Everything about child adoption in India
By Sreya Basu
In India, around 30 million couples suffer from infertility, as per a 2010 report by Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction.
It is a fact that not only infertility rate in Indian couples are on the rise, but also that more and more people are opting to be single parent.
If you are thinking of adopting a child, here is everything you need to know about child adoption in India:
1. There are three legislations that allow Indian citizens to adopt children, namely, The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956, The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890 and The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000, amended in 2006.
2. An Indian, Non-Resident Indian (NRI) and even a foreign citizen may adopt a child in India.
3. A single female, as well as a married couple can go for child adoption in India. They may adopt a child of any gender.
4. A single man too can go for child adoption via a registered agency. However, he cannot adopt a girl child.
5. As per Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) guidelines, the prospective adoptive parents have to be physically and mentally healthy, and financially stable. They should not be suffering from any life-threatening or contagious disease.
6. A consenting couple going for adoption of a child must have at least two years of stable marital relationship.
7. To adopt a child upto 4 years of age, maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple) has to be 90 years, while maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent has to be 45 years.
8. To adopt a child above 4 years and upto 8 years of age, maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple) has to be 100 years, while the maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent has to be 50 years.
9. To adopt a child above 8 years and upto 18 years of age, maximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple) has to be 110 years, while maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent has to be 55 years.
10. As per CARA, The minimum age difference between the adopted child and either of the prospective adoptive parents must not be less than 25 years.
11. However, “the age criteria for prospective adoptive parents shall not be applicable in case of relative adoptions and adoption by step-parent,” says CARA.
12. If a couple has three or more children, they will not be allowed to adopt more children with exception of children with special needs or if it is hard to place the children or in case of relative adoption and adoption by step-parent under respective regulations.
13. Indians, who are Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, or Buddhists, may formally adopt a child under The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956.
14. NRIs, foreign citizens, and Indians who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews, may adopt a child under The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890. Under this act, the parents are merely guardians of the children till they turn 18 years and reaches adulthood.
15. However, NRIs and foreign nationals, who adopted children under The Guardians and Wards Act of 1890, may go for formal adoption of the children as per the adoption laws and procedures of their respective countries, within two years of them becoming “guardians” of their adopted children.
16. Under The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection) Act of 2000, non-Hindu parents may opt to adopt children who have been abandoned or abused.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.