A Mangalore-based couple has surrendered two minor girls saying they violated the norms laid down by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in 2015, while adopting them. The girls, aged 5 and 7, reached Gurgaon on Thursday and were produced before the Child Welfare Committee. They were later shifted to a child care institute.
The girls’ local guardians left them at the Ujjwal Niketan CCI (child care institute) at Sector 4 in October 2016 claiming they were unable to support their education and allied expenses. They had lost their father a year back and mother three years back.
The businessman, who had been childless since 2001, got in touch with Sister Lily Baretto, the caretaker of the CCI. Baretto allegedly got the siblings to move in with the couple shortly after they checked into the CCI. The couple took custody of the girls after filing affidavits.
Though was adoption procedure was carried out at the Gurgaon sub-registrar’s office, their aunt and legal guardian, wasn’t party to the process. She thought she no longer had a say in the process after getting her admitted to the CCI.
“All adoption procedures need to be as per the guidelines laid down by CARA in 2015. Children could only be adopted from specialised agencies. Couples have to apply by filling the online form for adoption registration in compliance with the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System. The district child protection unit will help the couple in filling up the application form and uploading the required documents on the system,” Shakuntala Dhull, chairperson, CWC, Gurgaon, said.
“We will shift the other children in the CCI and shut it down next week. Strict action will be taken against the person in charge. We have sent the case details to the SAA (specialised adoption agency),” Dhull said.
The couple has business interests in Mangalore city and is well-off, Dhull said.
Grilled by the CWC officials, the couple apologised and said they were not aware of the adoption policy. They said they realised their mistake when the school refused to admit the girls. They said they were told to take the girls to the Mangalore CWC and have them rehabilitated at the Gurgaon CWC, failing which they could face legal action.
The Gurgaon CWC conducted a search at the CCI on November 24 and recovered a letter from Mamta Yadav saying that she was leaving the two children at Ujjwal Niketan. The CCI informed the CWC that the children had been adopted. However, as there was no record available on their whereabouts, the CWC recommended action against the former.
The girls told HT that they were happy to be back in Gurgaon. Narrating the experience at their foster home, they said it was difficult for them to understand the language of their adopted parents. They said they didn’t like the food served to them and wished to move out of the place.
“Our foster parents sat us on a flight to Mangalore after adoption and in the four months that we spent with them, they took us on a trip to many places. It was fun being with them, but we couldn’t understand or speak their language and had trouble adjusting to their food. We were missing our aunt. They loved us a lot and even threw a bash on our birthdays,” the elder sibling, aged 7, said.
“I used to love the cakes they got us for our birthday parties. They often used to invite other children in the neighbourhood to their place and have them play with us. Aunty and uncle were very nice to us. They wanted us to go to school,” the younger sister, aged 5, said.
Soha Moitra, regional director, Child Rights and You (CRY), said, “Under the Juvenile Justice Act, only specialised adoption agencies, some of which are CCIs for children till 6 years of age, are authorised to undertake the adoption process. A child could only be recommended for adoption only if she is declared legally eligible by the CWC.”
She said there should be an investigation on whether the CCI flouted rules earlier and was party to illegal adoptions. She said the children currently residing at the Gurgaon CCI should be immediately shifted to a different institute for their safety.