ASK US ANYTHING ON ADOPTION – CARA Process, Wait time, Children Availability, Telling the child about adoption, engaging the family, Post Adoption Support or other resources in adoption


We have been married for quite some time but have not been able to have our own child. Is adoption a good alternative for us?Adoption is a good choice for everyone, and not just parents who have not been able to have a child of their own. There are several families who have adopted a child, even as they have their biological children. However, it will be wrong to assume that not having a biological child automatically qualifies a parent for adoption. In order to derive maximum happiness out of your adoption experience, parents must understand adoption and needs of the child. Involving the family and next of kith-and-kin can also help and enrich the experience. Anyone can opt for adopting a child so long as they are eligible as per law and understand adoption in a child-centric manner.
I am a single parent. Can I adopt a child in India?Yes. Single parents can adopt a child in India subject to meeting overall CARA guidelines. The only restriction is that single male parents can adopt only a male child, while a single female parent can adopt either a male or a female child.
I want to adopt a child but my spouse is against it. Can I go ahead and adopt?As per CARA guidelines, consent of both the spouses is required for adoption by a couple and a child can be given into adoption to a couple only after two years of stable marital relationship. Therefore, if your spouse is not yet ready or agreeable for adoption, you cannot adopt a child on your own. Apart from the law, it will not be in the child’s interest if one of the parents is not committed to the cause. Also there could be unexpected reactions at school, workplace or social gathering. Unless both the parents are in unison and committed adoption could create a difficult situation for the child. Therefore it is strongly recommended to agree with each other before adopting a child.
We want to adopt a child but have no idea where to start. Where can we get authentic information on adoption?Congratulations on deciding to adopt a child. As they say, well begun is half done! There are a couple of things you need to do, having decided to adopt:
(a) Register with CARA as an adoptive parent (b) Read books on adoption. FoJ has published a Book on adoption with Indian context. (c) Meet adoptive families – You can seek a reference of a family across 20 location in India here. (d) Meet the adoption agency referred by CARA, and finalize the child. (e) Learn about Positive Adoption Language and how to prepare your family for adoption (f) Conduct a preliminary medical assessment for your child, if needed.(g) File for Adoption Deed in the family court (h) Take home your child after executing a foster care agreement
Our family is against adoption. Can we adopt a child without their knowledge or support? Will it impact the child’s upbringing? Can we pretend a natural child birth? If not, how do we tell our parents and family?As part of Adoption Process, the parents will go through a Home Study Report (HSR) that will take into account the atmosphere conducive for adoption and parent’s readiness for the same. As only the parent’s consent is required for adoption, you could go ahead and adopt a child, even if your family is not in favour of the same. However, your preparedness to counsel the same, or safeguard the child’s interest in such an environment will go favourably, while scoring the readiness in HSR. In any case, you should not attempt to feign a pregnancy and present the child you adopt as your biological child, as it will not be possible to live with vanity for long and the child’s upbringing will be impacted in an environment of falsehood. It is therefore recommended that you seek your immediate family’s approval before deciding to adopt, and if you do not get the same, prepare yourself to address their concerns, engaging them in adoption process, even as you could legally adopt without their consent.
We already have a girl child of our own. Is it possible to adopt another child?Yes. Couples can adopt a child so long as they do not have three or more children already.
Is it possible to adopt more than one childYes. Parents can adopt more than one child so long as they do not have three or more children.

CARA Process

Is there a separate process for adopting an older child or a child with special needs?The process for adopting an older child or a child with special needs is same, except that the parents need to mention the same while registering. There may be a shorter waitlist for parents opting for such children. Parents can also register for a child under normal category, but any time, reserve a child from Immediate Placement or Special Need Category without losing their seniority for the normal category.
How much does adoption cost in India? Is the expense same for Indian or Foreign parents?Total adoption costs for Indian residents is Rs. 46,000 including home study, foster care, medical expenses, legal expenses and follow up costs. The comparable figure for Foreigners, NRIs or foreign Parents residing in India is around $5000, plus any additional expenses related to adoption in their home country.
How do we get the child’s birth certificate and other legal documents like passport etc.The adoption agency shall obtain the birth certificate of the child from the birth certificate issuing authority within ten days from the date of issuance of adoption order, with the name of adoptive parents, as parents, and date of birth as recorded in the adoption order. Similarly, for Inter-Country adoption, the adoption agency shall submit the application to the regional passport officer within three working days from the date of receipt of a certified copy of the adoption order and the regional passport office shall issue passport for the child within ten days from the date of receipt of application. For adoption within India, the parents can apply for passport as per procedure outlined by the Regional Passport Office.

