Child adoption process and rules in India

Child adoption process and rules in India

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Adoption is the process through which couple becomes the lawful parents of a child with all the responsibilities, rights and privileges, which are attached to a biological child.

In India adoption is a tedious process. However times have changed and over the last few years things have been simplified for parents who are willing to adopt a child.

An Indian citizen, NRI or a foregin citizen can adopt a child in India. There are specific guidelines for each group to adopt the child. The basic norm says that the adoptive parent should be medically fit and financially able to care for a child. Couple willing to adopt the child must be at least 21 years old. There is no legal upper age limit for parents but most adoptive agencies set their own benchmarks with regard to age.

According to Indian law, Indian citizens who are Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, or Buddhists are allowed to formally adopt a child. The adoption is under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956. Under this act, a single parent or married couple are not permitted to adopt more than one child of the same sex. Foreign citizens, NRIs, and those Indian nationals who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews are subject to the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890. Under this act, the adoptive parent is only the guardian of the child until she reaches 18 years of age.

There is also a Juvenile Justice Act of 2000, a part of which deals with adoption of children by non-Hindu parents. The adoption procedure takes months to complete.

Here are the detail steps to go about the child adoption process.

Finding right adoption agency
As a first step decide which adoption agency is appropriate for you. Visit the adoption agency to start the procedure. You can also visit Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA) in your area. They will discuss with you about the process, documentations, legalities etc; and access your general preparation regarding adoption. You may discuss and clear all your doubts with the agency regarding adoption.

Arrange all the documents needed for the procedure, as advised by the agency. Once the documentation is ready submit the same to the agency and get registered. With some agencies, the registration can be done online. However, you are eligible to register with one agency only.

Documents to be prepared for adoption
(The listed documents are for information purpose only, actual formats or requirements may differ as per the agency.)
Application for Adoption
4 X 6 size photographs – 4 copies (Husband & Wife together)
Marriage certificate.
Proofs of age
Medical certificate from M.B.B.S. doctor / Some agencies give their own format
Reason for Adoption (Gynecologist certificate or Motivation letter)
Latest HIV and Hep. B reports of both Husband and wife.
Income certificate – Salary Slip / Tax Returns
Bank Letter
Proof of Residence
Investment Details
Reference letters from 3 people
Undertaking from the relative.

Deciding on the right child
The agency will inform when there is a child available with them. Also the agency will let you know if there is any change in the documentation required for the adoption process. The agency will share all documents of the child including physical examination report and other relevant information of the child. 

Once the couple is comfortable about the details given about the child, the agency will show the child physically. The couple can spend time with the child and can decide about their adoption. After that they can discuss the future formalities to take things forward.

Filing of petition
The documentation which the couple had submitted to the agency at the earlier step and the child’s documents are sent to the lawyer for preparation of the petition. Once the petition is ready the couple will be called at the court and sign the same in presence of the court officer.

Foster care
After completion of all the documentation, couple can take the child in Pre-Adoption foster care. Before taking the child home, one should understand the entire system to follow like feeding timings, sleeping timings, medicines etc.

Court procedures
Couple has to attend the court hearing along with the child. This is in front of a judge in the chamber. For better understanding and clarification the judge may ask various questions and once satisfied he will pass the order and will also mention the amount you need to pay to register child’s name. Then the order will be issued. If the adoption is under HAMA, then a Deed of Adoption is prepared and the same needs to be registered with the local registrar’s office. There is no such requirement in adoptions done under GWA & J. J. Acts.

Final step
After the final adoption the agency needs to submit follow up reports to the court about the child’s well being.

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