ADOPTION IN INDIA

Everyone‘s life is shaped by their experiences, whether adopted or not. Every adoption circumstance is unique and adopted people experienced with their adoption story will differ substantially.

Adoption is a lifelong adventure that comes with its own set of joys and obstacles that you and your child may encounter along the way.  Even when adoption is a joyful experience, adopted people may face sadness and loss, lack of confidence and identity, as well as emotional and learning difficulties.

As a birth mother, you’re probably worried about how adoption will affect your child. More information on some of the issues that adoption might bring can be found below. Here are some of the most frequent challenges that adoptive families confront as well as some coping tactics for parents.

ADOPTION PROCESS IN INDIA:

The adoption of children is becoming more popular in India and around the world. The majority of adoptions occur because the parents are unable to have children of their own or because they wish to support and provide a new lease on life to a child who has been abandoned in the world. Adoption, which was once considered taboo in India, is now considered and discussed openly in Indian society.

WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO ADOPT A CHILD IN INDIA?

In India, the adoption process is overseen by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which is part of the Ministry of Women and Child Care and is the official body for monitoring and regulating in-country and intra-country adoption. The following are the basic requirements that adopting parents must meet in order to be eligible to adopt a child:

An Indian citizen, a non-resident Indian, or a foreign person can adopt a child in India.

Adoption procedures vary for each of the three.

Adoption is open to anyone, regardless of their gender or marital status.

If a couple is adopting a child, they must have been married for at least two years and have reached a common decision on the child’s adoption.

The age gap between the adoptive parents and the child shall not be less than 25 years.

WHEN CAN A CHILD BE ADOPTED?

According to the guidelines of the Central Government of India, orphans, abandoned or abandoned children who have been legally declared free of adoption by the Child Welfare Commission are eligible for adoption.

A child is considered an orphan if the child does not have a legitimate parent or guardian, or if the parent is unable to take care of the child.

In the absence of a parent or legal guardian or companion, the child is considered abandoned and the Child Welfare Commission declares that the child has been abandoned.

A surrendered child is a child who has been abandoned due to physical, social, or emotional factors beyond the control of the parent or guardian and has been so declared so by the Child Welfare Commission.

To be adopted, the child must be “legally free.” Upon receiving the abandoned child, the district child protection unit will issue a national newspaper notice containing the child’s photo and details, requesting local police to track the parents.

The child is not legally considered available for adoption until police file a report stating that the child’s parents cannot be tracked.

WHAT ARE THE NORMAL CONDITIONS TO BE FULFILLED BY PARENTS?

CARA has defined the eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents in order to be able to adopt a child. They are as follows:

  • Future adoptive parents need to be physically, mentally and financially stable.
  • Pregnant parents should not suffer from life-threatening illnesses.
  • Couples with three or more children are not considered for adoption, except for children with special needs.
  • A woman can adopt a child of any gender. However, a single male is not eligible to adopt a girl child.
  • A single parent cannot be more than 55 years of age.
  • A couple cannot have a cumulative age of more than 110 years.
  • The age of the parents as on date of registration should be as per CARA guidelines in order to be eligible for adoption.

HOW CAN I ADOPT A CHILD IN INDIA?

India’s adoption process complies with several laws, which are overseen by the Central Adoption Resources Department. The process of adopting a child in India can be understood in the next step.

  • Steps 1 – Registration Parents with potential adoption must register with an accredited institution. The Authorized Indian Placement Agency (RIPA) and Special Adoption Agency (SPA) are the institutions authorized to make such registrations in India. Promising parents will visit a local adoption coordinating office where social workers will explain the process and guide them through procedures, paperwork, and general preparation for registration.
  • Step 2-Home study and counselling

Registry social workers visit parents’ homes for adoption and study at home. The agency may also require parents to participate in a counselling session in order to understand their intended motivations, preparations, strengths and weaknesses. According to CARA rules, home study must be completed within 3 months from the date of registration. The results of the home study and counselling session are then communicated to the prestigious court.

