Fewer children are available for adoption in the State

The stigma against adopting children may be on the wane in the State with more couples looking to adopt every year. Adoption agencies, however, are forced to turn away several couples as fewer children are available for adoption than there are couples looking to adopt. The State has 20 agencies for adoption and 541 couples applied to receive a child in 2012-2013 . As many as 187 children were adopted in the State during the period, according to data provided by the State Adoption Resource Agency. Children from Kerala are in high demand with couples from other States too looking to adopt from the State.

Agency officials said the trend was very different from that about two decades ago, when few couples came forward to adopt the high number of children available for adoption. “We could see these statistics in a positive light because it shows how attitudes towards adoption have changed,” said Meena Kuruvilla, member, Child Rights Commission.

“In the 90s, we hardly ever had couples below 45 years of age coming forward to adopt a child. Attitudes towards adoption are more positive these days and young couples too chose to adopt children,” she said. Rules regarding adoption have also changed in the last few years, making the process more transparent. Cases of adoption were earlier coordinated by voluntary resource agencies.

The government has now set up Central and State Adoption Resource Agencies to coordinate the process. Strict procedures

Child care authorities, however, have not let go of strict procedures to be followed before and after a child is adopted.

“We have strict guidelines to ensure that the best interests of the child are served while certifying them as available for adoption,” said K.K. Shaju, member, Child Welfare Committee. The committee has to certify each case where a child is up for adoption.

Children’s shelters and adoption agencies too follow a set of norms when they receive a child.

If a child is relinquished by its mother, the parent is given a period of 60 days to take back the child, before the child is legally certified as free for adoption. If a lost child found on the streets is brought to a shelter, every effort is made to trace the child’s family.

It is only after a detailed inquiry that the child can be adopted by a new family.

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