How can Adopt
Stage I: Registration
- a) PAP(S) desiring to adopt a child shall register themselves only with one with RIPA/SAA/LAPA, preferably nearest to their current place of residence. Such agencies shall guide the PAP(S) on the registration process.
- b) On receipt of the application for registration along with necessary documents and requisite registration fee, the RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall register the PAP(S) for adoption and issue them a registration slip.
- c) In case, the PAP(S) wish to adopt from a RIPA/SAA/LAPA, other than the one where they have registered, but within the same state, the PAP(S) shall approach the ACA/SARA with their registration slip. The ACA/SARA will contact the RIPA/SAA/LAPA from which the PAP(S) wish to adopt so that such PAP(S) are immediately included in the waiting list of PAP(S) of that RIPA/SAA/LAPA.
- d) In case the PAP(S) desire to adopt a child from any State other than where they are currently residing, they may approach the ACA/SARA of the State where they are residing, with their registration slip. The ACA/SARA will convey the registration of such PAP(S) immediately to the ACA/SARA of the State from which the PAP(S) want to adopt the child so that such PAP(S) are immediately included in the waiting list of PAP(S) in that state.
Stage II : Pre-adoption Counselling and Preparation of the PAP(S)
Many of the doubts and confusions about adoption are alleviated during the pre-adoption counselling sessions. Here it is very important to note that both the husband and wife need to be in total consensus to go in for adoption. In case one of them is not too sure or hesitant or unwilling, it is imperative on part of the other spouse to help him/her see their view point very clearly. Counselling can once again help to sort out their emotions and come to a willing agreement. Many times, when one of the parents was not too willing for adoption, issues have cropped up at a later Stage when they start blaming each other and blame the adoption for whatever differences / ills that have happened to the relationships. This can have a devastating effect upon the adopted child. He/she would perceive neglect and rejection by parents and would get emotionally scarred. This may lead to behavioural problems or psychological depression. Adoption may be a one time procedure but parenting a child is a life long procedure that may require appropriate counselling and guidance on and off.
Once the child is brought home, the parents have a tricky task of announcing the child’s arrival to their home. If the parents have resolved their earlier apprehensions and are comfortable with the fact of adoption, the act of “telling people” becomes easy and smooth. They need to have the courage of conviction that they are doing the most wonderful thing by bringing home this child to whom they are giving a new life and the child is giving a new life to the parents too! Parents at no point need to feel guilty or ashamed of their decision. The fact of adoption need not be covered in secrecy. If they can boldly announce the arrival of this child, people around them will also respect their decision and gladly welcome the child! They would willingly come forward to offer any kind of support that may be required by the new parents.
Parenting a first child is always very challenging to anybody and so will it be for adoptive parents too. It is very necessary that the extended family lend all support to the new parents and instill confidence in them that they can be wonderful parents to the new child. There can be moments when the child may fall sick or get injured and there is a tendency on part of adoptive parents to over protect their child and shield the child from any mishaps. If anything were to go wrong the parents may blame themselves for their inexperience and think that other parents would manage their children better than themselves. These anxieties need to be addressed by an understanding adult and put their fears and doubts to rest.
Adolescence (the teenage) is a turbulent period for all children wherein the children need to find an identity of their own. The ‘identity crisis’ that many teenagers experience during this phase of life can be exacerbated even more in a child who has been adopted. However well adjusted the child may be with the fact of adoption and might have even taken pride in the fact that it has such loving parents, the “need to search for its roots” may become very strong at this Stage. Parents out of their fear of “rejection and abandonment” by their child may try to conceal all available information from the child. They may try to hide information about from where the child was brought home or information about its birth family if it was known to them. But here the parents need to understand how important it becomes for the child to know its origin. They have a duty to understand this strong need of their child and render all possible support to find its roots. This suggestion may seem very cruel to the parents who may believe that their child may never return to them if it found out its birth family. But these are very hard facts that adoptive parents need to be aware of and be mentally prepared for such an enquiry from their child. They need to be as honest as possible in revealing the available information. Many a times, such honest revelation from them increases the love that the child has for them and it will respect them even more for respecting its own feelings. It can only be a curiosity to know its origin and once the search becomes fruitful, the adopted child may return to its adoptive family as the child may realize that the birth parents/family were only there for namesake and all the rearing has been done by these parents and the bonding here would be much more worthy and stronger than the bonding that has never taken place with its birth family. It is very important to keep the communication channels open and welcoming between the parents and children so that no misunderstandings or misconstruing of situations can occur.
