Foreign adoption gets simpler

New Delhi, Oct. 14: The government has prepared new adoption rules that will spare prospective foreign parents harassment and delays of over a year in adopting Indian children.

Indians who want to adopt may, however, have to wait even longer than they do at present.

Foreigners will no longer need clearance from the state governments’ adoption coordination agency, a process which officials and activists said often takes over a year.

“State government clearance takes over a year in most cases and is the main reason for the harassment and delays that prospective foreign parents face,” said a senior official of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (Cara).

Cara, the country’s apex adoption body, is likely to declare the new guidelines “anytime now”, sources said.

Under the new rules, the government will be responsible for identifying the agency in India that can offer a child for adoption. Now, foreigners have to first apply to their governments, which have to find and get in touch with adoption agencies in India on their own. This process, Cara officials said, delays the entire adoption procedure, increasing the trauma of the child as well.

“Once a child knows about the adoption, it is in his or her best interests to be handed over to the parents. Both sides need to know each other better,” the official said.

Indian parents may, however, have to wait longer before they can start a family with their adopted child as all applications will now be scrutinised by the Centre.

The existing rules allow Indians to approach agencies directly, increasing the possibility of trafficking and other crimes against children under the garb of adoption, officials said. Now, parents will have to first register with a “state adoption agency” recognised by Cara.

Trained social workers of the state agency will file a “home study” after visiting the home of the prospective parents and interacting with them. The report will be made available to Cara. The state agency will identify an adoption home that matches the child’s needs with what the parents want.

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