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The Psychology of Adoption

Children have been known to bring light to any parent's life. It is quite distressing to know that those innocent children get trapped in heinous crimes such as human trafficking and sexual abuse and the ones rescued are brought to adoption centers where they hold out hopes of a better life and being loved and wait for them to be adopted. Children are known to be the greatest pleasure in every parent's life. Adoption is the most prevalent way for those couples who are not able to conceive a child to acquire that happiness.

Adoption is a legal procedure in which the custody of an orphan child is given to a married couple or single woman who aggress to look after the child to the best of their potential. Adoption is a gift to both parents and the orphan child who gets the love of parents and parents gets the pleasure of having a child.

Introduction
Children have been known to bring light to any parent's life. Every day 67,385 children are born in India and are provided with all the essentials for their healthy growth and are pampered and cared for in every stage of their life while every year more than 60,000 babies are abandoned in India.

It is quite distressing to know that those innocent children get trapped in heinous crimes such as human trafficking and sexual abuse and the ones rescued are brought to adoption centers where they hold out hopes of a better life and being loved and wait for them to be adopted. Children are known to be the greatest pleasure in every parent's life. Adoption is the most prevalent way for those couples who are not able to conceive a child to acquire that happiness.

The law relating to adoption and maintenance generally depends on the personal laws of different religions. The Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 19561 is the only personal law in India that deals with adoption, and it governs such laws for Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, and Buddhists. It contains provisions relating to the adoption of children; maintenance of wives, children or aged parents, etc. Some personal laws, such as Muslim, Parsi, and Christian, do not allow for adoption.

Adoption is a legal procedure in which the custody of an orphan child is given to a married couple or single woman who aggress to look after the child to the best of their potential.

Adoption is a gift to both parents and the orphan child who gets the love of parents and parents gets the pleasure of having a child.

The paper talks about the psychology of adoption and attempts to analyse the legal guidelines relating to adoption. Further, it delves into defining the adoption scenario in India.

Essentials of Valid Adoption

Section 6 of the act enumerates the following essential requisites for a valid adoption:

  • The person adopting should have the capacity and also the right, to take in adoption
  • The person giving in adoption should have the capacity do
  • The person adopted should be capable of being taken into adoption
  • The adoption is made in compliance with the conditions in Chapter II of the Act (The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act,1956)

The capacity of Male to adopt: Section 7

"According to Section 7 of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. Any male who is not a minor has the capacity to take in a son or a daughter in adoption, but if the male Hindu has a wife living at the time of adoption, he shall not adopt except on the consent of his wife."

History of Adoption

In India adoption is being practiced for over a thousand years. It is majorly practiced by the Hindus. There are some references to adoption in Mahabharata and Ramayana. Adoption is not only practiced in India but is practiced in the whole world, in historical times many couples tend to adopt children to name them as their legal heirs.

In Hinduism, sons play an important role in every parent's life as it is considered that the salvation of dead parents' souls is possible if the cremation is done by the son only. In previous times sons are considered superior to daughters which is still the mentality of today's world. Also in Roman Culture father adopted a son to extend his legacy and inherit his property.

In ancient times the objective of adoption was only in property interests, performing the cremation and the kinship.

Evolution and Development of Adoption Law in India

Evolutionary process and Historical development are the keys to the development of Adoption law after passing through three eras i.e., Ancient, British, and Post Independence eras. Each era has a very significant role in the development of Adoption laws. Under the Hindu Ancient custom, King who didn't have any male child, to avoid the succession dispute to the throne, a King / Ruler could adopt a male child of any age from any other ruling family and appoint him as a successor. The purpose of adoption is two-fold, firstly, to carry on the lineage of the father, and secondly, to perform the funeral rites4.

The Adoption ceremony DATTAHOMA is the most important ceremony which necessitates inviting relatives for a valid adoption5. Smritis like Manu, Yajnavalkya, Kapila, Lohita, Angira & Ankara dynamically talk about the law of Adoption and inheritance of a child6. According to Hindu Scriptures, it is considered that only if the son performs the funeral rites then only deceased parents can achieve salvation.

