"We do not need to know the beginning of a child's story to change the ending" -- Fi Newood
Adoption as defined by the Child Welfare Information Gateway is "the social,
emotional, and legal process in which children who will not be raised by their
birth parents become full and permanent legal members of another family while
maintaining genetic and psychological connections to their birth family."
Depending on their position and viewpoint, various people are affected by
adoption in different ways.
The idea of adoption has undergone a significant transformation during the
transition from the prehistoric to the contemporary era. Similar to other social
institutions, adoption is mostly a result of historical and evolutionary
processes. Both childless couples and orphans, homeless children, and young
people in need, gain from adoption. Adoption gives lone, single adults a
parent-child relationship, which enriches their lives. Despite the fact that
they are not blood relatives, adoption fosters a strong bond between the child
and their adoptive parents.
The idea of adoption was introduced in order to grant orphan, abandoned, and
relinquished children the right to have a family. The purpose of introducing
this idea was to ensure that one's funeral rights would be carried out and to
protect one's lineage. The idea of adoption was thought to be the most effective
way to give a child who had lost his or her biological family a family again.
Section 2 (2) of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, states that "adoption is the
process through which the adopted child is permanently separated from his/her
adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are
attached to a biological child."
Laws Regulating Adoption In India:
In India, a parent can adopt a child regardless of whether they are married or
single, NRIs, or foreigners of any nationality. The rules and the documentation
procedure, however, may vary depending on the adoptive parents' group.
In India, the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 (particularly for
Hindus) provides categories of people who can adopt:
According to Section-7 of the Act, any male Hindu who is of sound mind, not a
minor, and qualifies to adopt a son or a daughter is included. However, if such
a man is still married at the time of the adoption, he can only do so with his
wife's consent (unless the court has pronounced her incapable of giving
Similarly, as per Section-8 of the Act, any female Hindu has the right to adopt
a son or a daughter, provided that, she is not married, or if she is married,
her husband is deceased, or their marriage has been dissolved, or her husband
has been found to be illegally incompetent by a court."
Conditions For Adoption:Section-11 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956 provides certain
conditions for a valid adoption:
- If a son is being adopted, the adoptive parent who is making the adoption must not already be the parent of a Hindu son, son's son, or son's son's son (whether by biological descent from a parent or through adoption) who is alive at the time of the adoption.
- If a daughter is being adopted, neither the adoptive mother nor father may, at the time of the adoption, be the biological parents of a Hindu daughter or son, whether by blood or by adoption.
- The adoptive father must be at least twenty-one years older than the adoptee, if the adoptive parent is male and the adoptee is a female.
- If a female is the adoptive parent and the adoptee is a boy, the adoptive mother must be at least twenty-one years older than the adoptee.
- Not more than two people may adopt the same child at the same time.
- The intended transfer of the child from the family of its birth (or, in the case of an abandoned child or child whose parentage is unknown, from the place or family where it has been raised) to the family of its adoption requires that the child be actually given and taken in adoption by the concerned parents or guardians or under their authority.
Personal Laws On The Matter Of Adoption:
Personal Laws of Muslim, Christian, Parsi, and Jewish do not acknowledge full
adoption; therefore, if a member of one of these religions wishes to adopt a
child, they may apply for guardianship of the child under Section-8 of the
Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.
This law only designates a child as a ward, not as an adopted child. When a
movement child reaches the age of 21, he is no longer regarded as a ward and is
treated as an adult, in accordance with this statute.
However, under the Guardians and Wards Act, an adoption from an orphanage is
permitted with the court's approval. The Act permits Christians to adopt
children who are in foster care. When a foster child reaches adulthood, he has
the freedom to sever all ties from his adoptive parents.
Capacity To Adopt Under The Juvenile Justice (Care And Protection Of Children)
An orphan, abandoned child, or one who has been turned in can be adopted by a
couple or a single parent. Adoptions made pursuant to the Hindu Adoptions and
Maintenance Act are not covered by this law. Section 37 of the JJ Act, 2015 and
Regulations 6 and 7 of the AR of 2017 grant the authority to the Child Welfare
Committee to declare an orphan, an abandoned child, or a child who has been
turned in as unfit for adoption, as well as to permit adoption of children up to
the age of 18.
