NEW YORK – The Indian government has suspended an American adoption agency for “negligence” in its assessment of Wesley and Sini Mathews, the adoptive parents of three-year-old Sherin Mathews who according to the autopsy report, died of “homicidal violence” on October 7, 2017 after she allegedly choked on milk while being “physically assisted” by her adoptive father.
Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi took the decision to suspend the Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) and the government has written to the Indian Embassy in the U.S. as well as the Central Authority, which is the nodal body for adoptions in the U.S. and Holt International, informing them about the decision, reported PTI.
“We have suspended the operations of Holt International because we found it negligent in the assessment of the adoptive parents and also in the post placement assessment of the family,” Lt. Col. Deepak Kumar, CEO of Child Adoption Resource Authority, told PTI, adding that the decision on cancelling the AFAA’s authorization will be taken after they receive detailed reports from the Indian Embassy and the Central Authority.
Even the Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj sought a probe into the “adoption process” after hearing of Sherin’s tragic death in October.
While Wesley is charged with injury to a child, which can be punishable up to life in prison, Sini is charged with child endangerment or abandonment relating to the death, which can be punishable by up to two years in jail.
They are both due back in court on Jan. 26 to try to regain custody of their biological 4-year-old daughter who is currently living with family in the Houston area.
After the incident, Child Adoption Resource Authority has made mental well-being of NRI applicants seeking to adopt a child in India, an important criterion for determining their eligibility.