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Child Adoption Procedure In India: All Common Questions Explained

Posted: October 5, 2010

Today, many Indian women are considering adopting a child in India. Learn how to go about the child adoption procedure in India.

The wish to adopt a child comes purely from the heart. Yet, other aspects such as the financial, legal and procedural too need to be looked at. Children placed for adoption have no one to speak for them, except the adoption laws and procedures framed to protect their best interests. Despite a possibly longer wait, the approved legal route for child adoption in India ultimately guarantees you peace of mind.

Before adopting a child in India, remember! 

– Register for adoption with either an Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA) found in each state’s capital city, or an agency certified by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in New Delhi. CARA is a division of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

– You can get into trouble with the Law if you adopt from unlicensed orphanages or Children’s Homes, the streets, hospitals, lawyers, doctors or social workers. It may also lead to a tussle with the birth parent, or exploitation by fraudsters and middlemen.

– Children adopted illegally have been denied rightful inheritance and benefits by the extended family once their adoptive parents have passed away or divorced.

The basic child adoption process in India

Here are some quick facts about domestic adoption procedure in India by Indian nationals. The process and costs for international adoption are not covered here.

Disclaimer: Please cross-check all information given below with a lawyer experienced with adoption matters and with your agency, since adoption laws, guidelines and procedures change periodically. It is also useful to get in touch with a parent who has recently adopted from that particular state or agency. 

– Prospective parents register at a licensed adoption placement agency or ACA with all the required documents. Pre-adoptive counseling may be suggested.

– The waiting period begins once the agency’s social worker draws up the home study report.

– When the agency identifies a suitable child, they call the prospective parents to meet the child.

– If the parents approve, some agencies may hand over the child once a foster care agreement is signed.

– Meanwhile, the agency’s lawyer files a petition to adopt on behalf of the couple with the Court or Juvenile Justice Board, depending on the law under which the adoption will take place. An Order for execution of the adoption deed is granted.

– For the most part, the agency representative and the parents register the adoption deed at the Registrar’s as proof of the completion of the adoption, and then apply for the birth certificate.

FAQs about the child adoption process in India

Do adoption procedures in India differ from one state to another? 

Adoption laws are common across India and must be distinguished from guidelines followed in adoption procedures, which do differ from one state to another. For an understanding of the laws, please refer our earlier article on Adoption Rules In India and the listed resources.

While the macro steps in the adoption procedures in India are similar across agencies, there may be chances of more legwork or paperwork than you had initially been informed of. You can adopt from any Indian state, but your home study will be done by the ACA of the state you currently reside in and then can be transferred.

Is there a minimum/maximum age limit for prospective adoptive parents in India? 

The adoptive parent and child should have an age difference of 21 years or more. Couples with a combined age of less than 90 (with neither spouse older than 45) are eligible to adopt an infant. For older and special needs children, the agency has the discretion to relax the age limit for the prospective parent up to 55 years.

Most agencies prefer couples to have been married for at least 5 years before adopting a child; however, this is again at the discretion of the agency. A single person between age 30 and 45 years can adopt a child.

Can I adopt if I already have a child? 

Yes. The gender of the child becomes a factor here. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA, under which Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Buddhists and Arya Samaj adopt) allows you to only adopt a child of the opposite gender to the one you already have. There are no such diktats under the other 2 adoption laws, namely the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 (GAWA) and the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA 2000, amended in 2006), which has enabled many Indians to adopt a child of the same gender. Your child, if old enough, will be asked to express her views on the adoption, in writing.

Is there a minimum income needed to for adopting a child? 

As per CARA, couples must have a minimum average monthly income of Rs. 3000. Lower income may be considered considering other assets and support systems e.g. your own house etc.

Does adoption ensure the same legal rights as for a biological child? 

Under the HAMA, a child adopted by a couple has the same rights as a child born to those parents. Neither the adoptive parents nor the child can overturn a valid adoption. Adoptions under the GAWA only appoint the couple as guardians and the child as ward and do not grant permanent rights to name, religion, maintenance or inheritance. This necessitates extra precautions to protect the child’s rights.

Can a single/divorced woman adopt? 

Certainly! Under the HAMA, a female Hindu who has never married, has divorced or been widowed, can adopt a son or a daughter. She will have to also show an additional family support system and may have to appoint a guardian for her child, in the event of her untimely death. Do read this more detailed article on adoption by single women in India.

Can a single/divorced man adopt? 

Actually, yes! As per CARA, a single parent has equal legal status to adopt a child, and to deny him/her on grounds of single status is not only a violation of his/her legal right, but also his/her constitutional right guaranteed under Article 14 and 15. A single male can adopt only a son.

How much does adopting a child in India cost? 

The HAMA prohibits payments made or demanded in consideration or reward for adoption to the birth parents, agency or relinquishing guardians. These payments amount to trafficking in children, and may result in imprisonment or a fine or both.<

CARA has a fixed fee structure for adoption. Charges outside the stipulated headings are not legal.

