed with your decision.

A child should get the same love and care from the parents irrespective of them being adopted or biological. So please do not treat adoption as a charitable exercise. If it is a charity that you are intending to do, then there are plenty of other means available to serve society but adoption is definitely not that method!

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About the Author

Parvadavardini Sethuraman

A dreamer by passion and an Advocate by profession. Mother to an ever energetic and curious little princess. I long to see the day when Gender equality is a reality in the world. read more...

88 Posts | 293,323 Views

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