Child Adoption From Hospitals Is Illegal And Unethical, Unlike What Films Would Have Us Believe!

Child adoption from hospitals is illegal in India. Only adoptions facilitated by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) are both legal and ethical.

Child adoption from hospitals is illegal in India. Only adoptions facilitated by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) are both legal and ethical.

“What if we go directly to a hospital and take a child? That child won’t know that she is adopted, no one will know!”

A conversation with an aspiring adoptive family can and has gone this route about child adoption from hospitals.

Adoption in India is through the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), a central government institution. The process is spelled out on their website clearly and there is an online portal for parents to register, upload their documents, and get into the system to be placed with a child, once legally cleared.

Given that there are inefficiencies in the system, there are fewer children cleared for adoption than there are parents waiting. This means that there is a wait for each applicant, the duration being different based on many factors like age and sex of child preferred, any locational preferences, interest in adopting a child with special needs, etc. Any parent getting into this system needs to accept this wait, much like pregnancy has its time requirement.

When you have decided to become a parent, one wants it to happen right away and not wait. That is understandable. However, child adoption from hospitals – going to a hospital and taking a child directly from the parent or a middleman, is illegal. Given this, why would parents consider bringing their child home illegally?

Parents think adoption is all about the legal process

Adoption is more than just the placement of a child in a family. It is a lifelong process for the child and therefore the family, and shows up in everyday parenting in a variety of ways.

One needs to look beyond the legal process to understand adoption in all of its facets. Adoption isn’t car repair and maintenance: put a child in a family in place of one who might have joined by birth and just move on. A child is not a blank slate to start with, and then this child has history before joining the family. This is true regardless of the age at which the child joins his/her/their adoptive family.

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While the process of placement is likely to be short with illegal child adoption from hospitals, the life long process of adoption becomes incredibly complicated through this act.

A child needs to be legally cleared for adoption

The legal process is there for a reason – a birth family’s rights need to be terminated before the adoptive family’s parental rights start. Without such termination, the legal status of the adoptive parents is in jeopardy. If shortcuts can identify a child to be placed on our home, the same process can also be used to find the adoptive family and claim the child in a few years.

This is not good for anyone, mostly putting the child in the middle of a tug of war at a sensitive time.

There have been cases in India where the child was illegally adopted; stolen from the parents while he/she was playing outside their house and placed fraudulently in adoption by an unethical agency. This was an inter-country adoption and when the parents fought back, the adoptive family had to return the child after years of parenting them.

The entire process is heartbreaking for everyone – the child, and the biological and adoptive families. When one goes through CARA, they have legal rights and remedies. The biological parents’ rights have been legally terminated, they were given 60 days to reconsider their decision, and everyone’s interests have been considered.

Adoption is a relationship: it needs to start with trust and truth

Best practices in adoption require parents to talk to the child on how they joined the family. Telling the child the facts of their adoption is a long process, told age appropriately with any of the child’s questions being answered in a sensitive but truthful way. Very hard truths can be reserved for a later stage.

Child adoption from hospitals leads to hiding of the truth, and not telling the child that he/she/they are adopted starts off the sacred parent-child relationship on a lie. A child who has been adopted is still working on trusting systems and the people around him/her/them. Every time they have developed a bond, it has been broken, even to place them in a loving home. Having the adoptive family be less than truthful with them is a hard hit.

There are many families whose children were not told by the parents. Many of them learned about their adoption in the middle of a quarrel or conflict, in a derogatory way. Several children have been very badly affected, trauma on top of early childhood changes that were in themselves traumatic.

Parenting is best done ethically – child adoption from hospitals is never that

This should go without saying. A parent bringing home a child would ideally be responsible and do the right thing – patriotism is about following the law first.

Second, parenting is about putting the child’s interests first and foremost and take a hit personally, if required – wait as long as it takes for placement, hard as it is to wait.

Third, think about what we are doing when we pay an unscrupulous middleman to have the birth certificate forged to put our names on it like we were the birth parents. Do we want to enable a system that trafficks children? What do we tell a child later on when they ask for the adoption deed, after finding out that they were adopted: that we paid for you like we would for any commodity? Do we want this on our conscience – that there is trafficking happening, and while our child in this home might be okay, other children might not be; and that we were a part of that problem?

Parenting is complicated enough without shooting ourselves in the foot, losing our legal rights and being nowhere in the child’s regard as parents with integrity.

Adoptive parenting is regular parenting++

There are parts that relate to telling the child about adoption truthfully and age appropriately; to healing or mitigating pre-verbal trauma; and the physical part of parenting related to working on nutrient deficiencies and the impact of low birth weight. There is enough reading material based on evidential research for those interested in understanding the impact of adoption on a child. It is real and with open acceptance, completely doable.

Let us be those parents who build positively on a solid and legal foundation, in the interest of this child we are to parent, even before we become parents.

Image source: Sanjasy on pixabay

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About the Author


Sangitha Krishnamurthi is a special educator, blogger and mother of three. Her interests include living a mindful and organic life as much as possible in addition to reading and writing about the reading. read more...

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