India’s tough foreign adoption laws to go
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.
Update: 25th April. Now it is mandatory for courts to clear adoption papers within two months.