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Adoption For Single Women In India: What You Need To Know

Posted: March 8, 2013

Single, but planning to adopt? Learn what to expect and how single women in India can handle the challenges of adoption.

By Aditi Bose

Reports of the Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare show that the number of single women who are adopting is steadily growing in India. The question is why? The answer lies in the universal desire to have a family.

Adoption rules in India for single women

According to the Juvenile Justice Act [PDF] that was amended in 2006, adoption means, “The process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his biological parents and becomes the legitimate child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached with the relationship.”

– In India all adoption issues are handled by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), an autonomous body governed by the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

– A minimum age difference of 21 years between the single mother and the adopted child is required if they’re of opposite sexes.

– A single parent should be between 30 – 45 years in age if she wishes to adopt a child in the age group of 0-3 years. The upper limit for a child older than 3 years is 50.

– The single parent should have an additional family support.

– According to the rules the adoptive parent has to be both medically fit and financially settled.

– According to the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 Indian citizens who are Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, or Buddhists are allowed to adopt not more than one child of a particular sex.

– For foreigners, NRIs and those Indian nationals who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews, according to the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890, the parent only acts as a guardian till the child attains the age of 18.

– One can adopt a child from recognised private placement agencies, Shishu Grehas or State Adoption Cells

Hurdles faced by single Indian women who want to adopt

1. Adoption agencies

I asked my aunt, who is married and has an adopted daughter what she thought of the adoption agencies. “It worked well for me,” she said. When I asked her the next question, “And for a single mother?” This was her reply: “I know of someone in Pune who is trying right now but she is having quite a tough time. They keep delaying her process on some pretext or the other.” She is not the only one. Despite there being a law wherein single women in India are allowed to adopt, there are still many agencies across the country that make it tough for single women.

2. Family

A practicing child psychiatrist in Calcutta, with an adopted child of her own, went on to tell me that she knows of a few divorced single mothers who, “Faced the greatest obstacle from their own parents who said that they were being selfish for not providing a father to the adopted child and that they should re-marry soon.” As the idea of two parents raising a child has been so ingrained in our minds, it’s tough for anyone to accept single motherhood very easily.

3. Society

When I asked a lady who works with an NGO in Delhi, and who I used to be a tenant of a few years back, her thoughts on the hurdles of single motherhood, she said, “Society’s views are very narrow-minded regarding this group and everyone wants to know about the whereabouts of the father.” Unfortunate but true. Thus begins the battle for respect by most single mothers in India.

4. Schools

A few institutions have mandatorily implemented the use of the mother’s middle or maiden name during admission. But there are still many who refuse admission when the child does not have a birth certificate and a father’s name.

5. Work-life

The transition from being an independent ‘freedom enjoying’ woman to one who begins to share her life with another life is not easy. Motherhood is a demanding role even in homes where a partner might be available to pitch in with the household chores. While co-parenting has its own challenges, single parenting can also cause a lot of stress to the single mother. After a hectic day at work when single mothers might long for moments of solitude, they find themselves often burdened by guilt.

8. Telling the child

A friend of my college professor has had good luck when it came to parental support. However, her greatest hurdle was, “When a few people who I used to think of as my friends decided to tell my child (that she was adopted) before I was ready.” Truly, this  decision is best left to the single mother.

Support for single women considering adoption in India

1. NGO

Many NGOs, such as Sudatta, help single women in India to cope with this change in their lives. Joining one might help you to form a support group of other like-minded ladies who could share their experiences and advice.

2. Internet

The constant availability of chats and information sharing on various groups globally on the web help a lot. For example, the People’s Group for Child Adoption in India has over 700 online members who offer mentoring to those planning to adopt.

3. Read

Books on adoption can act as good guides. Some of these are:

– Toddler Adoption: The Weaver’s Craft by Mary Hopkins
– Adoption in India: Policies and Experiences by Vinita Bhargava
– Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge

4. Prepare well

The scepticism of adoptive agencies as well as the doubts raised by others will reduce when they see how well prepared, committed and confident you are in adopting a child. Evaluate your financial situation minutely so that you are able to show the agency exactly how you plan to provide for your child in the future. Prepare yourself mentally to welcome a new person into your life.

To all those women who have embraced motherhood through adoption, a huge round of applause. Your choice is heart-warming indeed.

Image via Pixabay

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  1. Thanks for this! I want to go in for adoption and am a single female in india. Thanksfor all this 🙂

  2. Hi I want to adopt a child I am a single woman what is the procedure for that .

    • HI , did you progress in your wish , just wanted curious

    • Paromita Chatterjee -

      Hi Anjali…In case you didn’t get the information you needed, please check out http://www.cara.nic.in
      They have all the necessary information. I am currently going through the adoption process in Delhi and would be happy to share my experiences, if that’s of any help to you. You can mail me at rum09 at Hotmail dot com


    • Hi Paromita,
      I am seema here and liked your post on this forum.I am planning to adopt a girl child.It would be lovely to chat to a person who is going through the process as i am a single woman wanting to do the same.

