Child Adoption

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Adopting a child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change

Since time immemorial, spiritual leaders and religious gurus have given propagated child adoption as a way of life. Vedic teachings emphasize that “Adopting a child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change. Try for just a moment to wrap your mind around this. Even if you look at the face of each and every orphan for just one second, it would take more than fifty years to do so.”

Adoption plays a very important role in Indian society. India has a long tradition of child adoption. In earlier times, child adoption was restricted within the family and there were social and religious prescriptions. But, with the changing times, child adoption has been institutionalized and legalized.

Adoption is an issue of vital importance for all those involved in the adoption triangle: the child, the biological parents and the parents desirous to adopt.

Adoption is most important for infertile couples and the child who is in need of parents. Couples unable to give natural birth to children long after marriage are most advised to contact an orphanage for adopting a child. But attitudes towards adoption are changing worldwide. Interestingly, not all couples who adopt are infertile.

Some of the few motivational factors to adopt a child can be:

  • Welfare of the destitute and abandoned child
  • Some couples adopt children due to their love for children irrespective of having a natural child or children of their own.
  • Waiting for the child of other gender.
  • A couple may have only one child but prefers to adopt a second child rather than go through the pregnancy route.
  • A single person who wants to experience parenthood
  • Miss Universe Sushmita Sen is a single mother who has adopted two girls. As she says, “This little girl needed a mom and I needed a child.”

    It can be as simple and beautiful as that. Not just celebrities, but also common people who wish to remain single, adopt children in order to experience the joy of parenthood.

    Some people believe that the world does not need any more children. They feel for those children who do not have families or homes and adopt to give them a better life. Then there are those suffering from disease like Thalassemia, who may find it safer to adopt a child rather than have one of their own.

    Some women may want to feel the joys of parenthood without going through the perils of conceiving and giving birth to a child.

    Some couples do not have the time or energy to go through the process of child birth. They find adoption more convenient. In other cases, a career oriented woman’s “biological clock” may have run its course leaving adoption the only recourse.

    ADOPTION BETTER THAN ABORTION

    The current mindset is rather than abort a child, give birth to it and then hand it over for adoption. We must create mass awareness against abortion and encourage adoption. Instead of aborting a child, give birth and allow the child to be adopted by deserving parents.

    Recently, the Crime Branch of the Delhi Police busted a child adoption scam in South-West Delhi where three criminals were operating a website bearing the brand identity of CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), a government affiliated nodal body to monitor adoptions in the country and regulate inter-country adoptions.

    It underscores the need for hassles-free adoption, with the legal process being completed in 6 to 12 months. Since the demand within India for adopting children is increasing, laws should facilitate and speed up the process. An important point, over 5000 children orphaned by natural calamities are being cared for by NGOs.

    ADOPTION ARRANGEMENTS

    Previously adoptions were independently arranged. A child was directly handed over to a relative, friend or couple without the involvement of any third party. Quite a few of these adoptions were illegal and we know of the nexus between some hospitals and NGOs wherein children born in the former are sold to the NGOs. Money is also taken from the parents in this process. Such unfair practices should be curbed.

    The percentage of adoptions through registered agencies has gradually increased. For quite a long time, only Christian missionaries used to be active in this field.

    Since the last decade, the RSS has been running Matrichaya, a wing for the adoption of abandoned children. Around 300 to 400 children have been given in adoption to childless couples since 1998. It is doing a very commendable and transparent task.

    The vast majority of children put up for adoption are born out of wedlock, with their mothers voluntarily giving them away. Many unmarried mothers would have probably chosen to keep the child had there been no social stigma. But it appears the percentage of pre-marital births have declined in the last few years probably due to awareness and easily available methods of contraception. There’s also the fact that tragedies such as terror strikes, accidents and disasters orphan many children, thereby increasing the pool for adoption.

    It has been observe d that the vast majority of differently abled children are being adopted by foreign couples. Indian couples and traditional families tend to be less inclined to adopt such children. This attitude needs to change and calls for a public awareness media campaign.

    Attitudes and laws regarding adoption vary greatly. To protect abandoned and destitute children, the goal is to find a family for as many orphaned children as possible and to safeguard their interests as envisioned in the UN convention on Child Regrets and Hague Convention.

    The enactment of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children Act, 2000) is a significant legislation which recognizes that orphaned, abandoned or surrendered children have rights that must be protected and enforced.

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