Back in Hyderabad, I decided to take a share of what the adoption agency here has to tell me about the procedures. Quite interstingly, Andhra Pradesh (AP) is the only state that has banned any adoption through Voluntary Coordinating Agency (VCA) following a scam in 1999. The process has been in turn taken over by the Women Development and Child Welfare Development Centre.
At the VCA, I met the assistant director and two social workers. But more than meeting the staff there, what was more heartening was that I saw two parents who had come to take over their adopted kids. One was a baby of 3-5 months and the other was a girl child of 3 years.
In the previous articles, we dealt with some basic questions to be pondered and answered before we think of adoption. In this article, we lay out a step-wise procedure for a normal adoption, as told to me by the social worker I met.
1. Parents come to enquire about the adoption process.
a. All adoption is based on first come- first serve basis.
b. A single male cannot adopt a child
c. A single female can adopt a male or female child. However, her parents should be supportive of her desicion. Her income should be atleast Rs 5000 per month and should own some property.
2. Once the parents let know if they want to adopt a male or female child, they are told what the waiting period is.
a. In general, the waiting period for a male child is 3-4 years and a female child is 1.5 years. This is based on the availability of the children.
b. Many parents settle to adopt a female child in order to aviod long waiting periods for a male child.
c. Last year (2006), almost 85 female children and only 5-6 male children had been adopted.
d. Their claim is that almost 95% parents come asking for female child adoption.
3. The parents are given information about the adoption procedure and given a list of documents to be submitted to list them in the process for adoption.
4. After around 3 months of the document submission, the staff conduct a home visit to the applicant’s home.
a. They make sure the home environment is fine.
b. They speak with family-members and neighbours to make sure that all are fine with the adoption process. Even if one person is not ready for it (parents, in-laws etc…), they can be termed as a home not advised for adoption.
c. Even the surroundings are checked for schools and basic amenities to help the healthy growth of the adopted child.
5. Once everything is fine with the home visit, the parents are listed for adoption and put under seniority process (i.e., first come- first serve).
6. When the child is available for the parents, a letter is sent out to the adopting parents.
a. Only 2-3 children are shown to the parents for them to choose.
b. These children are selected carefully , to match the adopting parent’s face, features, complexion etc… This is to avoid any social problems that may arise later.
c. The children are already medically examined for fitness. However, if the parents will, they can conduct any further checkups on their own at their own expense. The child can be rejected if any medical problem is found and the parents will be given to have a second preference.
d. Children who are 5-6 years of age have a developed psychology, so their consent is taken before they are handed over.
7. After the parents are handed over the child, the legalisation process starts.
a. They are shown to good lawyers who will file a case of adoption in the court.
b. The assistant director will go and testify the handling over of the child.
c. The orphanage has nothing to do with the religion of the parents who are adopting. Everything to do with the Christian Wards Act is dealt in the court as it is a legal matter.
8. At the Registeration office, the parents need to file the details of the child, for a certificate that will serve as a Birth Certificate in future.
The parents can give a new Date of Birth for the child based on an approximate age determined by the orphanage. Usually the parents choose dates with favourable star signs, day, month, etc…
9. Subsequent followup visits are made to make sure everything is going fine.
a. 5-6 year olds take a longer time to adapt, especially the boys. If they are given a lot of care and tenderness, they will adapt better to the new parents and environment.
b. Many kids are readily agreeable for adoption.
A peek over NRI adoption…
As stated before, after adoptions through VCA has been handed over to the Women Development and Child Welfare Development centre in AP, a preference order has been laid down. It being:
- Indian Parents
- NRI Parents
- 1 Indian and 1 foreign parent
Only children who have been continuosly rejected by the Indian parents residing in India will be put up for adoption by the others. They are very often children with disabilities. Right now there are 29 such children in AP for such adoption. Their names and details are in the internet.