If you’re looking to adopt a child, you need to prepare yourself legally, emotionally, psychologically, and socially before you can initiate the process. Here’s everything you need to know to help make the process smooth and easier
BY SHAIFALI AGRAWAL
STARTING a family isn’t always as easy as it looks, particularly if you’ve exhausted all your means to become biological parents. However, the goal does remain the desire to become parents, and adoption is one way to ensure you have a child to love, nurture and care for. After all, there are no unwanted children, just unfound families. Besides, all you need is love, not DNA when thinking ‘Parenthood’.
Now, if you’re looking to take the adoption route, there are a few things you need to keep in mind. We’ve listed them out for you:
ELIGIBILITY: Anybody can adopt a child, provided you are physically, mentally, emotionally, and financially stable. More importantly, you must be honest about your physical health and ensure you don’t suffer from any life-threatening ailments. Couples married for at least two years make ideal candidates. However, couples with more than four children are not eligible to file for adoption. Non-resident Indians (NRIs) or foreign nationals are eligible. Single women are eligible to adopt a child of any gender. However, single males are not eligible to adopt girl children.
AGE REQUIREMENTS: You can adopt a child anytime between the ages of 25 and 55. The composite age of you and your partner should not exceed 110 years. However, it’s important to note that the minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents should not be less than twenty five years.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER: While you may familiarise yourself with the legal know-how, and read all the possible literature you can find, nothing can quite help you as much as asking all the right questions for your emotional stability. You have to first and foremost, clear any apprehensions you might have. You must make peace with the fact that you might not have a biological child of your own. While it is quite possible that couples might get pregnant after adopting, it’s important that you stay aware of the situation. “This way, you are raising the child you have, and not the child you wish you would have had,” says Sangitha Krishnamurthi, an adoptive parent from Bengaluru, who has a biological daughter and an adopted son.
The ideal way to learn and, more importantly, understand the toll this process will take on you is through the book The Family of Adoption by Joyce Maguire Pavao. The book highlights the entire process through three different perspectives—that of the biological parents giving the child up for adoption, the adoptive parents and finally, the adopted person. “The book is quite an eye-opener. It not only gives you the basics you need to know, it helps give you a holistic view on the emotional state of all the parties involved in the process. I read it after I adopted my son, but I really wish I knew about it before I initiated the process,” says Sangitha.
Apart from the recommended reading material, you must make it a point to attend seminars and join support groups. It doesn’t hurt to seek preadoptive counselling to help you better handle the stress, anxiety and frustration that will likely follow. Additionally, visiting specialised adoption agencies will help you get acquainted with the children and better understand how they live. Adoption agencies tend to have a set of rules for welfare and maintenance of an orphan, so their environment is completely different from that of a home. “Most of the adoptions fail due to improper maintenance by parents and various restrictions imposed on a child after being brought to their new home,” says Sameer Mir, a Delhi-based advocate.
TALK IT OUT: Just as talking helps one sort through various problems or concerns, having an open and honest discussion about your concerns, apprehensions and hesitance when considering adoption with family and friends, can just prove to be helpful. Sometimes, a friend or loved one might ask you something you may not have realised was a concern. Moreover, openly discussing your decision to adopt will give your family and friends some time to accept your decision, work through their own inhibitions, to finally accept, welcome and support the child in question.
TAKING THAT FIRST STEP: To initiate the process, you must first complete an online registration at the Central Adoption Resource Authority of India (CARA), and upload all your updated and relevant documents as specifi ed on the website. Once you have done that, it is recommend that you contact a concerned Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) in your state. A social worker from the agency will visit your home to access your capabilities, the home environment, etc. to draw up a report. If the interview and home inspection are successful, you will soon be declared eligible by the SAA.