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Adopting your ‘choice’

 Tania Ameer |  2015-11-15 19:26:22.0  |  New Delhi

Adopting your ‘choice’

The dull lives of Shahida and Afzal Farooqui (names changed) drastically transformed when they adopted Iman and got him home two years back. 34 year old Shahida was unable to conceive after marriage, as she  was detected with tuberculosis in her uterus. The couple after numerous treatments, had given up hope and were depressed, but the decision to adopt a baby, changed their entire life. After registering at Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA ) they adopted a baby from Kashmir. Believe it or not, not only did the couple become loving parents, Shahida also naturally conceived in a year.  “After we got Iman home, the atmosphere completely changed. 

Earlier there was a lot of tension  but after Iman came in our lives, there was love and positivity spread all around because of him. Also the fact that I have had another baby is all because of Iman,” said Shahida. There are many cases of parents like them waiting to adopt a baby and change their entire existence. That now is a possibility and reality.

Spearheading the initiative to simplify the adoption process in India, the Union women and child development Minister, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi has dynamically revolutionise the entire concept and the process, making it simpler and easier. Talking to Sunday Post, she had explained, “When I took charge, my immediate aim was to bring in reforms in Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA ). We have changed the earlier complex process now making it very simple. It will be further be simplified once the act goes in. It gives specific responsibilities and punishment to adoption centres. Now we are having adoption workshops all over India.”

Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is an autonomous body under the Ministry  and functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions. CARA primarily deals with adoption of orphan, abandoned and surrendered children through its associated/recognised adoption agencies. 

The government has issued new set of adoption guidelines which have come into effect from August this year. In an interaction with state representatives (WCD secretaries and WCD state ministers) in October,  Maneka stressed that the government had set a target that 50,000 children should be adopted by December next year, under these Guidelines, which ensured that the process is simpler and easier. “There needs to be an adoption agency in every single state in the country. We have revised the guidelines of CARA but there were very few adoption agencies in every state. All states need to register every Child Care Institution (CCI) with Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), as it will help in reducing both child abuse and trafficking.”

Maneka during the meeting said that most of the states have not set up Specialised Adoption Resource Agency (SARA)s and presently “there are only 411 adoption agencies on CARA’s list with a little over 800 available children whereas around 9,000 parents are waiting to adopt a child.” The minister said, “There are only 633 Child Welfare Committees (CWCs) and 278 State Adoption Agencies (SAAs) operational in 677 districts which should be otherwise one each district under the law.” She asked the states to ensure creation of CWCs in each of their districts and call for a regular review of their performance. “There are certain CWCs which do not work at all and because of which adoptions are held up. As many as 3,682 adoptions have been held up due to non-completion of Home Study Reports (HSR) by CWCs,” she added.

There are also only 616 District Child Protection Units (DCPUs) in the country to conduct the studies. States like Arunachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Uttrakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Puducherry, Daman and Diu and Dadar and Nagar Haveli do not have a SARA. The states have also been asked to maintain a monthly record of adoption list. “There are reports of cases of child abuse from CCIs and it can be stopped only by putting them up for adoption. Out of 1.3 billion population of the country, only 1,200 children have been adopted so far in this year,” the minister said.

Explaining the ‘new’ process of adoption, an official from the ministry said that the first step towards initiating the process of adoption is ‘registering’ online on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS). “The very first step to enrol in the adoption process is that the Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) must register online. Earlier the process was an offline- manual one, where the parents would go to an adoption agency and ask for a prospective child to adopt. Meanwhile now they can simply log on and after creating their profile they can give their specifications regarding the child they want to adopt.”

Regarding these specifications the official said, “ The PAPs can specify 4 options regarding the child they want to adopt which includes 1. Sex, 2. Age, 3. State and  4. Normal or Special Child. This step creates a centralized pool of prospective parents and children who can be adopted, thus creating a level playing field. After this the parent’s name comes up in the list based on seniority, which is maintained from the date of the completion of registration process. Now the process is entirely transparent and streamlined, as there is no agency specific process followed. Every detail is available online and the period for waiting for children to be adopted and prospective parents is minimised.”

The next step after registration is of ‘referral matching’ which is done online as well. “The profile of the children who have been identified by the agency is referred to the prospective parents. After this they have to reserve a child and finalise their decision within 48 hours. Their decision is then sent to the agency that the child been finalised by the parents. After this within 15 days the entire process of matching has to be completed by the agency. During this period they check on the preferences made by the parents and also other details regarding the case.”

“Matching of the child to the parents is only finalised after getting approval of the adoption committee (which is mandatory for every single agency in the country). This is a three-member committee which includes one representative of the agency, one doctor (paediatrician) and lastly a member of District Child Protection Unit Office (DCPO)," added the official. “After the adoption committee clears the case, the parents are free to adopt the child and sign the formalities. A petition is filed by the agency in the local district court for the adoption order after this which formalises the entire process. Then the agency applies for the birth certificate of the child,” added the official.

Regarding the primary difference between the new adoption guidelines and the earlier ones, the official said is that the fresh ones ensure the entire process is “simpler and transparent.” He said, “The new adoption guidelines ensure that the entire process is transparent and also simpler, as the entire time spent of waiting for your number to come on the list has been streamlined as now parents can log on and see the waitlist online. The complete details of the child to be adopted have been made available online. Also we have given parents the option to choose from three states (earlier this was restricted to one state). All the relevant information and updates regarding their case are mailed, smsd and telephonically communicated to the prospective parents.” 

With a whole new simpler set of guidelines in place, the process of adopting a child has become a blissful act coupled with ease.

Key Points to Remember for Prospective Adoptive Parents

Do’s     
Only adopt from Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs) recognised by State governments.

Read the Guidelines carefully on the website and follow the due procedure.

Follow the steps for completing your registration.

Please upload documents as per instructions.

For adoption related charges, please refer Schedule-13 of the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children (2015). Always make payment by cheque or draft and collect your receipt.

Don’ts
Do not approach any nursing home, hospital, maternity home, unauthorised institution or individual for adoption.

Do not upload any incorrect document, else your registration will be cancelled.

Do not pay any additional adoption charges other than what is prescribed in CARA Guidelines.

Keep away from touts/middlemen. There is no role of touts/middlemen in adoption. They will mislead you to adopt a child illegally.

Through illegal adoption, you may unintentionally become part of child trafficking network. Save yourself from legal ramifications.

FOR QUERIES ON ADOPTION: Toll Free Helpline No. 1800-11-1311 or carahdesk.wcd@nic.in

Tania Ameer

Tania Ameer

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