Child Acceptance

We have registered for adoption. How can we ensure that the child we get belongs to our caste and religion, and also looks like us? How can we choose the child we want? Can we go to multiple orphanages or agencies and choose the best?It needs to be borne in mind that a child does not have any religion or caste of its own. It develops its identity through its parents. When we adopt a child, we accept it in its entirety, and give all of our love, commitment and identity to the child. It is therefore wrong to even think that we should “choose” a child. Even if the physical features of the child resemble as an infant, these could change over time, and eventually the child will relate to you not because of similarity in color, caste, creed, religion or complexion – but similarity in ideas, beliefs and culture. Therefore, if you still feel for such preferences, seek counselling so as to overcome such emotions and relate to the child as it is, for what it is and for what you wish to make of it.
How many children can we get to see before finalizing? Can we also change our preference from girl to boy in the middle of the process?Per CARA guidelines, prospective adoptive parents can be referred profiles of upto 3 children – one at a time. You will not be able to see multiple children. You will have to see a profile, and accept the same. You can change your preference once after registering.
We want a newborn child. Why is the agency showing us children over 6 months of age?Parents can opt for children between 0-2 yrs, 2-4 yrs, 4-6 yrs likewise. The profiles will be shown as per availability and closest to the preference of the parents. However, it may be noted that no child can be placed for adoption under 2 months of age, as the child is legally eligible to be placed into adoption, only after 2 months – ensuring that the biological parents of the child do not go back on their decision to place the child in adoption. You could possibly wait for an alternate referral, but the chances of getting a child identical to your preferred age group may only decline, with passage of time
We have registered for a baby girl, can we adopt one of the twinsPer CARA guidelines, twins or siblings cannot be seperated while being placed in adoption. You will only be referred a single child, unless you opt for siblings (twins included).
We like the child that was shown to us. Can we take her home immediately?After viewing the photographs, child study report and medical examination report of the child or children, the prospective adoptive parents may reserve the child within a period of forty eight hours for possible adoption. Parents can take the child home under pre-adoption foster care within 20 days from the date of acceptance, after signing the pre-adoption foster care undertaking in the prescribed format. Parents need to coordinate with the Adoption Agency for specific timeline for documentation and taking the child under Foster Care.
How can we ascertain the health and potential risks for the child that is shown to us? How do we ensure that the child is not infected with any hereditary ailment?CARA maintains complete transparency with respect to the medical condition of the child and the child’s current status at the time of placing into adoption as well as its complete medical history is recorded in the child study report and the medical examination report. Parents have to give their consent for a child only after viewing the photographs, child study report and medical examination report of the child. While accepting the child, the prospective adoptive parents shall sign the child study report and medical examination report in the presence of the social worker or chief functionary of the specialized adoption agency. The prospective adoptive parents can also get the medical examination report of the child reviewed by a medical practitioner of their choice to assure themselves of the child’s medical condition.

