FAQs

Eligibility and Processes

Who can adopt?

Indian Citizens, NRIs, Couples with one parent of Indian origin or Foreign nationals can adopt a child in India.  Each group is governed by a pre-determined set of procedures which must be completed to fulfil the adoption process. Eligibility conditions set out by CARA such as age, financial status, medical status, etc. that govern adoptions in India, must be followed.

What are the eligibility conditions to adopt?

Marital status

Married couples, single persons, divorcees all can adopt but adoption agencies usually do not encourage adoption by single men.

The couple should preferably have been married for at least 5 years to attest for the stability of the relationship.

Age

Prospective Adoptive Parents, with a composite age upto 90 years and where neither parent has crossed 45 years of age, can adopt an infant.  These provisions may be suitable relaxed in exceptional cases for reasons clearly stated in Home Study Report.  However, in no case should the age of the prospective adoptive parents exceed 55 years.

In the case of 'special-needs-children, the age limit of the prospective adoptive parent(s) may be relaxed by the concerned State Government.

A single parent below the age of 45 years and who can fulfill other criteria can also adopt.  The age difference between the adoptive single parent and the adoptive child should be at least 21 years.  The single parent should have additional family support system.  Widows can also adopt.

Financial status

Prospective Adoptive Parents should have a regular source of income with a minimum average monthly income of at least Rs 3,000 per month.  However, a lower income can be considered subject to the availability of other assets and support systems such as ones own house, etc.

Physical Fitness & Mental Soundness

Must be physically fit and mentally sound to rear up adopted child.  Should have a genuine motivation to adopt.

Police Record

Prospective adoptive parents should have a clear police record.

Whom should I approach regarding adoption?

You can contact any of the followings:

1.ACA of the State

2.Sishu Grehs

3.Placement Agencies

4.Other State Govt. Recognised Adoption Agencies

5.State Adoption Cell, Women & Child Development Department, Govt. of Orissa

6.Central Adoption Resource Authority

All the adoption agencies must be recognized by CARA and/or the State Government.

What Laws are applicable to Adoptions?

Hindu persons such as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, Brahmo, Prathana, Arya Samaj, etc. can adopt under Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.  Non-Hindus like Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Jews, etc. can take guardianship of a child under Guardianship & Wards Act, 1890.  The Juvenile Justice (Children in Need of Care and Protection) Act, 2000 and its amendment Act of 2006 have also facilitated adoption by all.  NRIs and Foreigners can take guardianship of a child under GAWA.

What is an illegal adoption?

Adoption not formalized in appropriate Court of Law is illegal adoption.  Even adoptions within own family without necessary legal formalization are illegal adoptions.  Adoptions from hospitals, nursing homes, religious places, isolated places, etc. are all illegal adoptions.  The child does not get any legal status in these types of adoptions which also deprive the child from the right to inheritance and property.

Can I give specifications for the child I would like to adopt?

Yes, you can specify the sex, age, religion, birth status, skin colour, features, etc. However, every additional specification lowers the chances of prospective adoptive parents getting the child.

I have a son.  Can I adopt another male child under HAMA?

No.  Under HAMA, if you have a son, you can adopt a daughter and vice-versa but not of the same sex.

I have a daughter.  Can I adopt another female child?

Yes, you can.  Under Juvenile Justice Act which has provision for adoption of child of any sex irrespective of number of biological living children.

What are the Adoption Costs?

In-country adoptions are governed by revised guidelines issued by CARA, effective June 2004 vide Notification No 18-8/2003-CW. These guidelines supercede all earlier guidelines and instructions on in-country adoptions issued by CARA from time to time. The details given below are in keeping with the revised guidelines.

The CARA Guidelines permit an Adoption agency to recover costs, as follows.

  1. Registration fee of Rs 200.

  2. Home Study fee of Rs 1000.

  3. Maintenance charges not exceeding Rs. 15,000, @ Rs.50 per day from the date of admission till the child is placed in pre-placement foster care.

  4. In case of special medical care, hospitalization charges subject to a maximum of Rs. 9000/- may be claimed on production of actual bills.

  5. Legal fees and scrutiny fees to be charged on actuals.

NGOs and Government Homes getting grant-in-aid from the Central Government Scheme can claim maintenance and legal fees only as per provisions laid down in para 5.4 of the scheme.

The actual recoverable fee will be prescribed by the Court issuing the Adoption Order.

Is there any priority to in-country adoption?

Yes. As per the CARA Guidelines, the order of priority for adoption of Indian children is as follows:

1.         Indian Family resident in India.
2.         Indian Family residing abroad.
3.         One parent of Indian origin; couple residing abroad.
4.         Totally Foreign nationals

How long does the Adoption process take?

A domestic adoption (Indian parents in India) takes about 6 months after the child is identified.

What kind of information can I expect to get from the Indian Agency about the adoptive child?

The Indian Agency should be able to provide information about the child's birth, age, religion, circumstances under which s/he came into the agency, medical history and legal status.

Adoption and Regulatory Agencies

How does one select an adoption agency?

A list of agencies authorized to handle adoptions in India is available on the Bulletin Board of this web site and, on the CARA Web site .  One may deal directly with a particular agency. In case prospective parents need to validate the antecedents/ capabilities of a specific agency, they may seek the assistance of the Voluntary Coordinating Agency (VCA) in the particular City/ State. A VCA is an agency that coordinates with a set of adoption agencies in a given location. The VCA also, acts as the authorized representative of CARA. A list of VCAs is available on the on the Bulletin Board of this website and, on the CARA Website

One-page information and contact numbers / addresses/ website links, on Agencies who are CSA Members are also, available on the Bulletin Board of this website.

What is CARA?

