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Desperately seeking toddlers

Mumbai has, compared to any other state or city in the country, the highest demand for adoption. In 2007, Mumbai alone recorded 509 adoptions while the country as a whole recorded only 3,264 cases.

india Updated: Nov 24, 2008 01:11 IST
Aditya Ghosh

Plagued by an ever-spiralling waiting list of people seeking adoption, Mumbai’s Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA), the state wing of the Central Adoption Regulation Authority (CARA) under the Ministry of Women and Child Welfare, is searching in states like Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh for ‘surplus’ children ready to be shifted to the city for adoption.

Mumbai has, compared to any other state or city in the country, the highest demand for adoption. In 2007, Mumbai alone recorded 509 adoptions while the country as a whole recorded only 3,264 cases. “While here we have a crisis (for children), there are states where the demand is much lower and children are waiting to be adopted. We are trying to coordinate with them,” said ACA chairperson, Leena Kashyap.

Recently a one-year old girl from Bangalore was brought to Mumbai and successfully placed in a family here. But Kashyap warns about the risks.

“Only ACA has the right and powers to coordinate inter-state adoption, but some unscrupulous agencies have done that in the past which is illegal and amounts to trafficking,” she said.

According to Sunil Arora, administrator of Bal Asha — an adoption agency in the city, states like Uttar Pradesh, Chhatisgarh and Madhya Pradesh have very low rates of adoption.

“These states have surplus children, while we have a waiting list of over 150 families seeking children for adoption,” he said.

The process though, takes much longer.

“All the papers need to be verified, claims looked into. It takes twice as much time (required for adoption from the same state),’” said Kashyap.

Foreign adoptions have reduced the most because of changes in the adoption policy a year ago. Also, the global meltdown may be another cause.

“Now only a special-need child is offered for foreign adoption, or very dark skinned. (The condition is that) At least three Indian parents must have rejected the child before it is offered for inter-country adoption,” said Vandana Patil, coordinator, Mumbai ACA.

She also claimed that though it was possible to get children from other states, it required detailed investigation and coordination with the respective state ACAs. “It is a difficult process,” she said.

Instead, parents should be counselled to accept older or dark skinned children. And also boys.

“Look at the data, everyone wants a girl child. Last year, 289 girls were adopted against 220 boys. People who come for adoption generally have progressive minds and say that a girl child is much easier to raise,” she said.