Adoption in India
- What is Adoption?
Adoption is the process whereby a child not born to a parent(s), is taken as one’s own, through a legal process which declares the child as the child of her adoptive parent(s) and confers on her, all the rights and privileges of a natural child.
- How is adoption regulated in India?
Adoption is regulated by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, Government of India. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) (www.cara.nic.in ) an autonomous body under the Ministry formulates policy and regulates practice. Childcare Agencies recognized by the State Government are further licensed by CARA to place children in adoption. CARA monitors their performance through the state government machinery.
- Who can adopt?
The following person(s) can adopt:
- An individual irrespective of his or her marital status;
- parents who are already biological parents;
- a childless couple.
- What conditions have been stipulated?
The following conditions have been stipulated:
An individual above 25 years of age, irrespective of his/her marital status.
Parents, irrespective of the number or sex, of the living biological children.
A childless couple.
A married couple must be married for more than 2 years and the marriage must be stable.
A married couple whose composite age does not exceed 90 years and where the individual ages of either of the prospective parents is not less than 25 years and more than 50 years may adopt a child of less than 3 years of age.
A married couple whose composite age does not exceed 105 years and where the individual ages of either of the prospective parents is not less than 25 years and more than 55 years may adopt a child above the age of 3 years;
A single PAP should not be less than 30 or more than 45 years to be eligible to adopt a child below 3 years.
A single PAP should not be less than 30 or more than 50 years to adopt a child above 3 years
Couples in live-in relationship are not eligible.
The PAPs should have adequate financial resources to provide a good
upbringing to the child.
The PAPs should have good health and should not suffer from any contagious or terminal disease or any such mental or physical condition, which may prevent them from taking care of the child.
Except in the case of siblings, a second child may be adopted only when the legal adoption of the first child has been finalized.
A single male cannot adopt a girl child.
- What is the process of Adoption?
Selecting the Adoption agency
An Indian Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP) who is a habitual resident of India i.e. an individual who has lived in a place of settled dwelling in India, which constitutes her/his ordinary residence, for at least one year
The PAP shall adopt only through a Government recognised adoption agency known as Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA).
The identified agency should preferably be the one that is nearest to her/his place of residence.
The PAP can also register online at www.adoptionindia.nic.in
If adopting from an agency other than the one originally registered with (nearest to her/his home), but within the same state, the PAP shall approach the ACA/ SARA with the registration slip. The ACA/ SARA shall contact the SAA from which the PAP wishes to adopt.
In case the PAP desires to adopt from any State other than the State
where they are currently residing, they may approach the ACA/ SARA of the State where they are residing, with their registration slip. The ACA/ SARA shall convey the registration of such PAP(s) immediately to the ACA / SARA of the State from which the PAP(s) want to adopt.
Registering with an Adoption Agency
The PAP shall apply for registration as per the form prescribed in Schedule-IV of the CARA Guidelines. The application for registration shall be supported by the documents listed in Schedule V of the CARA Guidelines (indicated below). The prospective parent shall pay the requisite registration fee.
The following documents must be submitted in original along with two self attested copies:
Proof of identity (voter card or pan card or passport or driving license)
Proof of address indicating residence in India exceeding 365 days
Family Photograph (Three recent postcard sized photographs of the adoptive family).
Health certificate by a registered medical practitioner certifying that the PAPs are not suffering from any contagious or terminal disease or any such mental or physical condition, which may prevent them from taking care of the child.
Two letters of recommendation from persons who know the family well. Such recommendations should not be from immediate relatives of either spouse.
If the PAPs are self-employed, IT statement for the last three years and if they are employed, Income Certificate from the employer also indicating the date of superannuation.
Financial statement including copies of bank statement for the last six months, details of movable and immovable property owned by the family and details of loans taken by the PAPs.
Written consent of the biological or adopted child or children and if they are above 7 years of age.
Adoption decree, if the couple have adopted child or children earlier.
Divorce or legal separation decree in case of single PAP(if applicable).
Letter from close relative of single PAP stating that in the event of any unforeseen circumstance, the relative would take care of the child.
Copy of the passport of PAPs and in case the parents do not have passport ,undertaking to that effect.
Note: An infertility certificate is not required.
The SAA shall register the PAP for adoption and issue a registration slip.
A professional Social Worker authorized by the SAA nearest to the PAP’s current place of residence shall conduct a Home Study within a maximum period of two months from the date of acceptance of registration.
Note: The Home Study Report of the PAP will be valid for adoptions from any where In the country for a period of two years.
The Medical Examination Report of the PAP should not be more than one year old at the time of referral of the child.
Referral and Acceptance
The SAA shall identify a child for referral and seek the approval of the ‘Adoption Committee’ (an internal committee set up by the SAA consisting its Secretary/Managing Trustee, a senior professional social worker, a visiting Medical Officer and one other functionary of the Agency) for assignment of the child.
