It was time for me to be homebound. Leaving Bangalore was with mixed emotions and there was one thing I wanted to do- visit the orphanage once again, see the kids there and interact with them, and feel nice about what they are doing. I went back to Ashraya one friday afternoon. Reaching there an hour early, I was lucky to meet one of the founders of the place. We struck a good conversation and it was pretty informative for anyone who would be looking at adoption.

Mrs. Chacko was an elderly lady and I sat with her, talking. Here’ s the share….

  • Does the religion of a child or adopting parent form any basis or criteria of adoption?

No, a child has no religion when brought as an orphan. The child’s name might sound anything, but she/he can be adopted by parents of any religion and bring the child up according to their beliefs.

An interesting case she told me was that an abandoned  child named Parveen (muslim name)  was found by police who took her to a safe place where she was named Lakshmi (a hindu name). When she reached the orphanage for adoption, she was Parveen Lakshmi! Who knows if she would be sought to be adopted by Christian parents?

  • What is the Christian Wards and Guardian Act? How does it affect?

According to Mrs. Chacko, this act is not a great deal. It just states that a child adopted by hindu parents automatically becomes a natural inheritor of the parents’ property, thus making the need of writing a will in the name of the child uneccessary. In case of the parents being a non-hindu, the child is not a natural inheritor of the property as they are, by papers, mere guardians to the child. This makes the writing of a will of minimum Rs. 25000/- in the name of the adopted one important. In today’s world, this amount is just meagre. Before adoption, the adopting parents should collect the court order for adoption which will serve as the birth certificate of the child henceforth. This is enough to show that the adopted child is as normal as any other child of the parents’. However, this is taken up as a case in the court of law just to bring uniformity among the mass when it comes to adoption.

Just for information and with no offence to any religion, while christians are still fine with the present rule, the muslim community is pushing to make this rule of uniformity work. As illogical as it may seem, they have their own reason, it being that, they don’t want the muslim orphans to be adopted by parents of different religion and raised into other religious beliefs. So, the logic that I could find here, if any little, is that bringing this law of uniformity could help the muslim community to adopt more children (without the writing of a will initially) and that too of muslim birth, thus keeing the muslim population from being moved to other religions. This case is still running as the muslim minorities could not be dissapointed. 

Another piece of information from another source is that, as a guardian, the non-hindu ‘parents’  lose all legal rights over the child once she/he turns 18 years. This means that, technically, the non-hindu parents act more like a money provider for the child’s growth till she/ he is 18!!? Could that be the reason why this Act is beign challenged in the courts?

She also told me that a hindu parents can adopt only a girl child if they already have a boy and vice versa. It is different with non- hindus, who can adopt any number of girl child or boy child as they want to.

Our converstations continued into more personal lives of each other.Then, somewhere between the talks I dropped a question of adoption by foreign parents. She said that it is all fine, but the orphanage does not have direct contact with the couple, but through an agency located in that country. They  do the neccessary home visits and direct the couples to the orphanages with children on adoption.

  • Is there a rule difference for adoption by an Indan and an NRI?

No. The rules hold same. NRIs are more particular about the children they are adopting. Just that the home visits are conducted by the agencies in that country.

Through the conversation, she told me that Indan parents prefer adopting younger children or infants. Children of certain higher ages like 10-16 years are adopted by foreign nationals. Therefore, these children are taught English. More input was given to me by the teacher I met later.

 

I  was suddenly drifted into thoughts of how the children must be feeling about being adopted, being completely aware that they are not brought up by their own birth parents, but someone else, who, no one knows if they are doing it out of sheer sympathy or love.

  • What is the psychology of the children in the orphanage?

It all depends on how they are brought up. In the orphanage, they are amongst kinds of their own. When they move out to new homes, they are nurtured in a certain way, ways of their new parents. The parents have to treat the child as normal and equal to their own child (if they have). This means no favouritism, or no partiality in anyway. Be frank to the children about their adoption, but make sure to add that there is nothing wrong in it. Tell this to your own child too.

Often parents who adopt overdo their affection for the child. Psychologically, this is to make up for the lost years without a child or because they have to release their emotions for the possesion they got after years together. This, in turn, instead of helping the child could harm, causing mental and psychological imbalances and behavioural problems.

She informed of a baby girl who was adopted after the parents had a boy. The boy is now grown and is proud of the fact that his sister is adopted. He even goes around telling ( i would call it preaching…:D ) that if anyone needs a child, the best place to get is this orphanage!

Another case she told is of a boy being adopted who is proud of the fact that he is an adopted kid and many others like him who always say, “I am from this orphanage, I have this place to tell about, how ’bout you!?”

and then with the kids…

After a while, I thought I would break to see the kids and bidding adieu to Mrs. Chacko and a picture later, I walked myslef upstairs to a room near their classroom. They were watching ‘101 Dalmations’…it was their TV time! As I entered, the warm face of a teacher welcomed me and gestured me to sit down. The childre in that room- 12 girls- turned towards me. After I said a hi, they all chorused a hello to me. I asked them to introduce themselves one by one and they did it smartly inspite of a few shy ones.

The teacher explained that they are not put through different classrooms for study, but in one classroom irrespective of their age. The eldest among them was 12 years old and the youngest one, 6 year. Basic english and mathematics were taught, then they had games and art time. They were also taught about nature and all neccessary things needed to be known.  

When I enquired about the boys, the teacher said that there are none, ’cause all of them are adopted! My last visit also gave me glimpses of only girls aged between 1-3 years! Is it that even now parents favor the male child?

After taking a few pics and mingling with them, I followed them to their tea room across the street. I shared tea with them…feeling like I have returned to my innocence again. They were smart enough to show the dances and songs they had learnt. I then saw a room of beds next to their tea room and on enquiry came to know that it was a room for the pregnant ladies who did not want children. They are allowed to stay there until delivery and then sent away after the kids are born. It was a painful thought. After an hour alone with the girls, I said bye to them and their caretaker for the night had arrived to usher them to their room upstairs.

I walked away waving bye to them to their tiny hands and bright faces from their bedroom window. They gave me a  poster with their names written in the different colors of their dreams that they weave.

kids drawing at adoption center, bangalore, india

 

This article is a sequel to:

  1. Our assignments
  2. Adoption : The Answers (i)
  3. Adoption: The Answers (ii)

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