| Registration, Referrals, Foster Care and Court Order |
Your step-to step guide to adoption in India
Any parent desirous of adopting a child has to register online at CARA by uploading their personal particulars, details of residence, marital status, income etc. and indicating their preferences for the child they wish to adopt, such as age, gender, category and States of India from which they wish to adopt. Once the registrations are complete and all documents accepted, the parent’s seniority is established.
For PAPs residing abroad, their registration and Home study is taken care of CARA approved Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA). A list of AFAA across the world can be found here. In case there is no AFFA, the nearest Indian Diplomatic Mission may be approached to complete the HOme study and liaise with CARA.
After registration, the adoption Agency nearest to the parent’s location conducts a Home Study for the parent. Once the Home Study is approved and uploaded in CARINGS system, the parent receives a referral of the child, as per their seniority and availability of children as per their preference. Parents have to reserve the child within 48 hours of receiving the referral.
The adoption process has to be completed within 20 days of reserving the child. The parent can take the child home after executing a Foster Care Agreement. The Adoption agency files the Adoption Petition in the court on behalf of the parent. Once the Adoption Order is received, the Adoption Agency also files for the Birth Certificate for the child, with the name of the adoptive parent as the legal parent of the child.
Understanding the CARA Process
The adoption process with CARA has following major steps, as highlighted in the Banner above:
- Registration – The Prospective adoptive Parent (PAP) registers online with CARA in the CARINGS system providing details of their personal particulars like residential status, income, health, marital status etc. The PAP also provides details of their preferences for the kind of child they wish to adopt, such as age, gender, category (normal, sibling or special need) and States from which to adopt. The Preferences indicated by the PAP play a major role in their seniority, wait time and referral. Please refer to the block below on Understanding CARA Preferences. Once the Registration is accepted, the PAP’s seniority is established in CARINGS.
- Home study – Upon receiving the registration, the nearest Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) conducts the Home Study of the PAP to establish the eligibility to adopt, as per legal provisions. Once the Home Study is approved and uploaded in CARINGS, the PAP becomes eligible to receive a referral and also reserve a child from the Immediate Placement and Special Need category. Refer to our blocks below to understand the Eligibility for Adoption and IP and Special Need Category.
- Referral – Based on the PAP’s seniority and availability of children as per their Preferences, they receive the referral of the child. Currently, there is a wait time of 2-2.5 years to receive the referral for a healthy child below 2 years of age. The wait time can be tweaked a little. Please book a counselling session with one of our Adoption Counsellors to know of the options that may be right for you. Once you receive a referral, you have to reserve the child within 48 hours of receiving the referral.
- Exhausting your referrals– If you do not reserve the child referred to you, the referral will be withdrawn after 48 hours and you will get your next referral after 60 days. Similarly, if you do not reserve the 2nd child referred to you, you will get your third referral 60 days after the 2nd referral. If you do not reserve any of the three children referred to you, you will be placed at the bottom of the wait list.
- Reserving the Child- The referral includes the Child Study report and the Medical Examination Report of the child. Please read through these documents carefully and reserve the child referred to you within 48 hours of receiving the referral. After reserving the child, please coordinate with the Adoption Agency to complete the documentation and bring home the child.
- Losing your seniority – Once you reserve any child referred to you, you have to complete the Adoption Process within 20 days of reserving the child. If the adoption process cannot be completed within 20 days, or you reject the referral after reserving, you will again be placed at the bottom the wait list. Please allow for spending a couple of days at the agency to complete all formalities.
- Completing Adoption Process – Once you visit the Adoption Agency, please assess the health and condition of the child. In case there is a wide discrepancy between the condition of the child referred to you, and the condition as described in the documents, please alert CARA immediately. Not completing the adoption process will cost you your seniority. In case there is no material concern, please execute the Foster Care Agreement and bring your bundle of joy home. Refer to our blog on Accepting your first referral and completing the Adoption Process, so that you do not lose time in unfounded fears.
- Court Order – The Adoption Agency will file a petition on your behalf in the Court. You may have to visit the Adoption Agency again, with the child, to complete the Court Proceedings. Once the Court Order is received, the adoption Agency will also file for the Birth Certificate with your name as legal parent of the child.
Parents should exercise extreme caution in indicating the right preferences, because their seniority and wait time for receiving their referral singularly depends upon the preferences subnitted by them. We have come across numerous parents who have given erroneous preferences and have waited for years for their referral. Our counsellors can help you optimize your preferences and the wait ime.