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India’s tough foreign adoption laws to go

March 25, 2007

Our adoption laws, which make it tough for foreigners to adopt Indian children are set to change. The Ministry of Women and child Development led by Renuka Chowdhury has realised that the existing laws are not in the interest of the thousands of babies who need to find a home. Specially girls. The average Indian adoptive parent prefers a boy to a girl while foreigners do not have this bias.

But at present there are plenty of difficulties laid in the path of foreigners wanting to adopt Indian children. These laws have been formulated to ostensibly protect kids from being mistreated or being trafficked in another country. But I guess the Minister has realised that this is as likely to happen if the orphan or abandoned child remains in this country.

So what do the present laws say? Well, in a nutshell when a foreigner adopts an Indian child he has to first become the child’s guardian – but even before this can happen, a licensed/accredited adoption agency from the foreign adoptive parent’s country has to give the necessary permission. This agency makes a detailed report on the suitability of the prospective parent and submits it to the agency in India. The Indian adoption agency then makes a separate assessment. So this means that two adoption agencies do this, which takes a lot of time. And then there are a lot of documents required to be submitted here and court procedures to be followed (which can be very slow) and even after this, the child is given just under guardianship. The actual/official adoption can only take place in the country from where the adoptive parent comes from – according to the laws governing that particular nation. This procedure can take up to two to three years. Pretty dampening for anyone who wants an Indian baby.

A news channel reported today that the fact that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt changed their mind about adopting a baby in India could have something to do with Renuka Chowdhury’s change of heart. There were strong rumours then that Brangelina had changed their mind because they didn’t want any to get into any controversy regarding foreign adoption (Madonna’s adoption was very much in the news then) but the real story that has now emerged (as reported by CNN-IBN) is that it was the tedious procedure involved that made the celebrity couple change their minds. That seems likely now that we know that they have gone ahead and adopted a Vietnamese baby.

Related Reading: Urban India likes to adopt baby girls
How to adopt in India

Update: 25th April. Now it is mandatory for courts to clear adoption papers within two months.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. praxist permalink
    March 25, 2007 8:16 pm

    My first response right at the beginning of your article, (before I had even reached the bit about brad-angelina), was ‘Have brad and angelina heard about this? Surely baby no 5 of their Pseudo UN troop is going to be an indian?

    but jokes apart, I wonder how exactly, the government plans to ammend the tough laws centering around adoption.Yes, there are many people out there who are willing (genuinely) to offer a home to orphans from India but then again isn’t the threat of trafficking (as you mentioned)a serious problem.

    I mean, wouldn’t India, by a more relaxed version of the adoption law, be (and yes, I know it sounds melodramatic) literally ‘abandoning’ these children to their fate? I know orphanages or adoptions for that matter within india itself are not pristine pure but still…sending them off to a different country without proper checks…doesn’t quite seem right.

    I guess, in the end it will depend on the sort of law that will be put in place. Could some agreement say be reached between India and the ‘country into which these children are adopted’ to check on these children even after they have been adopted. Oh, I know it is an uthopian idea and way too difficult to be put in place but I’d still want some sort of safegaurd for these children.

    just a thought (or an assortment of them)

    By the way, I stumbled on to your blog due to the tag ‘law’ and now have a wealth of articles to read at my leisure…Tag surfer, is a creation of a pure genius!

  2. March 25, 2007 9:10 pm

    Thanks praxist for your comments.
    I believe that kids here are at risk too. Many orphanages here are in terrible shape. They are not as professionally run as they are in developed countries.
    I am sure that the new law (which is expected this year)will still entail compulsory progress reports. What I feel is that they are going to do away with some of the cumbersome paperwork and court procedures. And also the guardianship part will go. That is what puts parents off. After all the trouble they take, they don’t feel secure.
    The TV report also said that they might do away with the check by two agencies. Just the Indian agency will do the checking. This will save time.

  3. March 25, 2007 9:29 pm

    Nita – I believe that for anyone wishing to adopt a child for reasons of providing nurturing and sharing their own bounty, a wait of 2 or 3 years would not seem insurmountable. Bringing a child into the family is not the same as acquiring an object, which one exerts discriminating choice about and can take or leave. Children are not accessories! Laws are in place to prevent frivolous or ill-thought-out or badly motivated reasons for taking on someone else’s child. Some kind of follow-up is desirable but may be difficult to put into practice.
    Since my own son was illegitimate, when I married my husband and he decided to adopt him and give him the new family name, I too was vetted during the adoption process – and had to go through all of the necessary procedures to adopt the child to whom I had given birth. And, boy, did I ever have my heart in my mouth during all the interviews! Was I worthy to have my own son under my care? This is a question all parents probably ask themselves, no matter how they come by their children.

  4. March 26, 2007 12:17 pm

    On principle I agree with you suburban. But I think the laws here are tougher than most countries, that is why the desire for change. But I confess I do not know much about the laws of other countries regarding foreign adoption.

  5. Caroline permalink
    April 4, 2007 5:48 am

    As a couple of non-Indian heritage, unable to have children, my husband and I have always had a desire to adopt. Our discussions have always lead us to India. I can remember when I was 5 years old, I wished deparately to go to India. I have always admired the generosity, compassion, and morality expressed. to me by my friends of Indian heritage. I must say that as a foreigner, I am elated at the news of a change in the laws. But as a prospective parent, I too worry about the outcome of these changes. Please be sure that most of us want nothing but the best for any and all children. No length of wait or paperwork will deter us from our genuine desire to share our home and love with a child.

  6. Rajesh permalink
    April 25, 2007 1:25 pm

    Hello all, I am glad the adoption laws are changing. But can anyone advise me as a single male, am I eligible to adopt a child? I am an Indian citizen living in Australia and wish to adopt a baby. Are there any government agencies or NGOs that can help me? Any advise will be highly appreciated. Please drop in a line at ashwamegh27(at)gmail (dot)com.

  7. baruna permalink
    July 13, 2007 2:26 pm

    i cant agree with the view that the long wait and lengthy procedures defined by our law actually prevents child abuse or safegurads any childs future . rather than blocking adoption , government of india should aim at placing children as early as possible to let the child and parent form a strong bond from the beginning . there are fewer people willing to adopt a 4 year baby compared to a 3 months one . the longer the child stays in the orphaned environment , the more lasting is its effect .
    what safeguards are in place in our country for natural born and reared children ? does giving birth to a child prevent him from being abused ? come on !
    sure there are cases where people are adopting and then traficking children – but do we know how many ? is there any study conducted till date or is our country of billions operating yet again on gut feeling ? maybe the court should demand some kind of gurantee to prevent child abuse . maybe parents should have to make a bond in the childs name which cannot be broken for a certain number of years or sign over their property to the baby or somthing like that which makes adoption only for those who are genuinely willing to share….

  8. August 28, 2011 4:55 pm

    I’m seriously going to adopt the girl, but very little information and I can not find the sites that children’s homes have a state license. I will be grateful if you help.


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