Laws related to the child adoption process in India


Laws related to the child adoption process in India

The adoption procedure in India is governed by specific legislations that are applicable depending on the religion of the person who wants to adopt (called the 'adopter') a child (who is the 'adoptee'). There are two major adoptions laws that apply to adopters in India:
The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA)
This act deals with the adoption process for all Hindus in India. For legal purposes under this Act, a Hindu is defined as any person who is a Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Brahmo, Sikh, Prarthna or Arya Samaji. An important condition of this Act is that if a couple already has a biological child, they can only adopt children belonging to the opposite sex (i.e. a girl if they already have a boy and vice versa). All cases related to adoption are handled by the city civil courts under this Act.
The Guardianship and Wards Act, 1890 
This Act gives complete guardianship authority to all non-Hindus such as Christians, Muslims, Parsis and Jews who are also governed by their own religious personal laws. In this case, while the adoptive parents are conferred guardianship status, the adopted child does not automatically get inheritance rights. As per this law, guardians need to submit an investment plan and also invest a certain amount of money in the name of the ward for his/her future security. The adoption cases under this Act are handled by the High court or Family courts.
Who can adopt a child 
Any single woman or married couple is eligible to adopt. A single male is usually not eligible to adopt a child in India (although widowers and divorcees are allowed to). The minimum age of the adopter has to be 21 years.
Additionally, if a child is less than one year old, the couple can have a maximum combined age of 90 years and neither parent can be older than 45 years.