Post Adoption

What happens if the child develops some health or developmental issues after we bring him home? Is it possible to exchange him for another child?Parents are permitted to take home the child they accept, after executing a foster care agreement with the adoption agency. They undertake to accept the child in pre-adoption foster care, pending the adoption order by the concerned Court. Until the final adoption order from the concerned Court is received, the said child shall be under the authority and guardianship of adoption agency and the parents will only be the foster parents of the child. During such period, the child will be given all necessary medical care, attention, nutrition and treatment by the parents and any untoward incident with the child, will have to be reported to the adoption agency immediately. The institution will be kept informed about the development of the child once a month till the final court order is issued and the social worker will visit the child during pre-adoption foster care and as required under the guidelines. Once the court order is issued, the responsibility and authority of the child passes to the parents irrevocably and permanently, as outlined in the adoption deed. At no point in time should parents resort to exchanging of the child that reports a medical situation with another child. Foster care is deemed to impart full responsibility for the care and security of the child on prospective parents, and they should accept their role as such. Parents are advised to study in detail the child’s profile and medical history before submitting their acceptance and there is no question of “exchanging” or “replacing” the child once accepted, with aother child – whether in foster care or after adoption.
How do we ensure that the child we get will not be claimed back by its parents? Do we get to meet the child’s family? Do we have to meet them at any time later in life?India follows a closed adoption system, wherein, the adoption records and details of parents placing their children into adoption is not shared with the adoptive parents. To prevent parents from going back on their decision to place their child in adoption, the law provides for a period of two months, AFTER WHICH ONLY is a child considered legally available for adoption. The child is placed into adoption only after the surrendering parent(s) submits an undertaking with due counselling and without recourse. Once the child is placed into adoption legally, the biological parents do not have any choice of claiming back the child. Neither is their detail passed on to adoptive parents. The adoptive parents do not require to interact with the biological parents of the child, once the child is legally adopted by them.
Do we need to tell the child that we adopted her? If yes, when and how?It is strongly recommended to share the fact of adoption with the child, and not withhold the same. There will be multiple occasions when the child will get to know about its adoptive status and not sharing the same proactively will only instill a breach of trust with the child. If the child was adopted as an infant, start sharing the adoption story as soon as you start speaking with the child. The child relates to adoption differently, at different stages of life. Their questions on adoption also vary with age. Therefore the parents have to be utmost comfortable in answering their queries and position adoption as a happy and positive experience before them. Adoption needs to be referred to regularly, per context, as and when the conversation comes up, to comfort the child that its adoption in the family is a welcome and desirable event.If the child was adopted at an older age, it is imperative to re-assure the child through positive re-enforcements, that adoption has indeed made their lives, of parents and the children, happier and better.
We are planning to adopt an older child. How do we involve the extended family, relatives, colleagues and teachers at school in process of adoption? Should we tell them about the child being adopted?Absolutely. While adopting an older child, the extended family, school and coleagues – all need to be engaged so that the child feels welcomed in the new environment
For how long do we have to keep declaring the child as adopted? Is there a time after which the child need not be announced as adopted, especially in school records, travel documents, employment forms etc.You do not have to ever “announce” that the child was adopted by you, unless specifically asked for by law. However, it may be useful to share the fact about the child’s adoption at school, because the educators could support the child, should the need so arise. Otherwise, for all practical purposes you do not have to declare that the child was adopted in any school, employment or travel records.
Will the child search for its parents as it grows up? How can we as parents respond to that situation?It is natural for the child to search for its parents as it grows up. As per CARA guidelines, whenever an adoptee seeks details of its parents, the concerned agencies or authorities (authorised foreign adoption agency, Central Authority, Indian diplomatic mission, Central Adoption Resource Authority, State Adoption Resource Agency or District Child Protection Unit or specialised adoption agency), whenever contacted by any adoptee shall facilitate his root search. In order to facilitate root search, the age and maturity of the child shall be taken into consideration. If the biological parents, at the time of surrender of the child, have specifically requested anonymity, then their consent should be taken by the specialised adoption agency or Child Welfare Committee, as the case may be. In case of denial by the parents or the parents not being traceable, the reasons and the circumstances under which the surrender took place shall be disclosed to the adoptee. In case of an orphan or abandoned child, information about his adoption, including the source and circumstances in which the child was admitted into the specialized adoption agency, as well as the process followed for his adoption, may be disclosed to the adoptee by the specialized adoption agency or the Child Welfare Committee, as the case may be. A root search by a third party shall not be permitted and the concerned agencies or authorities shall not make public any information relating to biological parents, adoptive parents or adopted child. Foremost, the right of an adopted child shall not infringe the biological parents’ right to privacy.
Are there any learning and/or developmental issues with children who are adopted?Depending upon the medical care received in pre-natal and post natal stages, children placed in adoption could manifest in development or learning issues. There could be instances of child abuse or neglect in early stages of birth, which are very crucial for a child. Any issues that are encountered, must be addressed on case to case basis, rather than stereotyping them with adoption per se. Also, it is often experienced that a malnourished child amazingly picks up health upon being placed in a loving and caring environment. There have been reports of children going through identity crises during their teens. A sensitive handling of the same would ensure that children look at adoption as a positive experience.
The child that we adopted looks very different from us. Will the child relate to us as she grows up?Even if the child’s physical features resembled the prospective parents at the time of adoption, chances are that the child will develop its own looks and personality as it grows – which could be different from that of the adoptive parents. The child will have its share of questions regarding the same. But the child will relate to you more for your values, beliefs and morals, than your looks and complexion. Be confident of handing over a rich legacy of sound values to your child. Looks and physical features are a distant possibility when it comes to children relating to their parents.