Specific provisions related to adoption under the Act are as follow:
- Eligibility Criteria for Adoptive Parents: The Act specifies the requirements for people or couples who want to adopt a child. Age, marital status, financial security, and the capacity to give the child a safe and caring environment are frequently included in these criteria.
- Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA): The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which acts as the primary organization for regulating and overseeing adoption procedures in India, is established by the Act. A national database of adoptable children and potential adopting parents is kept up to date by CARA.
- Preference for Adoption within India: The Act gives preference to domestic adoption over international adoption, which means that Indian people are given preference when it comes to adopting Indian Children. When suitable Indian adoptive parents cannot be found, only then international adoption is considered.
- Procedure for Adoption: The Act outlines the adoption process, including the function of adoption agencies and the related legal steps. It highlights how crucial it is to guarantee that the child's best interests are upheld throughout the adoption procedure.
- Adoption Guidelines and Regulations: The Act gives the government the authority to create policies and rules pertaining to adoption. The documentation requirements, the home study process, and other adoption-related procedures may be outlined in these recommendations.
Societal Changes In Adoption In India
The government had a motive to inquire about the welfare of children who became
orphans as a result of abandonment, poverty, and conflict. Initially, the next
relatives on either side of the family would automatically adopt such children
into their homes. It was observed that adopting these kids were the greatest
alternative when there were no family members available to take care of them.
In this context, conventional adoption- which arose as a matter of personal and
familial interest- moved in the direction of reforming child welfare. This
improvement in children's welfare paved the opportunity for Indians to adopt
children who were not related in the 1920s. The number of unrelated children
adopted during this time is unknown because documentation was not widely known.
Current Changes In The Pattern Of Adoption
In the past few decades, India's perception of adoption has seen a considerable
change. Prospective adoptive parents are starting to comprehend the social and
legal aspects of adoption, as well as the necessity of working with formal child
welfare organizations. It's noteworthy to consider that the number of kids
entering Institutions either through surrender or abandonment has significantly
decreased over the past few years. Family planning and legally ending
pregnancies are the causes of this. A wider view of attitudes has changed as a
result of education, globalisation, and contemporary ideas.
In Bihar, for instance, as per the reports of CARA, In-country adoption for the
year 2016-2017 has been reported up to 134, whereas, Inter-country adoption was
26. Similarly, the highest was recorded in Maharashtra where In-country adoption
was 711 whereas Inter-country adoption was about 142. The lowest was recorded in
Jammu & Kashmir where the In-country adoption was 0 whereas the Inter-country
adoption was sucked at 0.
In rural areas of Tamil Nadu, girl children continue to be victims.
Surprisingly, according to ICCW figures, 78% of all domestically adopted
children between 2001 and 2009 were girl, while 22% were male. This demonstrates
unequivocally that girls continue to be abandoned or turned over more frequently
A girl child is not seen as an economic burden by prospective parents who have
greater levels of income. They are confident in their ability to parent girl
Futuristic Approach Towards Adoption
To finish the adoption process and avoid time running out, Family Courts will
need to adopt more "child friendly" policies. The District Court Judges will
require ongoing instruction form the Judicial Academy on how to handle adoption
The required advice for raising children with special needs must be provided by
NGOs and child welfare organizations. Policies must be established very soon
since same-sex couple adoption is gaining popularity. Currently, some states in
India are able to legalize same sex-marriage.
We may predict that training and education for adoption counselling competency
will be an area that receives significantly more attention in the coming ten
years due to growing awareness of the psychological implications of the adoption
The Supreme Court of India recently decided to hear a case requesting that the
legal procedure for child adoption in India be streamlined.
Adoption Is a personal decision, and adopting parents may have concerns about
parenting, relatives, interacting with the community, or attending school.
Currently, post-adoption counselling is provided in the form of aftercare, but
is only made available to the parents upon request. To help and direct parents
with the shift in their roles and adjusting to parenthood, it is advised that
post adoption counselling be made mandatory.
The need to educate the mental health community on the adoption process and the
psychological effects of childless couples who adopt is another crucial element.
It may be inferred from the current pattern that adoption therapy training will
someday be required.
Written By: Aditi Ambastha,
5th Year, B.A.LL.B. - Noida International University