Adoption in India: Here’s what you need to know

Adoption in India“Giving birth does not make her a mother. Placing a child for adoption does not make her less of one.” Although the reasons behind adoption can vary from parent to parent, it is often about how one can change the life of an adopted child for his/her betterment.

Considered a taboo earlier, there’s been a gradual change in the mindset of Indians and awareness around adoption has increased manifold. According to the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), the adoption statistics for 2018-2019 (April’18 to March’19) includes 3374 in-country adoption and 653 inter-country adoption. Some popular celebrities who have chosen adoption are Sushmita Sen – a single mother to two beautiful two daughters, Raveena Tandon – she adopted two girls when she was just 21 years, Angelina Jolie and Madonna. 

Although many Indians may be keen on adoption, not everyone is aware of the terms and conditions. So let us enlighten you on this topic. One can adopt a child either under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, put forth under the leadership of Jawaharlal Nehru or the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890. Indian, Non-Resident Indians (NRIs), and foreign citizens are all eligible to adopt a child from/in India and the eligibility requirements for all remain the same.

Adoption procedures

The adoptive parents are required to be physically, mentally and emotionally stable. They must also be financially capable and should not have any life-threatening medical condition.

Irrespective of the marital status, and whether or not the prospective adoptive parent has a biological son/daughter, he/she can still adopt a child. In case of a married couple, the consent of both parents is required. While a single female can adopt a child of any gender, a single male is not eligible to adopt a girl child.

Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA)

To register for the adoption policy with CARA, one can apply through their website: Soon after registration, a home study will be conducted by a social worker and once it is approved and uploaded, the adoptive parents become eligible to receive a referral.

When a child is ready for adoption, the agency will share medical reports of physical examination and other relevant information with the parent(s). They will also allow them to spend time with the child and after the adoption, the agency keeps a check for 1-2 years. 

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Depending on the parent(s) age, gender and state of the child, one will get their first referral. Currently, CARA has about 16,000 parents registered for adoption with only 2000 children. Prospective parents opting for adoption are not allowed to “pick and choose” children. They can only accept or reject the child offered by the national adoption body. This new rule came into force from 1st May 2017. Prior to that, parents were referred up to three children and could accept one.

When it comes to married couple, they need to have at least two years of stable marital relationship for them to adopt any child. Single people must be at least 21 years of age and no older than 45 years. In case single parents are considering to adopt an older child, they can be up to 55 years of age. For married couples, they should have a combined age of no older than 90 years.

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