CARA or the Central Adoption Resource Authority is an autonomous body under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment; CARA functions as the Central Authority of the Government of India in matters relating to adoptions, including Inter-country adoptions. CARA promotes and monitors Indian adoptions. It prescribes policy, rules and regulations and guidelines on adoption from time to time. All registered agencies must adhere to CARA Regulations/ Guidelines.

Central Adoption Resource Authority

West Block VIII, Wing II, 2nd Floor

R.K. Puram, New Delhi 110 066

Tel: +91-11-26105346, 26180196, 26180194

Telefax: +91-11-26180198

E-mail: cara@bol.net.in

Website: www.adoptionindia.nic.in

Who should be contacted, if one wants information on Adoption Agencies in a particular State/region/ City?

The Voluntary Coordination Agency in the specific region would be best able to give information on agencies within its jurisdiction. 

What is a VCA?

Voluntary Coordinating Agency or VCA, as is popularly known, acts as a link between the prospective adoptive parents and the children waiting for families in different adoption agencies.  It facilitates adoption activities through coordination and works for the rehabilitation of orphaned and abandoned children in suitable Indian families through legal adoption.  The Supreme Court Judgement of September 27, 1985 recognised the role of VCAs and recommended that such agencies are to set up in each State.  Currently, there are 13 VCAs operating in the Country in 10 different States.  Sanyog is functioning as VCA for the State of Orissa since September 1997.

I am from Bhubaneswar.  Can I adopt a child from Bangalore?

Yes, you can.  You may contact the VCA of the city/State for the purpose.

Childcare

What kind of information should one seek about the child?

The medical history of the child is very important. It may even be worthwhile to have the child examined by a physician before the adoption is formalized.

Also, it is important to be aware of the circumstances in which the child was brought to the agency. It is likely that a child who has come into the adoption stream at an age beyond infancy, has been exposed to social, emotional and physical influences which can have an impact in the child's future growth. Every Aparent must make a considered decision about the child being adopted and it is important that they be aware of such characteristics such that they can be dealt with appropriately, should the need arise.

In the case of Inter- country adoptions, there are many additional factors that need to be considered when deciding to adopt a child from India. Indian children, especially those beyond infancy, may have been exposed to social and physical influences that are very different from that of the adoptive parent(s).

Certain health risks may exist, the child may have experienced poor prenatal care, early neglect, and a lack of health care services. The child may not have been immunized. The birth parents' medical histories, including any inheritable diseases, may not be known. It may be worthwhile to get the child medically examined by a "panel physician." (Many embassies have a panel of physicians for immigrant visa issuance).

For those adopting an older child, a psychiatric evaluation can help determine any emotional or mental problems due to early trauma, neglect, lack of permanent home, or abuse.

The food habits, religious practices and health and hygiene considerations may also, be different.

Is information about the birth parents available with an adoption agency?

To the extent possible, adoption agencies collect information about the biological parent/s. The agency will not however, part with the complete information particularly the contact details of the biological parent(s). The health status of the child, medical history of the parents, family background, and other non-identifying information is shared with the adoptive parents. Interaction between adoptive and biological parent(s) or between the adopted child and the biological parent(s) is not encouraged.


Through what sources are children received for adoption?

Children can either be relinquished, abandoned or, court- committed.

In India, a child born outside wedlock is generally not socially accepted. Unwed mothers or, a married woman who has had an extra- marital relationship, are sometimes compelled to relinquish the child, due to family and societal pressures.

A surviving parent who, after the death of his/ her spouse, is unable to look after the child, may also, relinquish the child.

The relinquishing parent/ guardian signs a document to this effect after which the child may be placed for adoption.

A child may be abandoned in a public place, due to circumstances described above or, when the child is handicapped/ challenged and the parents/ guardians are unable to take care of the child. The Juvenile Justice Court has the authority to allow adoption of the child after ascertaining that there are no biological claimants for the child.

A child who is court-committed. The state government is authorized to declare the child a destitute and permit his/ her adoption.

Should I expect the adopted child to have emotional/adjustment difficulties?

Much would depend on the age of the child. A grown-up child would come with a certain amount of baggage stemming from the emotions that s/he has gone through, the life-style, religious, and food habits at the agency/ foster-home, the health status, etc. Some adjustments would of course be necessary; but they are all a part of the total process which is generally, very satisfying.

Can you describe the general food habits of Indian children?

The diet of children in Indian Adoption agencies is most often vegetarian. 2 main meals- lunch and dinner are generally a combination of rice, pulses, cooked vegetables and a home- made bread. Indian children may not be used to eating meat and may have to be gradually inducted. Milk is drunk warm and food off the refrigerator is not common.

Indian children would like to eat sweets; they are representative of festivity.

What is the success rate of adoptions?

It is generally understood that in India, the rate of success is very high. There are a few instances of disruptions. The process of adoptions is primarily one of adapting and bonding and success depends largely on parenting skills.

Is bed-wetting to be expected?

In some cases 'yes'. But in most cases, no more than applicable to a natural child. 

In case of adoption into a family where there is already a biological child or, one adopted earlier, is sibling rivalry to be expected?

In most cases, no more than one would expect with two biological children.

What kind of initial adjustment difficulties am I likely to face?

Initial adjustments after the child had arrived depend largely on the age of the child and the circumstances in which s/he was brought to the agency and her/ his experiences pre-institutionalization/ pre- adoption. This would differ on a case to case basis. 

Must I tell my child that s/he is adopted?

Most certainly; agency workers in most cases insist that the child should be told at an appropriate time. The child must learn of her/ his adoption from the adoptive parents and, not from outside. This makes a huge difference in her/ his handling of the grief of separation from the birth parent and, facing the reality of being relinquished.

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