The SAA shall make best efforts to assign a child as per the description given by the PAP(s), if any. The SAA shall then advise the PAP to see the child physically so that they can indicate their acceptance.
Should they so desire the PAP may get the child medically examined by their own medical practitioner.
The Child Study Report and Medical Examination Report of the matched child shall be forwarded by the SAA to the PAP(s) for acceptance and this may be called a “referral”.
If the prospective parents decide to adopt the referred child, the PAP shall indicate their formal acceptance by signing on the Child Study Report and Medical Examination Report. This will be done within a period of ten days.
In case the referred child is not acceptable, a maximum of two other children shall be proposed to them at a given time.
In case a matching does not take place, the PAPs shall be eligible for reconsideration only after a lapse of three months from the date on which the last child was shown to them.
Note: In the case of placement of children of the age of seven years and above, written consent of the child for the proposed placement shall be obtained. If the child can not read and write, verbal consent can be taken in the presence of the
‘Adoption Committee’ who shall record the same and take the signature or thumb
impression of the child on the recorded statement. The date on which the consent of the child is obtained shall be clearly indicated in the Statement.
Pre-adoption foster care
A child can be placed in pre-adoption foster care
after acceptance of referral by the PAPs. The PAPs shall sign a foster care affidavit and undertaking before the child is placed in their temporary custody. Also, the PAP shall provide a record of local contacts including contact details of two close relatives. During the period of foster care, the PAPs, shall have the right to take the child to any place within the country after duly informing the SAA. The child must however, be brought for the legal process as and when required by the Court.
The court having jurisdiction over the area where the SAAis located shall be the competent court for processing the adoption. The SAA shall file a petition in the Competent Court for obtaining the necessary adoption orders under the Act . The petition shall be filed by the SAA within ten days of acceptance of referral by the PAP . The Court must dispose off the case within a maximum period of two months from the date of filing.
The SAA shall forward a copy of the Court Order and the Adoption Deed to the concerned SARA or ACA and the PAP.
An Indian national staying abroad for 365 days or more or, a Foreign national
A PAP who is a NRI/OCI/PIO or a foreign national shall adopt through an Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) i.e. an agency located in a country outside India (and where the prospective PAP is located), that has been authorised by CARA to process adoptions from India.
If a AFFA does not exist, the PAP may register with the Central Authority nearest to their place of residence.
In a country where there is no AFAA or Central Authority, Indian nationals may approach the Indian High Commission or Embassy for processing and forwarding their case to CARA.
After registration, the PAPs shall follow the adoption procedure as provided in the CARA Guidelines and as per the details given in CARA’s website www.adoptionindia.nic.in
A person residing outside India (NRI/OCI/PIO or Foreign national) may register with the Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) or Central Authority (CA) or Government Department dealing with adoption matters in the receiving country.
The PAP with the assistance of AFAA or CA, shall obtain the permission of the competent authority of their country for adopting a child from India.
Home Study and other requirements
A professional Social Worker of the AFAA or Central Authority or Government Department dealing with adoption matters in the country of the habitual residence (365 days or more) of the PAP(s), shall conduct the Home Study and prepare the Home Study Report. The HSR shall contain all documents as specified in Schedule VI of the CARA Guidelines.
The documents must be notarized and the signature of the notary must be apostilled by competent authority of the receiving country.
The documents must be translated into English and duly attested by the competent authority if the originals are in any other language.
Note: The Home Study Report shall be valid for a period of two years from the date of the report.
The Medical Examination Report should be no more than a year old at the time of referral of the child.
Reference to CARA
The AFAA or CA or concerned Government Department of the country receiving the child shall forward one attested or notarized copy of the HSR (not original) directly to CARA for identifying a suitable RIPA.
Identification of RIPA by CARA
A Screening Committee at CARA shall examine the prima facie suitability of the PAP proposed for inter-country adoption. If found suitable, the Committee will identify the RIPA where the dossier can be forwarded.
CARA will inform the identified RIPA suitably and also direct the concerned AFAA or CA or Government Department to send the original dossier to the identified RIPA.
Referral and Acceptance
The RIPA shall be responsible for assigning, referral and placement of the child. After scrutiny of the dossier and acceptance of the PAP as ‘eligible for adoption’, the RIPA shall match a child to the extent possible, as per the specifications indicated by the PAP.
The RIPA shall forward the referral constituting the Child Study Report and
Medical Examination Report of the child to the AFAA or CA or concerned
Government Department of the receiving country, as the case may be, which in turn will transmit the referral to the PAP for acceptance.
On acceptance of the child by the PAP, the AFAA or CA or concerned Government Department of the receiving country, as the case may be, shall send back the original copy of the “referral for adoption” to RIPA, along with the following documents:
Notarized or attested copy of the CSR and MER duly signed by PAP
Power of attorney of the PAP(s) in favour of the Official or Social Worker of the RIPA for filing the case in the court;
Power of attorney of the PAP(s) in favour of the Official or Social Worker of the RIPA for filing the case in the court;
A certificate under Article 5 or agreement under Article 17 of the Hague Convention, as applicable, issued by the CA or competent authority of the receiving country.