Emotional Readiness and Support

What ecosystem exists post adoption? Where can parents or young adoptees seek support for issues arising out of adoption?Adoptive parents can join support groups, online communities and forums to share their experiences and concerns. Some schools also hire special educators to counsel and support families in adoption. Then there are NGOs and Communities that further the cause of adoption, who could be of help during post adoption phase.
How does society at large respond to adoption? will our child be discriminated against at school or with relatives?How does society at large respond to adoption? will our child be discriminated against at school or with relatives?
Does Government / Private Employers offer benefits similar to maternity leave in cases of adoption?How does society at large respond to adoption? will our child be discriminated against at school or with relatives? Government of India offers upt o six months of adoption leave for its women employees and upto 15 days of paternity leave for male employees upon adoption. Many renowned companies in private sector offer similar benefits ranging from six to eight weeks. Some companies also offer assistance by way of legal advice, flexi-hours, reimbursement of adoption expenses etc.
Do adoptees worry about their birth parents? How often may they remember them? How can we dispel their anxieties?It is natural for adoptees to think about their origins and search for their birth parents. The quest for birth parents increases in adolescence when children find they do not resemble their adoptive parents and there are several reference to this aspect within the family and among friends. The question “who do I look like?” gives rise to the several other questions about their own identity and search for birth parents. Though India follows a closed adoption system, the law allows for supporting an adoptees’s quest for its birth parents – provided the parents have not wished anonymity while placing the child in adoption. As adoptive parents, we can comfort them by respecting their urge for quest and supporting their quest, to the best of our ability, while sensitizing them to the fact that the search may not yield much result considering the regulatory framework and the time gap. Wherever possible, we should portray the birth parents in a positive profile, so that the child does not become defensive about its origin. Any references to adoption or relinquishment should also be made in a positive manner. It may help to highlight that the birthparent placed the child for adoption in its best interest and to provide for a better life than the birth parent was in a position to provide at that time
Are there any tax benefits associated with adoption?As of now, there are no tax benefits associated with adoption in India.
We have adopted a young boy last year, but he constantly reminds us of our inability to conceive. How can we get over this feeling and love the child?As human beings, we are blessed with varying skills, talents or abilities. Some can sing, dance, cook, lecture, perform yoga, climb mountains, cross English Channel…the list is endless. Not being able to bear a child is not a life threatening state. It should not be soul threatening either. There are millions who can reproduce a child, but cannot use that privilege to the fullest – for example people with cerebral palsy, differently abled people or people with social or family challenges. They would rather wish that their immediate concerns were addressed, over inability to have a child. If having a child is really important for you, work towards its remediation, and if nothing else works, focus on the strengths that you two together possess in deriving maximum joy in this life. Sometimes, our disabilities bring out the hidden strengths in us and help us rediscover ourselves. Maturity is all about being flexible in our beliefs. What is indispensable for you today, may become irrelevant tomorrow. What does not even exist today, may become your sole purpose in life tomorrow. So follow your instincts, give life chance and do your best.

If you have a question that is still not answered, please write to us at mail@familiesofjoy.org