The face of the Indian adoption process has changed significantly in the past couple of years. India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) changed their guidelines recently, which allows placing agencies to view a larger number of waiting children. This has made matching families with a referral much easier. The positive impact on the implementation of new procedures is a much more streamlined process.
Colleen, a Children’s House International parent shares her experience, “From start to finish my adoption will have taken 9 months. That includes a delay from switching agencies to pursue my now son. Luckily, now all of India's available children are seen by all agencies. This gives everyone an equal opportunity to be given a referral.”
Although domestic adoption is on the rise in India there is an estimated 25 million children who are in need of families. The primary way children become available for adoption in India is because of extreme poverty.
Karla Whelan, a consultant at European Adoption Consultants, Inc. describes some of the reasons for relinquishment, “Relinquishment reasons vary but mostly it's because the family is unable or unwilling to provide for the special needs child. In some cases the children are abandoned so we will never know the reason.”
Orphans have a broad range of special needs. These may include growth delay, development delay, mental delay, learning delay, premature, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, vision issues, congenital heart defects, hearing loss/deaf, HIV, Hepatitis B, autism, orthopedic conditions, conditions correctable with surgery.
Sibling groups and older children are considered special needs even if they are in generally good health because adopting more than one child or an older child presents challenges. There are also siblings with special needs and older children with special needs. Any child over 6 years old is considered an older child.
Families in the Indian adoption process are registered with CARA. They are not allowed to request a healthy child or request a state. Once the family's registration is approved, the placing agency will search the waiting child database for a referral whose age, gender and condition appear to be good fit for the family.
Children waiting for adoption are typically housed in orphanages. Some orphanages are specifically domestic orphanages while others are approved for international adoption. Whelan explains, “The majority of children are in orphanages. Some of the domestic orphanages are like foster centers with a higher ratio of caregivers to children. I visited a few orphanages…very clean, bright colors, and the caregivers were very attentive to the children.”
Travel to India will include 1 trip of approximately 1 1/2 weeks. The trip is after the court decree and adoption decree are issued. The family will travel to the state where the orphanage is located to gain custody of their child. Then they will travel to New Delhi for the child's medical and embassy appointment.
Readoption is necessary after returning to the United States.
Qualifications to Adopt from India
• Married couple with 2 years of a stable relationship.
• Single women between 30-50 years old can adopt.
• Single males may not adopt a female
• Age difference of the single adoptive parent and child should be 21 years or more.
• Parent(s) in no case should be less than 30 years old or more than 55 years old.
• A second adoption from India will be considered only when the legal adoption of the first child is completed.
• Same-gender couples are not eligible to adopt.
Part One of Two
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Practical tips for new adoptive parents
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