  • Step 3-Introduction of the child

Whenever the child is ready for adoption, placement mediates an interested couple.The agency can also share medical reports, physical examination reports, and other relevant information with the couple and spend time with the child when they are satisfied with the shared details.

  • Step 4-Accepting a child

Once parents are accustomed to their child, they need to sign some documents about their child’s adoption.

  • Step 5 – Filing of Petition

All necessary documents are submitted to a lawyer who prepares a petition to be presented to the court. Once the petition is ready, the adoptive parents will have to visit the court and sign the petition in front of the court officer.

  • Step 6 – Preadaptation Foster Care

Once the petition is signed in the court, the adoptive parents can take the child to a preadaptation foster care centre and understand the habits of the child from the nursing staff before taking the child home.

  • Step 7 – Court Hearing

Parents must come to a hearing with their children. The hearing will be held in a closed room with the judge. The judge may ask a few questions and state the amount of money that needs to be invested on behalf of the child.

  • Step 8 – Court Order

When the receipt for the investment made is displayed, the judge will issue an adoption order.

  • Step 9: Follow up

After the adoption is complete, the agency must submit a follow-up report to the court regarding the best interests of the child. This can last for 1-2 years.

INDIAN ADOPTION LAW

Since the adoption law of India relates to the individual law of each religion, adoption according to the individual law of Muslims, Christians, and Jews is not permitted. However, adoption from an orphanage may be subject to court approval under the Parents and Ward Act of 1890. In this case, the adopted couple is the guardian, not the adoptive parent. Under this law, Christians can only adopt children within the foster parent’s framework, and foster children are free to cut off all relationships with their parents when he becomes an adult. Indians, Hindus, Jains, Buddhists, or Sikhs, are officially allowed to adopt their children, which was enacted as part of the Hindu bill 1956. It is based on the Hindu adoption law of the year.

Adoption of abandoned or abused children is governed by the 2015 Juvenile Justice (Child Care and Protection) Act, and the same is governed by the 2015 Adoption Regulations. If there is no specific intercountry adoption law, the procedures set out in the 1890 Parents and Districts Act follow.

WHAT DOCUMENTS DO I NEED FOR ADOPTION?

Below is a list of documents prepared for the adoption process:

  • Application for adoption
  • 4 x 6 pictures of husband and wife togher-4 copies photographs – 4 copies
  • Certificate of Marriage and proof of age
  • Adoption justification
  • The couple’s most recent HIV and hepatitis test results
  • Certificate of Income
  • Proof of address
  • Information on the Investment
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Any other documents that the agency or the court may demand

ADOPTED CHILDREN FACE MANY CHALLENGES AND HOW YOU CAN HELP:

