Adoption which was a taboo in the past is a choice for many couples now. It is viewed positively by society and has many benefits for the child as well as the families who are longing for children and cannot give birth or have other reasons for choosing to adopt.
Such loving families care for and raise their adopted children as if they were their own and giving them opportunities for better lives. The procedure for adoption of an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child by a non – resident Indian, overseas citizen of India and foreign prospective Indian Parents is composite and a step by step process. Due to child trafficking and other illegal activities stringent laws have been made in India to protect children who were being exploited earlier.
The main authorities involved in the process in India are CARA – Central Adoption Resource Authority, the concerned government department in the country of habitual residence of prospective parents or the Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency and the Specialized Adoption Agency in India.
The main process starts in the foreign residence of the adoptive parent where he gets his credentials tested through a home study report which is a detailed analysis of the family background, credits, case history and eligibility. It is a study into the circumstances of the family and also their capability and capacity to adopt the child. These agencies have to be authorized by the Indian Government and then only the Home Study report would be valid.
The Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency in the country of habitual residence, on ascertaining the eligibility of the interested adoptive parents gets their Home Study report completed and registers their application in Child Adoption Resource Information. These documents along with other documents are again scrutinized at the CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) in order to determine their eligibility and suitability and are automatically forwarded to the Specialized Adoption Agency in India or the adoptive parents. If the child is chosen then the concerned documents are signed and the medical examination is conducted within a specific time frame and thereafter the child should be accepted by the parents within 30 days of this procedure and if they do not do the same then the child is again free for adoption and withdrawn by CARA.
In case this particular child is accepted, then on receipt of the acceptance of the child from the adoptive parents, the parents can hire a lawyer in India and file an application in the court for obtaining the adoption order, in the manner as provided in the adoption regulations framed by the (Central Adoption Resource Authority). In case the parents want to see the child in person, then they can also visit the Specialized Adoption Agency before accepting him for adoption, however, such visit may be made after their adoption application is approved by the Authority. They can also get the medical examination reviewed by a medical practitioner of their choice.
Thereafter, CARA issues a No Objection Certificate in favour of the proposed adoption and the prospective adaptive parents then receive final custody of the child from the Specialised Adoption Agency as soon as the passport and visa are issued to the child after issuance of adoption order from the competent court.
A conformity certificate is issued after the adoption order and the immigration authorities are informed on the confirmation of the order. The adoptive parents are bound to pick the child from India when the processes are complete and even after this; the agency in the country of residence of the child monitors the child for the next two years with regular updates to CARA and sends reports regularly to India regarding the upkeep of the child.
The process mentioned above is convenient and strict so that no misuse or illegal activity is conducted during the adoption procedure. The prime aim of adoption of Indian children by foreign parents is that the parents who have settled abroad leaving their motherland and wish to be connected to their roots have an Indian child as a part of their family. The child who is an orphan and needs care and attention also gets a home where he is loved the same way his real parents would have if they were alive or available.
The foreign adoptive parents have a say at each step and can deliberate and choose the child through proper channel. However, the parents cannot under any circumstance choose their own child privately in India and go in for a private adoption because that is completely illegal. This was the reason CARA was established so that a central authority could be a point of contact between the foreign parents, the foreign agency and the Indian government. In some exceptional cases the child of a blood relative can be adopted, however the case has to be put up before CARA who would examine the situation carefully and then reject or accept the adoption after a court decree is anyway very important. The adoptive parents can also get the Court decree through their own lawyer at the final step when all important clearances have been obtained.
Foreign adoptive parents are therefore welcome to adopt from India subject to various clearances and approvals and after proper scrutiny.
(Raina Sabharwal Thakur B.A.LL.B. (India) , LL.M.(USA) is an independent practicing attorney in India. Vipul Sabharwal B.A.LL.B (India) is an Independent practicing attorney in India. The authors suggest contacting attorney Michael Phulwani Esq.- phone: 201-845-0989).