Adoption in India has seen a steep rise in recent years, although one could argue that it is far from being mainstream. For most parents who decide to bring a child into their family, the obvious point of contact is an adoption agency. But Indian adoption agencies aren’t exactly the most organized institutions and they have hard work managing the number of kids who live there. But what are the sources of admission of these kids? Read on to learn more.
Most Indian adoption agencies have children coming into care through two broad sources: not known backgrounds and known backgrounds.
Unknown background/ children who are found abandoned
Circumstances of Abandonment
1. The child is found. The children in this category are mostly found abandoned in public places. The witness informs the respective police station who presents the child to the Child Welfare Commitee (CWC). This is followed by admission into an adoption agency as per the regulations of the CWC.
2. Police try to trace the child’s family. The police and the agency attempt to trace the child’s family. If found, a verification is carried out to confirm that the child is being restored to the right guardians and the formalities are completed under the authority of the CWC. If the family cannot be traced despite numerous attempts, the investigation is closed and the child is declared free for adoption legally.
3. The child undergoes a medical examination. When no prior information about the child is available, an authorized medical practitioner conducts a medical examination and estimates the child’s birth date. This and other medical details are made available to any prospective adoptive family on request.
Reasons for Abandonment
1. Inability to take responsibility for the child
2. Lack of awareness of organizations that offer help to troubled parents or inability (financial or otherwise) to access said organizations
3. Accidents or other mishaps
Known backgrounds/ children who are relinquished by their families
Background of Abandoning Families
Birth parents come from a spectrum of backgrounds where many of them have received no formal education at all and are unable to even read and write. Others are semi educated and a few are well educated. Similarly, the socio–economic backgrounds and religious beliefs also vary from parent to parent.
Reasons of Abandonment
1. Children born to unwed mothers who are unable to take responsibility due to social reasons. This is the single largest cause for abandonment of children seen in Indian adoption agencies.
2. Children born to married couples who are unable to raise the child due to different reasons.
3. Children who are born to married couples and are orphaned after the birth parents’ death either in an accident or illness and other immediate family members are unable/unwilling to support the child
4. Children orphaned in natural calamities
Time of Abandonment
The birth parents either approach the agency for help during the pregnancy or after their delivery. There are cases where the birth mother may need assistance in the form of temporary shelter and care during her pregnancy term so as to be able to stay in solace and keep her pregnancy confidential for social reasons. There are certain temporary shelters for women which help in arranging for temporary care for the birth mothers during their pregnancy. They approach the adoption agency for further help and assistance after their delivery.
Care received by Abandoned Children
In most cases, there is a large possibility that the child has received minimal amount of medical and nutritional support in the prenatal stage. This leads to the baby being born with a lower birth weight and also leads to the child having a lower immunity. The ratios of preterm births also seem to be higher in such cases.
Legalities of Relinquishment
1. Counselling – The birth parents are spoken to in detail, and relevant details about them and their families are noted down. It is important to note that irrespective of the reasons of the relinquishment, the adoption agency conducts detailed counselling sessions with the birth parents when approached for help.
2. Confirmation – In case the birth parents are firm about their decision to relinquish the child, the legal papers are prepared based on the facts shared by them. These papers are signed by the person relinquishing the child. In case the person is illiterate then their thumb is affixed.
3. Waiting Period – The birth parent/ birth family is given a period of 60 days to finalize their decision regarding their relinquishment. This is because it is the child’s first and basic right to be able to grow up in his/her birth family irrespective of their socio – economic background. This is done in the best interests of both the baby as well as the parent as the relinquishment is a permanent life changing event.
4. Finalization – In case the birth family is able to make alternative arrangements for child care, they can come back and take the child home within the stipulated time period and the child is restored back into the family. If they don’t claim the child within 60 days from the date of admission, the child is declared legally free for adoption by the CWC.
Role of the Birth Father
In most cases the birthfather is not involved in the process of the relinquishment either because he is unaware of the child’s birth or he has already denied his responsibility. In these cases the birth mother and her family member(s) approach the agency for help.
In situations like these, very little information about the birth father is available and this limited amount is usually sourced from the birth mother. Regardless, they are noted down and considered valuable information from the adoptive family’s point of view.
In rare cases the birth father is involved in the adoption process and he may accompany the birth mother even if the child was the result of a premarital relationship. Other cases of the birth fathers being involved usually concern the relinquishment of children born to married couples.
All the available socio–medical details about the birth parents and their respective families are noted down so that they can be shared with the Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs). It is important for them to ensure that the personal identifying details (name and address) of the birth parents as well as PAPs are kept completely confidential.
Adopting a child from Indian adoptive agencies isn’t an easy task, but following all the rules and regulations goes a long way in ensuring a future free of legal hassles, so that the parents can focus on loving and nurturing their new child.
Watch this space for our next article on the topic: A birthparent’s life after relinquishment: a different perspective
Article by Deepali Kulkarni
Deepali has a BA in sociology from Pune University; Masters in Social Work from the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai); PG Diploma in School Psychology from Janana Prabodhini Institute of Psychology. She has the experience of working in the field of Family & Child Welfare since the last 15 yrs. She is currently a freelancer with 3 different adoption agencies. She is an adoptive parent herself.
To adopt a child is a very expensive process. Roughly 20,000 pounds for someone living in the UK. Given there are countless children in India, the government should sponsor the fee for anyone wanting to adopt a child from India so that the money can instead to used to raise the child. Is there something already in place ? Can something be done about it?
It’s a nice thought. We are not sure, if there are some schemes as such. Kindly check here.
We have adopted a baby from a lady who hadn’t married. The man left her. So she is in urgent of leave d child so we took d child. We had a sign from her in front of notaray public. Does it valid ?
And I also I don’t want to disclose this my baby later. I want to register her as my own baby. Can I do that? Or do I have option for further
I have no clue of what matter is written on the document on which the birthmother has signed. So i cannot say if it is a valid document.
Which city are u based in? You consider contacting a local adoption agency yo check if they can help
How old is ur child? Not telling the child abt his/ her own adoption is a big risk you are wanting to take. We have professionally seen N number of adoptive parents who repent not initiating this topic with their child. The child get to know from someone other than the parents & that affects their relations with their parents. This is because they get to know in unpleasant ways.