– Registration fees: Rs. 200
– Home study report: Rs. 1000 + actual travel allowance (TA)
– Maintenance charges not exceeding Rs. 15,000 at the rate of Rs. 50 per day from the date of admission until placement in foster care.
– In the case of special medical care, hospitalization charges subject to a maximum of Rs. 9000 may be claimed on production of actual bills.
– Legal fees and scrutiny fees are as per actuals.

How can one find the status of one’s application for adopting a child? 

Keep in regular touch with the agency or ACA you registered with. As per CARA, the agency must do the home study within 3 months of the date of registration. You have a right to know from the agency about developments or reasons for delay. As of now, there is no centralized database of waiting parents or children that would help you know your status.

How can I determine the health of the child shown to me? 

Prospective adoptive parents have the right to take the child shown to them for a general check-up by an independent pediatrician. All CARA-certified agencies run HIV and Hepatitis B tests on the children in their care. Most agencies dissuade invasive tests by prospective parents unless there is any medical indication of a serious health issue.

The agency also must furnish any non-identifying details about the child’s and the birth parents’ medical history, if known. Additionally, the adoptive parents will be given any medical bills and records in the child’s name.

Adoption is a simple, private, legal process that builds happy families. Contrary to popular belief, the adoption procedure in India rarely involves red tape. A little document gathering, some legwork between the agency and Court, and suddenly you will find the child born in your mind and heart, warmly ensconced in your arms. It’s worth the wait!

Further reading resources (print books):

1.Adoption in India: Policies and Experiences. Vinita Bhargava. 2005, Sage Publications.
2.The Penguin Guide to Adoption in India. Dr. Aloma Lobo, Jayapriya Vasudevan. 2002, Penguin.
3.Ours by Choice. Dr. Nilima Mehta. 1992. (online edition also available)
4.Adoption: What, Why, When, How. Padma Subbaiah.
5.A Family for Every Child: Perspectives on Adoption in India. 2009, Catalysts for Social Action.

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  1. Very nice article indeed.
    Gives the complete perspective on documentation required from adopting couples, who can adopt, and the reasons on why to adopt legally !

    Keep up the good work, Women’s web.

    Thank you !!

  2. Jennifer Pinto -

    very nice article! informative and encouraging to those who are seriously thinking of adoption. Sometimes legal issues and other aspects can be a hindering factor but this article puts one at ease with the entire topic of adoption! Well done Nayantara.

  3. Thanks for the good introduction. Is there a long wait?

    Also is the history of the child revealed(medical). I was told by a friend these kids might not have been cared well before(nutrition wise and so on) and therefore might need more medical help.

  4. The court order passed& adoption deed registered. But the Corporation refuses to give Birth Certificate. Aand insisting for another case to be filed by including Corporation as one of the parties. The lawyer says that it is must as the period of one year has exceeded as on the date of Court order from the date of adoption. Is it so? Please clarify us as a war-footing measure.

  5. My sister is having girl child age 18 years from her previous marriage( father of this girl died in an accident) now she remarried and now she and her husband want to adopt this girl legally and give her new father’s name and surname for which the child is also ready. The girl child is staying happily with them only . So please advice me how this adoption can be done?

  6. My Adopted mother was a Govt. Employee and died, though the adoption taken place at my age of 9. But i have never changed my biological parents names from my certificates. Now i have to claim my adopted mother’s appointment and assets. Will i face any problem in my legal battle. Kindly guide.

  7. mahedra pandey -

    kis age me godnama honi chahiye

  8. What is the maximum age limit of child for adoption ??
    Child is a baby girl and Hindu Indian…
    Plz say me the age limit of child adoption…
    Reply me as soon as possible…

  9. my colleague would like to adopt his sisters daughter( four years old), as his sister is suffering from cancer and her husband is a missionary who is away most of the time.Is it possible to adopt? and if so, what is the procedure and timeline?

  10. Inderpreet kaur -

    Hi, we are planning to adopt my sis in law daughter in India and we are from New Zealand but we have Indian citizenship. Can u please tell me the legal procedure to adopt my sis in law daughter. Thanks

  11. One of my collegue wants give his baby girl 6 months. What will be procedure ????

  12. Hello, we are living In USA but we are not settling in USA and we have one son already now we want to adopt a girl child from India. Can you please let me know whether it is possible or not ? if possible what is the Procedure ? How long does it takes?

  13. Hi. i am a Filipino and my husba. First, he informed my husband is an Indian/ Few months after our wedding. my mother-in-law adopted a child from the hospital afterwhich she was telling us that need a married couple so that adoption is possible, so she declared us as the child’s parents. Me and husband are planning to stay for good in the Philippines, and my mother-in-law doesn’t want our son to be taken here..If that’s the case is it possible to transfer the custody to one of my husband’s siblings since they are the ones who has been taken take of the child since birth?

  14. HI, We are planning to adopt a child below 6 months. We are staying at Hyderabad. Please let us know the process and whom do we contact. How long it will take for entire process.

  15. I am widow women and i am working in central government office as a MTS. My appointment on compassionate ground. I have only one male child.he is married. Age both parents 27 yrs. His wife birth a girl child last 4 months ago. I want adoption of my grand daughter. Both parties agreed. But my office denying. Pl help me.

