To make it easier for foreigners
Present laws are very complicated, lengthy Foreigners prefer physically challenged children or girls
New Delhi: The Government plans to relax rules governing inter-country adoptions to make it simpler for foreigners to provide a new home to Indian children. "We have set up a review committee to go through the guidelines so that the process of adoption in India is simplified," Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) Chairman J.K. Mittal told PTI.
He said India's adoption laws were very complicated and lengthy and often discourage foreigners from adopting children here.
"There is a need to relax certain rules without hurting the interests of adopted children and that is why we have gone in for a review committee," Mr. Mittal said.
All inter-country adoptions are governed by guidelines under which no direct adoption of an Indian child by foreigners is allowed in any court. All foreigners, including non-resident Indians, wanting to adopt Indian children have to be sponsored by a licensed agency in their country which is also permitted to work in India.
The paper work in such cases is handled in India only by a Government-recognised agency.
Preparation of reports
The process includes preparation of detailed reports of prospective parents which include police verification, family and social background,income certificate and health status. These documents have to be attested by the Indian consulate, embassy or high commission.
Drop in numbers
In 2001, a total of 1,298 children have been adopted by foreigners, mainly from Europe. But the number dropped to 853 in 2006.
Are there chances that any adopted Indian child could fall into wrong hands? Mr. Mittal believes it is very remote. Once a child is with a foreign family, follow-up reports on progress are sent to India for two years on a half-yearly basis or until such time as the legal adoption is completed and citizenship is acquired by the child."So far, I have not come across any incident where foreign parents ill-treated our children. In fact, they keep them very well, giving them the best of education," he said.
Besides, the sponsoring foreign agency is required to give an undertaking that in the event of any disruption in an adoption, it will take steps to re-locate the child with a suitable family and keep authorities in India and the Indian diplomatic mission informed about such matters.
Giving an example of a Spanish couple who took a visually impaired girl for adoption, Mr. Mittal said many foreign couples preferred physically challenged children or girls, unlike their Indian counterparts, who normally preferred boys.
Ignoring social barriers
In recent times, a growing number of Indian couples had come forward to adopt children ignoring social barriers, which was a "very positive" development, he noted.
As a result, the number of children adopted within the country through CARA has increased from 2,294 in 2004 to 2,450 in 2006.
There are now 65 Recognised Indian Placement Agencies (RIPAs) enlisted with CARA for inter-country adoption placements. However, they are required to give priority to in-country adoption under the Supreme Court's directives and Government guidelines. Only 12 States have RIPAs.
Besides, there are 18 Adoption Coordination Agencies to promote in-country adoptions and to maintain a State-level list of children available for adoption and prospective parents willing to adopt.
According to UNICEF, there are nearly 26,000 orphaned children in India.