Recommendation by the Adoption Recommendation Committee
An Adoption Recommendation Committee (ARC) at the state WCD shall issue a Recommendation Certificate for placement of a child in inter-country adoption.
On receipt of referral accepted by the PAPs, the RIPA shall forward two copies of the dossier which includes HSR of the PAPs and the CSR (including MER) duly signed by the PAPs to SARA or ACA along with a cheque or draft of Rs.2,500- drawn in favour of SARA or ACA, as the case may be, towards administrative expenses.
The Recommendation Committee shall issue a Certificate (RC) conveying a
positive recommendation that it is satisfied and has no objection to the child being placed with the proposed PAPs in inter-country adoption.
No Objection Certificate by CARA
A ‘No Objection Certificate (NOC) Committee’ constituted by CARA shall Issue a ‘No Objection Certificate’ in each case of inter-country adoption. The NOC will be issued in accordance with Article 17 of the Hague Convention.
Pre-adoption Foster Care
The RIPA may allow physical custody of the child by the PAP(s) for care only after issue of NOC by the CARA. The PAP(s) shall not be allowed to take the child out of the city without the written permission of the concerned RIPA . Foster care will be subject to a certificate (either from the mission in India of the country of the nationality or the central authority of the receiving country) permitting them to take the child in foster care. The PAP(s) shall sign a foster care affidavit stating that they would not leave the country without valid court order.
Petition in the Competent Court
After obtaining the NOC from CARA, the RIPA shall proceed to obtain a Court Order for inter-country adoption of the child from the competent court in India, as per the applicable Act.
Passport and Visa
The RIPA shall apply for passport for the adopted child after the court order is received. The RIPA shall apply for the child’s visa thereafter.
Note: The date of birth of the child as mentioned in the court order would be taken as the date of birth.
Child to travel with adoptive parents
The adoptive parent or parents must be physically present in India to accompany the child to their country.
- Are there restrictions about the number of children who can be sent into inter-country adoption?
Yes; A RIPA is required to follow a 80:20 ratio in the case of in-country vs inter-country adoptions. Special needs children do no form a part of the 20% limitation.
- Can a single Foreigner adopt from India?
The CARA Guidelines do not impose restrictions about single parents adopting from India. However, a single male cannot adopt a child of the opposite sex.
- Is a Foreigner resident in India allowed to adopt in India?
If the foreign national is a citizen of a country that has ratified the Hague Convention and, has been living in India for one year or more, the PAP(s) may approach CARA along with a certificate of ‘No-objection to the proposed adoption’ from the Embassy/Mission of the country of their nationality. The Embassy/Mission shall in addition, give an undertaking for post-adoption follow-up (as stipulated in Chapter IV of the CARA Guidelines).
CARA in turn, shall refer the case to a RIPA for carrying out the Home Study and preparation of PAP(s)’ dossier.
The procedures stipulated under these Guidelines for inter-country adoption shall be followed by the RIPA.
In case, the PAPs continue to reside in India during the stipulated post-adoption follow-up period, the concerned RIPA would undertake to ensure post-adoption follow-up.
The concerned embassy or mission shall also ensure that the adopted child acquires citizenship of the country of his or her parents immediately after adoption decree and a copy of the citizenship order shall be forwarded to CARA and the concerned RIPA.
- If there is no listed agency in the country of residence, how can one adopt?
In the case of Indian nationals residing in a country where there is no AFAA or CA to sponsor applications, CARA may allow an organisation or individual recommended by the concerned Indian Mission to do the Home Study Report (HSR) and prepare adoption dossier which would then be forwarded to CARA through the Indian Embassy or High Commission.
An official of the concerned Indian Mission may also prepare the HSR and the adoption dossier.
The organisation or individual recommended by the concerned Indian Mission shall also be required to give an undertaking to CARA to send progress reports for a period of two years following legal adoption and also take action, as stipulated in these Guidelines, in case of disruption of adoption or repatriation of adopted child.
- Can a repatriated Indian holding an Indian passport, adopt in India?
Adoptions by repatriated Indian nationals holding Indian passport who have returned to India and have been residing in India for more than one year, will be processed as an in-country adoption.
- What are the adoption costs?
The PAP’s are required to contribute towards the Child Care Corpus (CCC) maintained by the agency from where they are adopting the child. This amount shall also cover all expenses incurred to finalize the adoption .However, the adoption agency may decide to waive off or reduce this amount in exceptional cases. The amount to be contributed by PAP’s is as under:- (i)Amount to be contributed towards CCC in case of in country Adoptions: Rs 40,000/- (Besides, the PAPs are required to pay Rs.5000 towards HSR and Rs.1000 towards registration.) (ii)Amount to be contributed towards CCC in case of Inter country Adoptions US $5000/-(prescribed at Para 107(part i&ii)