The reason to perform the ancient practice was to adopt a son after failing to get a natural one. In the case of Darshana Gupta Vs. None and Ors.8 The SC stated that "Acts were liable to be construed harmoniously to ensure rehabilitation and social reintegration of orphaned, abandoned and surrendered children"

As of today, adoption is governed by codified laws but in ancient times there was no codified law for adoption, Adoption was governed by the scriptures. The codification of the adoption act came into the picture in the British era, the first Children's Act9 was enacted in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies in 1920, giving the state the authority and responsibility to take care and look after abandoned and neglected children. The Children's Act provided protection to the children.

In Post-Independent Era, Hindu Code Bill was placed in front of Parliament by the B.N Rao Committee, and Parliament successfully enacted four laws one of which is the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 195611. Though parliament enacted the Adoption law, there is an absence of General law that could govern the whole concept of adoption under one umbrella.

In 1972, the very first attempt was made to make a single law for governing adoption in all personal laws but it failed to become an Act because of the opposition of the Muslim community12. Again in 1980, The Adoption of Children Bill was introduced in Lok Sabha which mentioned that it will not apply to Muslims but this Bill, unfortunately, could not be enacted.

In the case of Lakshmi Kant Pandey vs. Union of India,13 it was brought to attention that there was no regulation for adoption in India which could lead to the trafficking of children. For the same purpose, a comprehensive framework was formulated to protect the interest of the children.

The Doctrine of Factum Valet

The maxim "Quod fieri non-debris factum valet or the Doctrine of Factum Valet", is a Latin maxim, which means what ought not to be done is valid when done.

After adoption, the child adopted gains the right of the natural born child of the adopted parents and is cut down from performing any rights of their biological parents such as Shraddha, Pind daan.

Government Initiatives

The times have changed since the previous days, in 1992 the Tamil Nadu government introduced a scheme called the 'cradle baby scheme' which was introduced to reduce female infanticide. In this scheme, the child welfare organization put a crib outside every public hospital premises door for abandoned babies. This initiative was started when there was an alarming rate of female infanticide as we live in a patriarchal society. This scheme brought down the killing of female babies and also increased the number of female children surrendered in the extreme rural areas of Tamil Nadu.

Barriers to Adoption:

  1. Gender Bias in Adoption
    In India, it is stated that gender discrimination is eliminated but it still occurs in India. A woman is not given the same right as men, a woman cannot adopt a child of her own free will till her husband is alive, even if the husband approves. Whereas the husband can adopt a child with the approval of the husband. Even in the 21st century, India is a gender-biased country where women are not given any rights even during adoption. It is very harsh to say that a man can adopt a child but a women's desire to adopt a child is not fulfilled by her own will.
     
  2. Limited Availability
    Even if couples want to adopt a child there is not enough child available to adopt, according to CARINGS (Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System), there is only 1 child available for 10 parents.
     
  3. Time-Consuming process
    Adoption is a very stressful and time-consuming process, due to the heavy load of paperwork and background checks, it takes almost one month to one year for adoption both national and international. The wait time is too long for adoption due to which many families switch to private adoption or choose a way to reduce the long waiting time.
     
  4. Strict rules and regulations
    Domestic adoption is bound by strict rules and policies which affect the adoptive families. Due to these rules, many families fail to adopt a child which creates discouragement among the adopting families and the children too.

Adoption Scenario in India

In India, CARA is the state-approved agency that governs the adoption in India, though some private adoptions are still active in private hospitals which are run through agents and unorganized sectors.

With the changing time, the parents are now starting to understand the importance of adoption with the help of child welfare organizations and also understand the legal process of adoption. It is also noticed through a survey that the abandonment of children is decreased drastically and are starting to come to the adoption institution.

In Tamil Nadu due to the cradle-baby scheme, female infanticide is reduced but now also a baby girl is considered a casualty in the family. In the records of ICCW17, it is clearly shown that the rate of female adoption is higher than male adoption which clearly states that a girl is considered a burden on the family and is surrendered more often.

In the research, it is also found that some families with a good economic status tends to adopt a male child rather than a female and consider raising them a burden as they will; further have to spend money on their education and then on their marriage whereas they see a male child as an investment for their future.

Conclusion
Adoption is the short-term word for happiness. It brings joy to both the child's and the parent's life by uniting them. With the changing times, domestic adoption has gained motion, and with the help of the Child Welfare Organization, the public is now aware of CARA.

Further, the abandonment of children is decreased, and are sent to the adoption institution but still, many baby girls are being sent to the adoption center and are considered a burden in Indian households and males as an investment. The government is also taking some initiatives to promote adoption and reduce abandoning female children.

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