The Delhi High Court has granted protection to a US-based Indian Christian couple who adopted a child in 2014 under Hindu law. The Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) has refused to give them a No Objection Certificate to obtain a passport for their child. The Court said that before the Juvenile Justice Model Rules of 2016, India did not have a law allowing/ governing adoption by Christian parents.
In this context, let us look at India’s general law on adoption and how you can adopt a child in India.
You first need to check your eligibility to adopt a child, and check whether the child in question can be adopted.
Your application for adoption will go through various stages, as mentioned below:
Step 1: Register on the CARA website here. It will redirect you to the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS) where you can fill your application details such as your personal details, employment details, etc.
Step 2: After registration, submit relevant documents as part of your application. See here to understand which documents you need to submit. After you fill out the application, you will get an acknowledgement slip.
Step 3: You can track the status of your application with the registration number given on the acknowledgement slip.
Step 4: The CARA or Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) will conduct a home study to decide whether you are eligible to adopt a child.
Step 5: CARA or SAA will inform you whether your application has been accepted or rejected. In case your application is rejected, the reasons will be posted on CARINGS, and you can appeal against that decision to Children’s Court. You can find the appeal procedure here.
Step 6: If your application is accepted, on the basis of your seniority, the SAA will refer three children to you through CARINGS. You can choose one child for possible adoption within 48 hours after which the concerned authority will fix a meeting to assess suitability. Within 20 days of this process, if you do not accept the child you have chosen, the system will move your name to the bottom of the seniority list.
Step 7: Within ten days of your selection of a child, you need to take in the child in pre-adoption foster care, making you the child’s foster parents. This happens while the adoption approval order is pending from the Court. You must sign the undertaking given here before taking in the child.
Step 8: The SAA (or other relevant authority) will file an application with the relevant Court to obtain an adoption order. The Court will hold proceedings in-camera, and dispose of your application within two months from when you filed the adoption application. The SAA will then obtain the birth certificate of the child within three working days with your name.
Step 9: The SAA which conducted the home study will prepare the post-adoption follow-up report every six months, for two years after the adoption. In case of any issues, they will provide counselling. If the problem continues, they may take back the child and declare them as legally free for adoption again for other prospective adoptive parents.
To know more, read our explainer on adoption.