Adopting a Child in India: Legal Procedures, Rules, and Key Criteria Explained

Adopting a Child in India Child adoption in India is a process that has gained acceptance both nationally and globally. Adoptions often occur due to various reasons, such as biological parents being unable to care for their children or adoptive parents wishing to provide support and a fresh start to an abandoned child. While adoption was traditionally frowned upon in Indian society, there is now open discussion and consideration for the well-being of children. Adopting a Child in India, the adoption of children is governed by specific laws and regulations, similar to many other countries. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a division of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, plays a crucial role in overseeing and regulating both domestic and international adoptions in the country. For those interested in adopting a child in India, it is essential to understand the procedures and requirements involved. CARA has established guidelines to ensure a smooth and legal adoption process. Prospective adoptive parents are required to follow these guidelines to provide a secure and nurturing environment for the child. Adopting a Child in India, Read the entire post to get complete information related to this.

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Adopting a Child in India 2024

Creating families and offering loving homes to children through adoption is a significant and compassionate method. Taking on the responsibility of raising a child who may not be biologically connected to the adoptive parents involves both a legal and emotional process. Adoption serves as a means to provide children with the stability, love, and support essential for their well-being and growth. It stands as a beautiful avenue for individuals or couples, regardless of biological ties, to embark on the journey of parenthood. The impact of adoption often brings transformative changes to the lives of both the adoptive parents and the adopted child, creating a unique and meaningful family dynamic.

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Eligibility Criteria for Child Adoption Process in India

In order for adopting parents to be qualified to adopt a child, they must meet the following fundamental requirements:-

  • An Indian citizen, an NRI, or a foreign national may adopt a child in India, but for each of the three, the adoption process is unique.
  • Adoption is open to all individuals, regardless of gender or marital status.
  • There should be at least a 25-year age gap between the adopted parent and the child.
  • When adopting a child, a couple must have had a steady marriage for at least two years and come to a mutual decision to adopt the child.
  • The adoptive parents need to be emotionally, psychologically, and physically stable.
  • The adoptive parents can’t be older than 55, but they can’t be younger than 25 either.
  • The adoptive parents must have enough money to meet the child’s necessities.
  • Male or female individuals alone are also able to adopt a child.

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Eligibility Criteria for a Child in Order to be Eligible for Adoption

A child must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for adoption:-

  • According to rules set forth by the Central Government, a child is only eligible for adoption if he is an orphan, has been given up for adoption, or has been abandoned. He should also be declared legally available for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee.
  • When a child is abandoned, it indicates that their guardians or parents have given up on them. Moreover, the child welfare commission needs to declare them abandoned.
  • A child without guardians or legal parents is called an orphan. A child may also be considered an orphan if their parents are no longer able to care for them.

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Guidelines to be Fulfilled by Parents for Child Adoption Process in India

CARA has specified the eligibility conditions for potential adoptive parents in order to be able to adopt a child. They are as follows:-

  • Their financial situation ought to be secure.
  • The potential parents should not be suffering from any life-threatening disorders.
  • A child of any gender can be adopted by a single woman. However, a single male is not eligible to adopt a girl child.
  • Couples with three or more kids are not accepted for adoption unless in the case of special-needs children.
  • A single parent cannot be more than 55 years of age.
  • It is the responsibility of parents to make sure that their child has both financial and emotional support and affection. They should be affectionate towards their child and provide encouragement and appreciation for their successes.
  • Parents must establish a safe and secure home environment for their children.
  • Parents must satisfy their children’s fundamental necessities, including food, clothes, shelter, and healthcare.

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Documents Required

Some of the important documents required for Child Adoption Process in India are as follows:-

  • Photograph 4 copies of husband and wife together
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Age Proof
  • Adoption application
  • Reason for adoption
  • Latest HIV and Hepatitis B report of the couple
  • Residence Proof
  • Income certificate
  • Reference letter from 3 people
  • Investment details

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How to Adopt A Child in India – Step by Step Process

The steps for Child Adoption Process in India are as follows:-

  • Registration: It is necessary for prospective adopting parents to register with an approved agency. The organisations authorised to register for these types of adoptions in India are Special Adoption Agencies (SPA) and Recognised Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA). Furthermore, the prospective adoptive parents have the opportunity to attend the local adoption coordination agency, where a social worker will walk them through the necessary paperwork, formalities, and general preparation for registration.
  • Counselling and Home Study: To conduct a home study, a social worker from the registration agency will pay the potential adoptive parent’s house a visit. In order to assess potential parents’ readiness, motivation, and strengths and weaknesses, the agency may also require the parents to attend therapy sessions. Completing the home study within three months after the registration date is required by CARA regulation. The results of the counselling sessions and home study are subsequently reported to the honourable court.
  • Child’s Referral: The prospective couple will be notified by the agency whenever a child becomes available for adoption. The pair will be given access to medical records, physical examination reports, and other pertinent information by the agency, and after they feel satisfied with the details, they will be permitted to spend time with the child.
  • Child Acceptance: The parents will need to sign a few papers acknowledging the child’s acceptance once they feel at ease with them.
  • Petition Filing: A lawyer receives all required paperwork and uses it to draft a petition that will be heard in court. The adoptive parents will need to appear in court and sign the petition in front of the court officer after it is prepared.
  • Pre-Adoption Foster Care: After the court petition is signed, the adoptive parents can bring the child to a foster care facility for pre-adoption so they can observe the child’s routines from the staff before bringing them home.
  • Hearing in Court: The child and parents are required to appear in court together. A judge presides over the closed-door hearing. The sum that must be invested in the child’s name may be mentioned by the judge along with a few other inquiries.
  • Court Decision: The judge will issue adoption orders after the investment receipt is presented.
  • Follow up: The agency is required to provide the court with follow-up reports regarding the child’s welfare after the adoption is finalised. For a year or two, this might go on.

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How much time does it take in India to adopt a child?

Typically, the adoption process for most families in India spans an average of two to four years. The predominant challenge affecting the adoption journey revolves around the duration of the wait for a child referral. To expedite the process, prospective parents may consider adopting a boy or a child with special needs, potentially reducing the waiting period. This strategic decision could significantly shorten the time frame for families eagerly awaiting the joy of welcoming a child into their lives through adoption.

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Indian Laws Governing Adoption

In India, adoption laws are intricately tied to the personal laws of each religious community. Consequently, adoption is prohibited under the laws governing Muslims, Christians, Parsis, and Jews. However, the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 serves as an avenue for adoption, allowing individuals to adopt a child from an orphanage with the court’s consent. In such cases, the adoptive pair assumes the role of the child’s guardian rather than a parent. Christians are permitted to adopt children under foster care through this Act, with the provision that once a foster child reaches adulthood, they have the option to sever all ties with their guardians.

For individuals practicing Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, or Sikhism, the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, part of the Hindu code laws, provides the legal framework for formal adoption. Additionally, the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act of 2015 governs the adoption of children who have been abandoned, surrendered, or subjected to mistreatment.

As for foreign nationals or Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) seeking to adopt children in India, there is no specific law in place. Instead, the adoption process is overseen by the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015. In cases where there is no specific Act for intercountry adoption, the procedures outlined in the Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 are followed.

Understanding the nuances of adoption laws in India is crucial for individuals navigating the adoption process, as it involves adherence to specific legal provisions based on one’s religion and residency status.

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