  1. Separation, grief and loss:
    While it may be difficult for parents to comprehend, the majority of adopted children suffer sadness and loss as a result of their adoption. They may lose their biological parents and extended family members. Adopted older children may be saddened by the loss of foster homes acquaintances and local schools or neighborhoods. Sadness and loss as well as other feelings connected with the grieving process, such as –anger, denial, worry, and fear can be exacerbated when children believe that others do not understand or recognize their grief. These concerns may appear infrequently or at emotional turning points in the adoptee’s life, such as the birth of a child or the death of a child, or the death of parents.
  2. Attachment troubles, academic difficulties and other mental health issues:
    Children who were adopted later in life and who had previously suffered trauma such as neglect, abuse, repeated foster care placements, or institutional care may have significant developmental, social and emotional challenges. According to some studies, these kids are more likely to have challenges like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), substance misuse, learning disabilities, depression, anxiety disorders and attachment disorder. If they have previously experienced abuse, neglect or institutionalization, many children may require counseling and support services. Children may have been exposed to trauma or are dealing with developmental or mental health concerns. To address these issues with their children families may also require further knowledge and support.
  3. Identity and self-esteem:
    Adoption can pose significant difficulties for children as they navigate the identity formation process, particularly as adolescents. Adoptees that have little information about their biological families, or understand the reasons their birth parents chose adoption, may have more difficulty developing their identities. Adopted children strive to find their place in their adoptive families. Identifying development challenges may be difficult, as some adopted people may perceive themselves as strange, undesirable, or rejected, and they may find it difficult to blend in with their families or non-adopted peers who have confidence in their identities. If the child’s color or heritage differs from that of the adopted family, identity issues may become even more problematic. Children often experience rejection and fail to cope.
  4. Emotional problems:
    Sadness- Adopted children are more likely than other youngsters to be depressed around holidays and birthdays. Parents may notice that they appear gloomy or depressed. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day can be particularly challenging since they might trigger unpleasant memories or feelings of rejection and abandonment. Talk to your youngster when you notice changes in their mood. Tell them it’s acceptable to be upset and that you’ll be there to help them.
    Anger- Anger is a typical emotion among adopted children. A deep sense of powerlessness is frequently at the base of this frustration. According to some psychologists, it is critical to allow youngsters to express their emotions “no matter how unpleasant they may be” because suppressing anger can only lead to it building up and manifesting in inappropriate and destructive ways.
    Fear- Adopted children may be more fearful than their biological siblings and friends. They are often hesitant to trust or rely on others because they have been disappointed in the past. They have probably come to the conclusion that trusting someone will lead to sorrow and disappointment in the end. As a result, it might take a long time and a lot of effort before an adopted child feels completely at ease with his or her new parents. Be aware of this and provide comfort that your love is both unconditional and permanent.
  5. 1. Family issues:
    Other issues that adopted children face include figuring out where they fit into an already–established family. Adopted children may struggle to fit in with their new siblings, because there may be resentments on both sides. It’s critical that everyone feels free to express themselves. Allow all of the children involved to feel uncomfortable or sad and emphasize that the ultimate aim is for everyone to feel loved and cared for. Maureen Donley, a mother, and therapist believes that parents should play an active part in bringing siblings together. Plan family activities that allow the kids to spend time together doing something they enjoy. Genuine family connection takes time to develop. So be patient and continue to provide opportunities for the family bond.
  6. 1. Feeling left out:
    It can be unusual and frightening to enter an existing family no matter how warm and loving they are. It is critical that parents endeavor to ensure that an adopted child does not feel alienated. These youngsters must be told unequivocally that they are just as much a part of the family as other children, making new experiences and starting new traditions as a family.

    Adopted children, according to psychologist and author David Brodzinsky are more prone to suffer these difficulties due to situations beyond their control. Adverse childhood experiences, as well as genetic variables, can play a role. Children who have been abused or whose biological mothers took drugs or drank alcohol while pregnant are at even greater risk. You can help your adopted child develop healthy coping mechanisms and get through these common problems by being patient and kind.

TAKING CARE OF CONCERNS THAT ARISE AFTER ADOPTION

Adoption–related concerns can develop at any time for adopted children and their parents. Educate yourself on common-post adoption concerns and seek treatment when necessary to help your child overcome challenges. It might also be useful to think about the following.

Communicate with your child in an open and honest manner. Don’t force your child to speak before they’re ready. Instead, make adoption a regular topic of discussion and ensure that your youngster understands that the lines of communication are always open. Be emotionally and physically present to your child and listen to your child and listen to what he or she has to say. Learn anything you can about your child’s life before adoption so you can respond to inquiries as they emerge. Maintain a relationship with your child’s birth family; it is in the best interest of the youngster. Having easy access to information and interaction with the birth parents might help your child develop a stronger sense of self and possibly alleviate feelings of sadness and loss.

BY – SWARNAPRAVA DAS

Masters in Social Work, 1st Division
N.C. Autonomous College, Jajpur

REFERENCES

https://parenting.firstcry.com/articles/a-complete-guide-to-child-adoption-in-india/

https://consideringadoption.com/adopting/parenting-an-adopted-child/four-challenges-adopted-children-face-and-how-you-can-help/

https://www.momjunction.com/articles/problems-and-challenges-of-adoption_00382395/