  16. Sunil Kumar Chaurasia -

    I have gone through the above legal requirements to adopt a child but the fact I have went through that a single men cannot adopt a baby girl child. Let me tell you something about me that I am 25 years old and employed in an company as Engineer and in my family there is my Father, Mother, one married elder sister, one elder unmarried sister, one younger brother and one younger sister. I want with my wish to adopt a baby girl so that I can make her life so well that I have been went through and have seen such child girls going through bad life living in our environment. Finally my request if I can adopt a baby girl child. Please suggest.

  17. Dear Sir/ Madam,

    1. One of my Hindu Friend was adopted in 1965 (when he was 1 year old) by his mother’s sister (Massi) who had already 3 daughters but no son. This adoption was mutual and neither there was any legal documentation nor any social ceremony.

    2. During the course of time, father and 1 sister of my friend expired and entire Property and assets were transferred to the Adoptive mother.

    3. Recently, the adoptive mother of my friend also expired. She left a REGISTRED WILL, giving all her property and assets in the name of my friend.

    Now my Questions are :

    a. Is this Adoption valid and legal in absence of any Legal Documentation or Social Ceremony or Registration with any Competent Authorities. Can my friend inherit the property in that case ?

    b. Though the Will is Registered but it gives no details about the Adoption or Biological parents of my friend, Can he claim the entire property after getting Relinquish Deed from his 2 sisters ?

    c. And if he is not qualified to inherit the entire property since his Adoption is NOT illegitimate or details of Adoption are not given in Registered Will, How the succession and inheritance of property will be decided?

    Shall appreciate your advice on the subject. What is the legal course to set the things right.

    Marry Alva

    • First meed an advocate.
      Don’t confuse with “WILL” and “Adoption”.
      A “Register will” is good enough to own of all property and does not need any NOC from anybody.

  18. Hi.I want to adopt a child(a baby boy).I’ve no children. I need to know about how to adopt legally. What’s the procedure for it.I want to know the details from starting onwards, how to approach not apply etc. Please let me know about this. Reply me as early as possible. Thank you.

  19. I wan baby girl I married but Dr told I wot give birth to baby so we both desided to ‘ll adept baby if any one can help plz call me 8553405877

  20. dr arun kumar -

    Hai, we r both doctors, We have one male child with 12 yes age, but we r wish to give avoid life to one female ( orphan) Legally is it possible to adopt the child ( female). Please give me ur valuable information l’ m very eagerly waiting for ur information.Thanking u

  21. Hai, Namaste, We r both doctors & we r blessed with male child with 12 years age.But, we wished to give good life to one female orphan..Is it possible to us , to adapt female child leagally…. Please guide me with perfect information.Thanking u

  22. We r a childless couple want a boy baby .pls give me adwise ..about adoption. Thanks pls…

  23. Can parents give their baby for adoptation legally to jnown family?

    • Ofcourse..Yes.

    • I need help regarding adopting a child from India with mutual understanding between parents and adopting parents. What is the process and how long does it take? The child is from India and adopting parents are from Tanzania. Kindly do assist.

  24. can a newly married couple can adopt a child ah???

  25. One of my friends of friend want to give up her unborn child,
    because her husband died 4 months back and she already have 2 kids one 10 years boy and 4 years girl, Now she is alone and unable to give good future to her kids because of poor financial condition .
    due date is in February first week ,
    She only want Indian parents to adopt her unborn baby, who can give a good future to her child.
    If anyone interested kindly watsapp or text on ( 9582461924 ) or email – mishkababy4@gmail.com
    I will share your contact with her friend directly.

    Kindly do not call because i am a job profile person, so i ll be not able to attend your call, just trying to help them

  26. Kamini Dhillon -

    Hello madam ,
    I want advise on mutual adoption

  27. Hello mam,
    I am a disabled person aged 30and married with a normal girl aged 30 , can we adopt a child .

  28. Hello, Can you please let me know if a HIV positive male (unmarried/married) can adopt a child in India?

  29. pralhad deshmukh -

    Hello Mam,I have no issue means no child i am 60 years old but i have adopted one son when he was at the age of one year now he has completed 24 year but i have not completed any legal adoption procedure is it possible to do it now kindly give the advice to me.Now the Son is with me i have taken full responsibility of him i educated to him he is staying with us now legally i want to adopt him .Please give your valuable advice.

  30. Hi, guys having two lower class family who wanted to give their child for adoption one is boy and one is girl. Both families having child already and they are unable to give a good life to them that is why looking for good families or married couple who can do.
    kindly contact for further details and legal procedure ; whatsapp or text on 9579297612
    or email – babyshelterindia1991@gmail.com

    • My sister’s Driver and his wife mutually would like to give their 4th unborn child for adoption to an Indian family coz he is already having 2 boys and a girl and he can not afford much for their good future.

      Also a 3 days baby girl and 7 days baby boy is available in Delhi for adoption, I got to know from my sister

      If anyone interested for adoption kindly email – mishkababy4@gmail.com

  31. Any one adopt a baby plz contact us centre

  32. Hello contact asngweh@gmail.com if you are interested in child adoption, My husband and I adopted from here privately . Thanks

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