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Adoptions from India are proceeding despite reports of irregularities. A new law in 2006 still allows intercountry adoption. In 2007 CARA said it will speed up adoption procedures for adoptions abroad.
On May 4, 2001 Quebec's International Adoption Secretariat, which overseas international adoptions in Quebec, halted adoptions from India to Quebec. Suspicions of child trafficking have closed several Indian orphanages, including the one (Bethany Home) used by the agency approved by the Quebec government (Enfants du Monde, Children of the World). See CBC, Quebec halts adoptions from India, May 5, 2001.
In April 2002 India's Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) advised that there were reports of buying and selling children in India, excessive adoption charges and huge donations given to Indian agencies. CARA said it was committed to ethical adoption practice and was investigating all irregularities.
The New York Times reported June 16, 2003 that adoptions by foreigners are being challenged by charges of illegal practices, causing delays.
Adoption cases cleared in Delhi -- On March 4, 2005 Delhi High Court directed a district court to clear all adoption cases under the Guardians and Wards Act within three weeks, thereby paving the way for the clearance of nearly 200 adoption cases in the capital -- at a standstill since last year -- within 21 days. Adoptions in India are governed by two laws. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956 allows adoption by Hindus, Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists. Foreigners have to adopt under the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890, which bestows "guardianship" but not "parenthood". They may then take children out of India and adopt them under their country's laws. There were about 80 intercountry adoption cases waiting in the Delhi High Court. In a country with an estimated 12.4 million orphans and only 5,000 adoptions per year the inevitable question seems to be: must India's adoption laws be so intimidating and so tough? [Delhi Newsline, cities.expressindia.com, March 4, 2005, and India News, news.newkerala.com, March 16, 2005]
In August 2006 Alberta Children's Services said that CARA had suspended the license of the agency Preet Mandir in Pune due to charges against it for selling babies to foreigners. Families who have already received a child proposal will have their file processed but new applications to Preet Mandir from Alberta families will no longer be accepted. In the U.K., the Dept. for Education and Skills advised applicants using Preet Mandir who have not yet been matched with a child to change their agency in India, and also consider revoking a power of attorney if one was set up.
On Aug. 22, 2006 India's president signed into law legislation that set national norms for adoption including: expansion of the definition of "abandoned and surrendered" children to include a juvenile found begging, a street child or a working child; permitting the adoption of a child regardless of religion or marital status; and raising the age limit of adoptive parents. The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Amendment Bill of 2006 also sets guidelines for dealing with juvenile delinquency, preventing child exploitation and setting up state-level child protection units. Although the new law encourages domestic adoption, intercountry adoption will continue to be an option for orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children. Renuka Chowdhary, Minister of State for Women and Child Development, said she was not averse to the adoption of Indian children abroad. See The Hindu, Aug. 9, 2006.
In its March 27, 2007 article "Adoptions Rules to Be Relaxed" The Hindu reported that the government of India will relax the rules to make it easier for foreigners to adopt Indian children. CARA will form a committee to speed up adoption procedures, which now involve a long and complicated process of getting guardianship before adopting a child. International adoptions of Indian children have fallen from 1,298 in 2001, to 853 in 2006. Domestic adoptions are rising: the number of children adopted within the country through CARA has increased from 2,294 in 2004 to 2,450 in 2006. According to UNICEF, there are nearly 26,000 orphaned children in India. To adopt an Indian child, couples from abroad must be financially secure and must have been together for over five years. They must be aged 30-55, with a combined age of less than 90. Single people are eligible, but not same-sex couples.
Adoption Resource Central, Country-specific Resources - India, has resources on India adoption.
Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), www.cara.nic.in. Indian government agency. Procedures; recognized Indian and foreign placement agencies.
IChild, www.ichild.org. Indian adoption resources. U.S. and Indian agency listings, process of adopting from India for Indian families, NRI families and non-NRI families, waiting child photolisting, IChild mailing lists.
Find an agency for India: Agency Chooser, www.familyhelper.net/ad/chooser.html
Descriptions of agency programs are at Adoption Agencies, www.familyhelper.net/arc/agy.html
Country News is written by Robin Hilborn,
Country News is written by Robin Hilborn,