Procedures for Adoption

Contrary to popular beliefs, the process of adoption is relatively simple and streamlined.  At the first meeting with both of you,  basic information about adoption will be exchanged.  You can also clarify what you need to know about procedures and documents.  This is probably a good time to decide the age and the sex of the child you plan to adopt.
Once your papers are ready, the next step is normally an interview with both of you followed by a home visit.  This home visit or home study is conducted by a social worker.  It might seem unfair that someone is passing a judgement on your ability to be parents when biological parents go through no such assessments.  The purpose of the evaluation is not only to decide how suitable you are as adoptive parents, but also to meet the agencies' responsibilities for the welfare and protection of the child.  Because the agency helping you also has legal custody and moral responsibility of the child, they make their decision only after a careful assessment.  This home study can be seen as an opportunity to have your doubts and apprehensions clarified so that you feel confident about your decision.
Once these formalities are over, the next step is to identify the child for you. What is recommended is that, during the home study and pre-adoption meetings, you discuss with the social worker a profile of the child you have in mind.  The social worker then uses her own skills and judgements in order to identify and locate a baby that matches your expectations.  She will also help you to reflect on the realistic nature of your expectations.  Because couples have longed for a child for so long, their expectations may exceed a reasonable limit which may not even be guaranteed through a biological process.  At this point it may be emphasised that the expectations should not go beyond the age, sex and medical health of the child.  Usually, the social worker can be trusted to find the 'best' child for you.  Experience shows that most adoptive parents like the first child shown to them and this is because the social worker uses a great deal of discretion in 'matching' the child, based on her understanding of your expectations and needs.
It is not a good idea to see many children before selecting the one you find most appealing.  It can be emotionally traumatic for the couple to accept a single child from amongst many and reject the rest.  It is believed to place a tremendous pressure on the accepted child to live up to the expectations of the adoptive parents.
It is mandatory to bring a child specialist of your choice to ensure that the child is medically fit and has no serious illness.  This is achieved through a number of clinical and diagnostic tests as recommended by your doctor.
The last step in the process is the legal aspect.  Usually the agency guides you to a legal expert or lawyer who will help you through the various steps.  The legal fees should not exceed Rupees three thousand.  The parents will have to appear in Court along with a representative of the agency to formalise the adoption.
You are required by law to submit regular progress reports regarding the health, development and education of the child until she is five years old.
It is important to remember that if at any stage of the process, you do not feel comfortable with the idea of adoption or the child, you must discuss these feelings with your social worker without guilt.
Adoption procedure in India
There are several steps involved in the adoption procedure. First, a formal application form has to be filled out by the interested person/ couple at a certified adoption agency. (It is important to contact such an agency; not every children's home is authorized to offer children for adoption, nor are hospitals, nursing home or religious institutions without such certification).
Then, a social worker representing the agency observes the living conditions of the couple. Their daily activities are monitored to make sure that they are capable of handling an adopted child. Some other aspects such as their family background, financial status, mental and emotional health, quality of marital life etc. are also noted.
After this is completed, a No Objection Certificate (NOC) is issued to the adoption agency by the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA). This is an agency under the Ministry of Women and Child development (GOI). A copy of some documents such a health certificate, marriage certificate, financial statements, bank references, photographs of the person/ couple etc. have to be submitted.
Finally after all these formalities are completed, the adoption agency shows the child to the prospective parent (s). They may have given some preferences about the child they wish to adopt (in terms of age or gender) and the agency tries to find a child according to those preferences.
Documents needed for Adoption:
1.  Birth Certificates of the Adoptive Couple (photocopies)
2.  Marriage Certificate  (photocopies)
3.  Health Certificate of the Couple prepared by the Family Doctor orany other Registered Medical Practitioner and of Biological and Adopted Children if any
4.  Gynaecological Report:  Infertility should be mentioned if applicable.  This Report must include the line of treatment the couple is undergoing or has undergone, the period of treatment
5.  Recent Postcard Size Photograph of the Couple (5 Copies)
6.  Recommendations--3 Letters of Recommendation by Persons of good standing who know the family well as prospective adoptive parents.
7.  Income Statement-Income Certificate from the employer indicating Gross and Net Salary, Designation and Length of Service.  In case of Self Employed Persons, Income Tax Returns or a Certificate from a Chartered Accountant stating the parents' monthly or annual income.  These may be supplemented by bank account statement, of land or other property owned.
8.  If both parents are working, a joint statement expressing the child care arrangements they foresee once they have a child.
9.  Undertaking from a close relative expressing his/her willingness to look after the child in the case of the couples' inability to look after the child or death.
List of ‘Adoption Centres’ in Kolkata 
1. MISSIONARIES OF CHARITY:78,A.J.C.Bose Road, Kolkata-700014;  2216-0638, Fax:2216-4583; Recognised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment
2. SOCIETY FOR INDIAN CHILDREN’S WELFARE; 22,Colonel Biswas Road, Beckbagan, Kolkata-700019; 2280-7176,2240-7110,2247-3121;, Approved. by Ministry of Social Justice
3 .INDIAN SOCIETIES FOR SPONSORSHIP & ADOPTION;  1,Palace Court, 1 Kyd Street, Kolkata-700016; 22299136,2217-0341, Fax:2479-5431; (, Approved. by Ministry of Social Justice.
4. INDIAN SOCIETY FOR REHABILITATION OF CHILDREN Matri Sneha Unit, 98,Lake View Road, Calcutta-700029; 2440-4245; Recognised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
5. INDIAN SOCIETY FOR REHABILITATION OF CHILDREN ; 9-B,Lake View Road,Lansdowne,Kolkata-700029; 2466-7957,2463-7563 Recognised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
6. WEST BENGAL CO-ORDINATING AGENCY ON ADOPTION; 42,Ramesh Mitra Road, Kolkata 25; 2475-6180,Fax: 2474-2395;, Approved. by Ministry of Social Justice.
7. VIVEKANANDA WELFARE AND DEVELOPMENT SOCIETY; 18-C,Kalimuddin Lane, Kolkata - 700 006; 2350-0692; Recognised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
8. RAMKRISHNA VIVEKANANDA MISSION; 7,Riverside Road, Barrackpore, 24 Prgs. (North), Pin-743001; 2592-0547, Fax:2560-6904;
9. SCOTTLANE POVERTY ERADICATION CENTRE; 27,Gokul Boral Street, Kolkata - 700 012 22363056, 2234-8717; Recognised by Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment.
List of License Adoption Placement Agencies  (For Promoting Domestic Adoption of Children).
1. Nimtouri Tamluk Unnayan Samity, Vill, Nimtouri, P.S Kulberia, P.S Tamluk, Dist. Purba,Medinipur-721649,  Kolkata.
2. Chamtagara Adibashi Mahila Samity,
7, Riverside Road, Barrackpore, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal
3. Suri Centre for Child Welfare, Sovabazar, P.O. Suri, Birbhum, West Bengal
4. Missionaries of Charity, Shanta Bhavan Tindharia-734223, Darjeeling, West Bengal, 0354-2341237.
5. Vivekananda Lokshiksha Niketan, Vill., Faridpur, P.O. Dakshin Dauki, PS Contai, Distt. Purba Madinipur, West Bengal .
6. North Bengal People's Development Centre, Rail Ghumit No. 4, Jalpaiguir, West Begal, 3561-255562 
7. Nivedita Gramin Karma Mandir, P.O. Manikpara, Distt. Pachim Medinipur, West Bengal - 721513, 09434231037
Data Compiled by:
💬 Kajalkanti Karmakar || Reporter of a Leading Bengali Daily
Ghatal || Paschim Medinipur  
M&W: 9933066200

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