    • Paromita Chatterjee -

      Hi Seema, I’m sorry I missed your post to my message earlier. Would be happy to connect. I brought my 3+ yr old daughter home last year and it’s been a wonderful experience. Feel free to mail me at rum09 at Hotmail dot com.

    • Shakuntala Kerumane -

      did you completed process..?

  3. I am a single woman. Self employed. want to adopt a child. I am 28 now, people say its an early decision, kindly suggest.

  4. hi… Im married for three months… i would like to have a biological child too but would like to adopt one child too… kindly suggest…

  5. I’m 25 year old and single and would like to adopt a kid. Is this the right age to adopt and what is the procedure and how much time it might take?

    • Sheetal any major Hindu woman(18+ age )(including sikh jain buddhist) , of sound mind can adopt any hindu girl of age not exceeding 15 years…
      But if in case of boy, ur age need to be 21 year older than that of boy child..

      Law student : @ashishtewatia.3@gmail.com
      For further info…

  6. I am a single woman. Self employed want to adopt a my brother 7 year old child. I am 47 now. It’s a late decision but I want suggest me

  7. hi there,
    iam a dentist,32 yrs old,unmarried and want to go in for adoption of a girl child,this article helped me alot,thanks:)

  8. m 24 as of now.. but at 30 i want to adopt a girl to love be loved..

  9. Well done for sharing all this info.

  10. Shalini Singh Thakur -

    M frm Shimla…m unmarried lady 30 yrs old…wana adopt a baby girl…plz tell me d areas in n around Shimla frm whr i can adopt…plz reply soon…

    • Paromita Chatterjee -

      Hi Shalini…Don’t know if you got an answer to your question, but I think you should check the CARA web-site to find out about the authorized agencies in and around Shimla. You will need to register with one of them, after you meet and talk to them about your plans. I am a single woman, 38 yrs. I am currently going through the adoption process and am registered with an agency in Delhi. You will got all the information on the CARA website. In case you have other questions, feel free to email me at rum09 at Hotmail dot com


    • Hello Paromita
      I would love to adopt an orphan from India. I am a British Sikh and live in the UK and am a professional, single woman. I am 48 do you think I am being unrealistic or is it possible for me to adopt. I would really appreciate your’s or anybody else’s opinions and any practical advice. Many thanks. J

    • Hi J…I don’t know if you are an NRI/NRO or just a British citizen seeking to adopt. In either case, the rules for adopting from India would be different. I am probably not the best person to advise you on that. As I mentioned in my post, the best place for you to seek information is the CARA website, at http://www.cara.nic.in. I completed the adoption process for my daughter in November last year and can say that if you do your due diligence well and are willing to take the time, you should be able to adopt. You would need to register with the local Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) or Central Authority (CA) or Government Department dealing with adoption matters in your country, as a foreigner. They will then forward your Home Study Report to CARA, who will then take up the matter. There is however, an age limit of 50 for any prospective-adoptive-parent. So, I would say you don’t have a great deal of time left, if you plan to adopt from India.

  11. Megha Maheshwari -


    I am a single and independent woman and I want to adopt a child. I am 31 years old person.
    please share some experience with me so that I can decide that I am on right way.

  12. Ever since 10th grade, I’ve wanted to adopt a little girl. I knew that this society will throw a lot of hurdles, and that it may remain just a dream, but I will never stop pursuing the idea. I truly believe that you don’t have to share blood to be related. Love is universal, and adoption is the best way to propagate that idea. Thank you for consolidating so much information in this post, it really helps those of us who want to adopt get started.

    • I agree wholeheartedly. I want to adopt because there are so many unloved children in the world. Providing a loving, safe environment for a child is the most beautiful thing that can be provided..

  13. arundhati mohite -

    Thanks for valuable information. I am single women and want to adopt a child. But I will proceed for this after I cross 30. But still wanted to collect more information.

    • Aayushi Jauhari -

      Hi Arundhati, I am just like you. Single and unmarried. I too aspire of adopting a girl child when I turn 30. But I dont have family support. My family is extremely against my decision. Can you please suggest me how to avoid this barrier in my procees of adopting child.. Hope to see your response soon..

      Yours Sister, Aayushi

  14. Hi. My 3+ year old niece was deserted by her mother when she was 18 months old. My brother & parents are now taking care of her. I am looking for someone who would wholeheartedly love and take care of my niece and also would like to join our family. the reason to approach women here is because our family is looking for a mother figure to my niece more than a wife to my brother. The matrimonial site is full of junk. please email me if this proposal suits you. Thanks Ramni.
    those interested could reach me at ramni.girish@gmail.com

  15. i m a single woman (30yrs old)…….living separate frm my husband…still divorce is not done….but i m self dependent…..can i adopt a baby

    • Hi Khushi, did you get an answer for your question? I have a similar situation like yours..I am living separately from my husband..and I want to adopt a child. I am not a divorcee. Very curious to know if you have got any answer..Are we eligible to adopt a child.. I have lot of savings and i am working..I can support my adopted child without getting any support from my husband.. Also I live with my parents who are very independent and above middle class…

    • Hi, have you received a response to your query?

