There have been several incidences where adopted Indian children by foreign nationals have been mistreated such as they have been used as domestic servants, beggars and even for prostitution. This has made international adoption of Indian children a controversial issue. Several people ask why should Indian children be sent abroad?
There are several reasons for it. Thousands of orphan children in India are waiting to be adopted, but Indians are not conducive to the idea of adoption and it is still considered as stigma here. Where as in developed countries where people are ready to adopt, very few children are there for adoption. International adoptions do not always lead to mistreatment of adopted children, but the newspaper and media have reported several incidences where the child has gone to an alien land only to be mistreated. This has made International adoption a debatable subject.
According to the Supreme Court of India there are certain guidelines that have to be followed in cases of International adoption to safeguard the interests of the children.
Foreign national are allowed to adopt Indian child under the provisions of the Guardian and Wards Act, 1890. But they are considered as the guardian of the child until he or she reaches 18 years of age. In addition foreign citizens and NRIs have to adopt the child consistent with the adoption laws and procedures in the country of their residence as well within two years of becoming the child's guardian in India.
Assessing the fitness of the applicant
For Indian children to be adopted by foreign nationals the application or the request has to directed through a Social or Child Welfare Agency licensed or recognized by the government of the country in which the prospective adoptive parent resides.
The agency makes a Home Study Report which will include details such as
the applicant's family background, marital status,
his or her education and employment history, financial condition, residence details
Other personal details like health status, any other children in the family and at times references.
The agency assesses the prospective adoptive parent’s suitability to adopt a child from different racial and cultural background. They also assess if the child will be able to adjust in the adoptive family’s environment and the community.
When applying to adopt a child of Indian origin other documents which a foreign national needs to support along with his or application includes:
A recent family photograph, their marriage certificate,
Medical certificate for applicant’s physical and medical fitness
Declaration of the financial status along with documents such as an employment certificate, income-tax returns, bank account statements and particulars of the property owned by them.
The prospective adoptive parent have to state that they are willing to be appointed as the child's guardian and will also adopt the child consistent with the adoption laws and procedures in the country of their residence within two years of becoming the child's guardian in India. The applicant has to declare that they will provide the child with necessary education, love and security, and upbringing according to their status. They have to agree to sign an undertaking that states that they will give the Indian agency and the court a progress report and a photograph of the child. This has to be sent monthly in the first year, quarterly in the second year, and half yearly up to five years. All the certificates, declarations and documents have to be attested.
Role of the foreign welfare agency
For Indian children to be adopted by foreign nationals the application or the request has to directed through a Social or Child Welfare Agency licensed or recognized by the government of the country in which the prospective adoptive parent resides. The sponsoring agency has to certify that the foreigner seeking to adopt a child is permitted by the laws of his or her country. They have to undertake to ensure that the propective parent’s will also adopt the child consistent with the adoption laws and procedures in the country of their residence within two years of becoming the child's guardian in India. After the formalities of adoption are completed the agency is required to send two certified copies of the adoption order to the Social and Child Welfare Agency in India through which the request for guardianship was processed. One copy of the adoption order is filed in court and the second one is kept with the Indian agency for their records.
The foreign agency has to agree to the prospect that in case of disruption of the adopting family before the adoption procedure is completed it will take care of the child and will find another appropriate placement option for the child with the approval of the Indian agency.
Application for adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals has to be filed before the court of the District Judge within whose jurisdiction the Social and Welfare Child Agency in India that is processing the application of the foreigner is located. The court then gets the application verified for suitability of the foreign national for adoption and verifies all the documents. Before the adoption can be processed the court has to be satisfied that the prospective adoptive parent can provide the child a secure and loving home, the necessary education, and upbringing according to their status. After the court is satisfied on all these aspects the foreigner is appointed as the child's guardian will be allowed to take the child to his or her country of residence for eventual adoption according to the laws there.