Chetan and Neha, a NRI couple from Houston are trying hard to adopt a child from India after having failed to have one of their own in eight long years of marriage.
Chetan and Neha, a NRI couple from Houston are trying hard to adopt a child from India after having failed to have one of their own in eight long years of marriage. They started out by approaching agencies in India who promised to get the work done within a couple of months but even after two years things are yet to materialize. Adoption in India is a complicated affair being guided by old laws such as The Guardians and Wards Act, 1890 (GWA) and the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956 (HAMA). NRIs and PIOs desirous of adopting a suitable child from India come across tremendous amounts of regulatory road blocks and legal hassles since most are not aware of the exact documentation and procedure that is required for the job.
Common problems encountered
- The 2 laws mentioned above do not permit Non Hindus to become adoptive parents and they can only be entrusted as the guardians of the children they wish to look after.
- Even Hindu NRIs have to make an adoption deed as specified in Section 16 of HAMA and have to obtain additional 'guardianship orders' from a 'guardian judge' under the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, 1956 (HMGA) without which immigration is not permitted.
- The 80:20 adoption ratio criteria stipulated by the government which provides preference for in country adoption at 80% against only 20% to NRIs and PIOs.
- A NRI can apply for a child only when the child is offered internationally after being rejected thrice for domestic adoption.
The right procedure for adoption in India
The most essential activity in the adoption process in India is to check out the eligibility criteria as stipulated by Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India at their official website. Thereafter you can proceed to identify the child and the concerned child welfare or social agency in charge of the child. The agency has to be recognized by the state or central government in order to permit adoption by a NRI or PIO.
Step 1: Collect all required documentation to support adoption application.
Step 2: Approach a social or child welfare agency in country of present residence to sponsor your application.
Step 3: Forward the sponsorship authorization to the government recognized adoption agency in India.
Step 4: Apply to the Consular Wing of the Indian Embassy/High Commission/Commission/Consulate in country of present residence to get all relevant declarations and certificates attested.
Procedure at Indian Embassy: On being satisfied with the legal requirements having been met in your application the embassy or consulate will file an application in a suitable court of law in India where the chosen child resides.
Procedure at the Court: The court will verify the merit of each individual case and then permit an adoption deed by the NRI and there after grant ‘Guardianship Rights’ which is necessary for the child to emigrate with the NRI out of India.
Procedure after Grant of Guardianship Rights: After the issue of ‘Guardianship Rights’ you will have to apply for a passport for the child that needs to be submitted at the embassy/ consulate of the nation of present residence for visa formalities.
Documentation required for adoption from India
- Duly filled application form downloaded from CARA site.
- Suitable family environment report for the couple by any registered social agency in that nation.
- Marriage certificate.
- Health and medical fitness certificate by authorized doctor.
- Certificate of your financial suitability with supporting documents.
- A formal willingness declaration from the couple.
- An undertaking from the sponsoring social welfare of the current country that the adoption will be legalized in that country within 2 years.
- Certificate from the sponsoring social welfare agency indicating permission for the adoption.
- An undertaking from the sponsoring social welfare agency that in case of any unforeseen circumstance the agency shall take care of the adopted child and provide the necessary support as per prevailing laws of that nation.
- An undertaking from the sponsoring social welfare agency that is shall provide quarterly progress reports of the child to the Indian social agency for the first two years of adoption.
The role of the foreign social agency and it Indian counterpart in the entire process is significant and thus merits greater attention from the applicants. By following the laid out procedure and ensuring that the requisite documentation is in place while applying the NRIs can expedite the process and avoid getting into legal complications that will not only delay the adoption but create unwanted hassles subsequently.
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