Millennium Post

Parents unable to name kids after foster care norms

Yamini and her husband Bhanu Bhandari and single mother Charu Lata Sharma have just become parents. Yet, they can't name their children or have their names on birth certificates, school papers, doctor's records or any official document. For all purposes, Yamini and Bhanu are the parents of four-year-old Pari, who came to their house on June 24. So is Charu, who is the foster parent of six-year-old Chandni who arrived at her house on January 24.
The two children are among the first ones to be fostered after the passage of The Model Guidelines for Foster Care, 2016, by the women and child development ministry and will be with their foster parents till they get reunited with their family or are adopted.
However, these parents also have the option of adopting the girls after a period of five years of fostering them.
Both Pari and Chandni were born to mentally unstable mothers who reside in homes for the mentally ill in Udaipur.
Both were in orphanages till these foster parents came along and decided to take them home. "She calls me mumma and my husband, Papa. I am happy for now but scared of the future. I have to wait for five years so that she can be mine completely," Yamini, who has already bought Pari a new bicycle and heaps of clothes, said over phone from Udaipur.
"Our priority is to give her a good education and to keep her healthy," says Yamini, 43, who has to renew her foster care application every six months.
For 50-year-old Charu, who already has a 10-year-old girl through adoption, fostering was a way of taking out a child from an orphanage and giving her a home.
"I wanted to give a child who could have spent all her adult life in an institute, a home. She is God's gift and I am sure, after five years, she will be mine," says Charu, who works with national carrier Air India.
She says lack of legal rights has been an impediment for her to open a bank account for her child and also to avail AI benefits for family members for Chandni.
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