While adoption still remains a taboo in most parts of India, it does not take away from the fact that it is one of the most successful alternative ways of having a family. Inability to conceive naturally is now not the only reason why adoption is the way to go. Many singles and couples are now considering adoption as a first and only option for them, and bask in the ability to love, care for and support a child, to give her a new lease of life. These people are the ones that truly carry these babies in their hearts rather than in their DNA. In India, like every where, there are a number of rules and regulations to abide by, when adopting a child. As you prepare to welcome your very own under your roof, here’s a comprehensive guide to help you sift through the information, and get on with your desire to bring home your baby...
FIRST THINGS FIRST
The decision to adopt isn’t an easy one, and before you apply, it is important that you and your significant other are on the same page about the adoption. Have a no-holds-barred conversation with each other and assess why this is the correct option for you. “I believe you should never force your partner to adopt. You can’t run this race alone if you are married. Don’t just adopt to fill the void in your heart, created by infertility, and treat it like it’s the only option you are left with. Don’t treat adoption as a filler—just like having a baby the natural way is a huge decision, so is adoption” says Sunita Chand, mum to three siblings Samuel, David and Isaac.
Next, famliarise yourself with the adoption process and understand the challenges that lay ahead, socially and emotionally. Anita Fernandes (name changed) who adopted her daughter Sasha (name changed) recalls having discussions at length, with her husband, about the social implications of their decision. “We decided to adopt in a time when the topic was sort of a taboo. While my husband and I were clear in our intentions, we had to mentally prepare to face the outside world and introduce Sasha to everyone. That was the most explicit conversation we had. Sasha was close to a year old when we became her parents. I was so scared and all I wanted to do was shield my baby from the naysayers. I even considered trying to figure out a way to make it seem like I gave birth to her, because the society we lived in at the time were ruthless and always quick to judge. But my husband and I promised each other that we’d stand by our beliefs no matter what the world thought of us. Today, it heartening to see couples openly speak about their decision and be proud of it. It really is inspiring,” says Anita.
For IT professional Santanu Ghosh and wife Pramila, adoption was the first and the only choice of starting their family, “My wife and I decided we shouldn’t bring a new baby to the world, when there are so many underprivileged babies already longing for love. We decided that we should adopt. So mentally, we were prepared. This was a discussion that we had even before we got married,” said Santanu, dad to Athena, two.
It is also important to consider your financial status at the time you are ready to adopt. Not only is it an important factor when agencies assess your financial well-being—adoption is an alternative way of having a baby, and just like a baby had any other way, it will require you to be financially able in the long run to care for your li’l munchkin.
WHO CAN ADOPT
Before registering to adopt, it is important to understand whether or not you meet the eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents (PAP). PAPs need to be emotionally, mentally and financially stable before registering themselves. Marital status is not a make or break factor in the process. However, single women can adopt a girl child, but single men do not share the same privilege. In case of married couples, you will need to be married for at least two years before you can apply. You are still eligible to adopt if you have biological children, or if you’ve adopted in the past, but if you have more than three children, you will not be able to register. Indian citizens living abroad, and even foreign nationals can adopt from here too. In terms of age, there are certain age limits that the PAPs have to meet, both in case of single applicants or couples.
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