  16. Im sangeetha and im yet to receive the order of divorce from the court.. I wuld like to adopt a baby to add strength to my lonely life… Im working as a professor and I could support the child independently of my parents. Whom shUld I contact and howto proceed with… Kindly if anyone here online is facing same problem like me could u give me some information

  17. priyadharshini -

    Hi,I have my biological parents fine …Its just out of helping or passion I would like to adopt a mom(around age 50 yrs) who has been left over by her family.can you please advice on this as I dont have a clear idea,post ur advice to cheekki@gmail.com

  18. hi
    i am 21 year old and live in india i would like to have a family that i deserv. i would do anything . anyone willing to adopt me can contact me.please help me , god bless anyone willing to take me as there son. ajaysingh dot akku ad gmail com

  19. Hi am 21 and single I wud like to adopt a baby..and am sure that I can love her more than anything…BT my parents are not supporting..is this possible for me to adopt without a family support???will be NY issues???pls reply..

  20. Hi,
    I am 27 years old and would like to adopt a girl baby. Is that possible?

    Please share me the procedures on the same..

  21. Looking for parents who can adopt a new born baby in india, some of parents are looking for those who can give a perfect future to their this month expected child because they are finantially unable to provide all facility to the child – Please contact Baby Shelter

  22. Hi iam married have a daughter as our understanding is not upto the mark we separated and living our life’s independent but she is with her daughter I want some company and would like to adopt a boy or girl iam financially sound and in good health kindly help me.


  24. Tapasya Dhamne -

    Hello…. am a 38 year old single woman who is planing on adoption… how does one go about the process … where does one start from…. financially I am doing well and also have family support…

  25. Tapasya Dhamne -

    I just want a baby girl of 1 month old for adoption

  26. Sorry doesn't like to share -

    Iam a 40 year old age.is job compulsory to adopt a child?

  27. Hello everyone,

    Gud to see all having a great feeling of adoption. I also want to know is it possible for a female to adopt a child who are living separately from his husband.Plz tell me the procedure for the same.

  28. Hi I am 30 years old unmarried women form Tamil Nadu. I would like to adopt a girl baby .. now I am unemployed.. please guide me.. my mail id thanjaiaruna at Gmail dot com

  29. hi I am 21 year old and I want your help. my friend who is 20 year old unmarried boy was adopted 17years ago by two unmarried woman’s and they were not taking proper care of him, not providing proper food, and making him work like a maid in house and all. and now after so many years they are saying that they will make fake case on him and they will through him out without giving anything ….. please suggest me some think he is realy in a need

  30. hi im 45 years, my husband is dead past september . i didn’t have any child, shall i can able to adopt a child

  31. hi i am separated women i would like to adopt a boy baby on one to 3 months from the date of birth, right now i am divorced i am not interest to do second marriage i don’t like also, but i want to run My entire life with my child so i need i like i love baby if i am the self employees i get salary monthly 30000 if can do this .

  32. Aayushi Jauhari -

    I am single 24 year old and unmarried. But I am financially stable working with a multinational IT company. Since last one year I am trying to convince my family regarding female child adoption. But they are totally against my wish. Please guide me can I adopt child even if I lack family support.

  33. Hi,

    I applied for adoption a couple of months ago. Completed documentation and home study and now waiting for the report to get uploaded and wait-list to be updated.
    So far have been moving on automaton, but it has now hit me like a ton of bricks that I might soon have a child. And I have absolufreakinlutely no idea what to do from hereon to prepare myself.
    Any help from you would be Godsend, really.


  34. Hi,

    I applied for adoption a couple of months ago. Completed documentation and home study and now waiting for the report to get uploaded and wait-list to be updated.
    So far have been moving on automaton, but it has now hit me like a ton of bricks that I might soon have a child. And I have absolufreakinlutely no idea what to do from hereon to prepare myself.
    Any help from you would be Godsend, really.

  35. Hi,

    I am a 26 year old and unmarried. I just want to adopt a baby girl. I want to know is there any criteria for financial like how much I earn. Should I have to wait until I am not 30 year old.

  36. Hi .. I am 26 and don’t wnt to marry. Want to adopt a baby boy. ar would love t marry a widower with a small kid.

  37. Jignesh Patel -

    72 age ti adoption to 25 age son rules ..

  38. Iam S.Padmapriya, Single, 27 years old, Feeling to adopt a girl child. Not interested in marriage. My family members and well wishers are showing opposition for my decision. But i have hope. I can do this alone. Believe in god, Lets see the drama directed by god.

  39. hi i am rathna i need to adopt girl child i am 35 years

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