Managing CARA Preferences

Avoid costly mistakes in managing preferences on Age, Gender, Category and States that you wish to adopt from.

Avail counselling so that you wait no longer than you need to.

PAPs can specify the following preferences while registering with CARA:


PAPs can adopt from following age groups of children

  • 0-2 yrs
  • 2-4 yrs
  • 4-6 yrs
  • 6-8 yrs
  • 8-10 yrs
  • 10-14 yrs
  • 14-18 yrs


PAPs can adopt either a Male or a Female Child, or choose ANY, in which case they would be referred either a male or a female child


PAPs can adopt a child from the Normal Health category, a single child, a set of Siblings, a child from the Immediate Placement category or from the Special Need category


Parents can indicate a preference to adopt form any three states of India (1st preference, 2nd preference or 3rd preference) or they can adopt form ANYWHERE in India. If theyr choose ANYWHERE IN INDIA, then they can receive a referral from any states of India. If they choose specific States, then they will get a reference only when a child of specified age, gender or category becomes available in the preferred states only.

Preferences and their impact on Seniority / Waitlist

Understanding CARA Waitlist
(FoJ You Tube Channel)

Parents registered with CARA often see their wait list fluctuating over months. They get confused when the number goes further down. How is it possible for the wait list number to ever go down. With passage of time, it should only reduce – right? The truth is that the waitlist for a parent indeed changes over time. The reason lies not in the seniority of the parent, but in the preferences marked by the parent. Every time the parents change their preferences, or any other parent does it, the wait list changes. Let us understand how.

The seniority with CARA is determined by the Date of Registration – when all documents have been uploaded, verified and a Registration number awarded to the parent. The Seniority is a unique status – and does not change ever, once registered. Therefore, for two parents (P1 and P2) registered in Jan 2016 and Sep 2016 respectively, the Seniority may be No 200 (P1) and 622 (P2) . P1 will therefore ALWAYS remain senior to P2, in CARA system.

As parents seek different choices in terms of gender, age of child, agency, state etc, the waitlist is arrived at for parents opting with SAME set of preferences. The waitlist will therefore change if a Senior Parent enters the same set of Preference. This can be explained by way of an example:

Assume that 2 more parents register for a girl child, between 0–2 yrs, from the State of Delhi in Sep 2016. Their respective seniority is 654 (P3) and 670 (P4). Therefore, waitlist for Parent P2 is 1, for P3 is 2 and that for P4 is 3 – for the above set of preference, i.e. girl child between 0–2 yrs from the State of Delhi.

Now assume that Parent P1 who had a seniority of 200 (and was much senior to P2 / P3 and P4), had marked his preference for a girl child of 0–2 yrs from State of Haryana – where it stood a waitlist of No 12 for that preference- as there were 11 parents senior to him with same preference. Having waited for several months, P1 changes his state to Delhi
for a girl child of 0–2 yrs. As the P1 is much senior to P2, P3 and P4, the moment it changes its preference to Delhi, for the same age group and gender, it gets placed higher in the waitlist, and the waitlist for P2, P3, P4 goes down by 1 to 2,3 and 4 respectively. If there were 10 more parents senior to P2, P3 and P4 who change their preferences so as to match identically with preferences marked by P2, P3 and P4, their status would go down by another 10 positions – for the same set.

Your waitlist could also go down if somebody senior to you was waiting for completion of their Home Study Report (HSR). Even of you were on top of the queue for your set of preferences, if a parent who registered before you just got his HSR done, will now sit on top of the queue, as per Central Seniority. This typically happens when parents queue up for a favourite agency, and that agency takes time in completing the HSR. As the parent had already registered much earlier, and was only waiting for the completion of HSR, which was delayed by the Agency, it attains the rightful seniority over others, once his HSR too is completed. So, the Central Seniority is ALWAYS maintained, and a child is referred as per your Central Seniority, as determined by date of Registration.

You could change your set of preferences to change your wait time by opting for an older child, or a different gender, or a different State – where a different number of parents may be waiting – but within the chosen parameters, you will always be served as per your unique seniority.

Impact of Anywhere in India option

Many parents wonder if there are two separate wait lists for parents opting for specific States or those choosing to adopt from anywhere in India. Well, there is single wait list for both. Parents opting for Anywhere in India are automatically added to the wait list of all the States and receive referral as per their seniority.

For example, if there are 30 children available in Kerala, then 30 senior most parents eligible to adopt from Kerala will receive a referral each. This includes parents who chose Kerala as their specific State, or those who chose to adopt from anywhere in India, and were therefore also eligible to adopt Kerala. It is possible that out of 30 parents, 7 had indicated their preference to adopt from anywhere in India, and 23 had preferred to adopt from Kerala – and together these 30 parents received a referral, as they happened to be 30 senior most parents registered and eligible to receive referral from Kerala.

Typically, there is a shorter queue for older children, children with special needs, or sometimes, even children from given regions. CARA has even introduced a new category of “Children for Immediate Placement” where the wait time may be considerably less.

The Parent could change their preferences to change their wait times. However, a parent is allowed a maximum of 3 changes to their preferences, and therefore the same must be exercised with caution. It may be advisable to seek advice from CARA or a certified Adoption Counsellor before making a change, as you will be able to see the impact of change, only AFTER making the change. You should not end up increasing your wait time by changing your preferences on State, gender or child type.

While your overall seniority remains the same, your wait time will increase, if you choose to wait for subsequent referrals – as others behind you might have accepted the children referred to them, and you will have to wait till a child becomes next available to you.