Despite strong desire and eligibility of couples and families to adopt abandoned children, official procedures are proving a hindrance for both the seekers as well as babies, who could have had a home instead of being consigned to living in child care units.
On December 28, police rescued a two-day-old baby girl abandoned in a cardboard box in the bitter cold from a hilly area near Shikohpur village. Five families from Gurgaon and Manesar had come forward to adopt her and contacted the media and civic authorities for the same.
Again, on November 3, a number of people had expressed a wish to adopt a newborn girl found near a residential society at Ardee city in Sector 52.However, none of these children could be adopted, as the families who evinced interest for the same weren’t aware of the rules and regulations surrounding adoption in the state.
Adoption in Haryana remains a tough proposition as childless couples keep running around child care institutes (CCIs) and child welfare committees (CWCs) with little or no clarity on the rules and procedure on offer. Most aren’t aware that couples have to register themselves with Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System, a statutory body under the state government.
The district child protection unit (DCPU) can only assist a couple in filling the application forms and processing the necessary documents, but a final decision on the couple’s claim rests with the state body.
The district child protection unit gets in touch with a willing childless couple on the basis of a set of advisories or guidelines issued by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) in 2015.
On an average, the Gurgaon CWC gets ten calls daily for clarity on child adoption procedure. The CWC officials conceded that there is an urgent need to make people aware of the child adoption procedure in the city.
While people lack clarity, even government officials aren’t up to speed with the child adoption process in Haryana. Legal adoption could only take place through specialised adoption agencies, which number only four in the state.
“I get no less than 10 calls (from childless couples) every day. I try explaining the (adoption) process to them, but it’s not easy. They often come to our office pleading with us to help with the adoption,” Shakuntala Dhull, chairperson, CWC, said.
The commonly-held belief , though flawed, is that the CWC is the nodal agency when it comes to adoption.
“Even the child care institutes are not aware of the adoption process. They ought to have the guidelines with them. The DCPU staff often visit and try explaining the procedure, but they still mislead couples and refer them to us,” Dhull said, adding there’s a need to train people associated with adoption.
“The CCI’s, which are privately run, are not allowed to get involved in adoption and those found doing so are liable for strict action,” Renu S Phulia, director, Women and Child Development.
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, provides for up to 3-year imprisonment and R1 lakh penalty for any person or organisation found giving or receiving, any orphan abandoned or surrendered,for adoption without following due procedure. Even a violation by the specialised adoption agency could attract a similar sentence, in addition to withdrawal of the registration and recognition of institution for at least a year.