Many adult adoptees have recounted their feelings of alienation whenever there was any family get together, where some comment or the other about how a cousin resembles her mother very much or how a cousin has taken after his grandfather in his way of expressing anger or how certain traits run in the family blood, making the adopted children feel uncomfortable and wonder about his/her own traits and where it would have come from?! The unknown, dark past may stagger them many a times. Similarly the unknown genetic make up of the child may create anxiety in the parents’ mind too at times when the child’s level of its intellectual ability or any tendency to develop certain unhealthy habits that were never seen in their family earlier may become very intriguing and causing undue fears. But these fears can arise in any parents’ mind and adoption should not become a scapegoat. Most of our fears are unfounded and most of them are assumed fears and not facts. Sharing these apprehensions and not suppressing them is the way to resolve many of these issues. Here comes the role of self support groups of adoptive parents and adopted children, where the parents and children can discuss their issues with others who may be nursing similar feelings or who may have crossed over such obstacles with their own strategies and acquired wisdom.
Stage III :Home Study and Other requirements
- a) Documents shall be furnished by the PAP(S) to the concerned SAA/ RIPA to facilitate conduct of home study.
- b) Home Study of the PAP(S) shall be conducted only by the professional social worker authorized by RIPA/SAA/LAPA nearest to their current place of residence. The Home Study Report shall be based on the procedure laid down by CARA.
- c) The HSR of PAP(S) shall be valid for adoptions from any where in the country for a period of 2 years. However, the MER of the PAP(S) should not be more than one year old at the time of referral of the child.
Stage IV : Referral and Acceptance
- a) RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall constitute an Adoption Committee consisting of the Secretary/Managing Trustee of the SAA, a senior professional social worker, Visiting Medical Officer and one other functionary of the RIPA/SAA/LAPA/LAPA. This Committee would do the assignment of the child.
- b) Assignment of any child with PAP(S) shall be done by the Adoption Committee only after the child has been declared legally free for adoption by the CWC and the PAP(S) have been found eligible by the RIPA/SAA/LAPA to adopt.
- c) The RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall make best efforts to assign a child as per required description given by the PAP(S), if any.
- d) After matching the child, the RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall advise PAP(S) to see the child physically before they give their acceptance They shall be shown the matched child/children only at the premises of RIPA/SAA/LAPA. The PAP(S), if they so desire, may get the child medically examined by their own doctor.
- e) The CSR and MER of the matched child (or children in case of siblings) shall be forwarded by the RIPA/SAA/LAPA to the PAP(S) for acceptance. This process is known as referral. The PAP(S) shall accept the referral in writing within a maximum period of 10 days.
- f) In case the referred child is not acceptable to the PAP(S), a maximum of two other children shall be shown to them at a given time. In case, matching does not take place, the PAP(S) would be eligible for reconsideration only after a lapse of three months from the date when the last child was shown to them.
- g) In case of placement of older children (7 years and above), written consent of the child for the proposed placement shall be obtained. In case the child can not read and write, verbal consent can be taken in the presence of the Adoption Committee who shall record the same and take the signature/thumb impression of the child on the recorded statement. The date on which the consent of the child is obtained should be clearly indicated.
- h) If the PAP(S) decide to adopt the proposed child, they shall give their formal acceptance for the adoption by signing on the CSR and MER of the child.
Stage V: Pre-adoption foster care
The Child can be placed in pre-adoption foster care after acceptance of referral by the PAP(S). The PAP(S) shall be required to sign a foster care affidavit and undertaking before the child is placed in their temporary custody. Before physically entrusting the child to the prospective adoptive parents, the adoption agency should ensure that they have record of local contacts of the PAP(S)including contact details of two close relatives. During such period of foster care, the PAP(S) shall have the right to take the child to any place within the country after duly informing the RIPA/SAA/LAPA. However, the child must be brought for the legal process as and when required by the Court.
Stage VI : Legal Procedure
- a) The child can be legally placed in adoption with the PAP(S) by the competent court. For this purpose, the court having jurisdiction over the area where the RIPA/SAA/LAPA is located will be the competent court.
- b) The RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall file a petition in the competent Court for obtaining the necessary adoption orders under the relevant Act within five days of acceptance of referral by PAP(S). The adoption petition shall contain all requisite documents.
- c) RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall ensure that the petition is filed within 10 days of the acceptance of referral by PAP(S) and shall pursue the same regularly with the court so that the legal adoption is completed at the earliest.
- d) In accordance with the directions of the Honorable Supreme Court of India in the case of L.K.Pandey vs Union of India (WP No 1171 of 1982), the competent Court shall dispose off the case within a maximum period of 2 months from the date of filing. For the best interest of the child, the competent court may, to the extent possible, dispose of the case in the first hearing itself.
- e) The RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall forward a copy of the court order and the adoption deed to the concerned SARA/ACA and the PAP(S).
Stage VII : Follow up visits and post-adoption services
- a) The RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall carry out half yearly follow-up visits to the child from the time the child has been placed in pre-adoption foster care till a period of two years after the legal adoption.
- b) The copies of the follow-up reports of the children shall be submitted by the RIPA/SAA/LAPA to SARA/ACA.
- c) In cases of disruption of adoption, the RIPA/SAA/LAPA shall make efforts for alternate rehabilitation of the child.