Some foreign nationals who came to adopt kids strandedUpdated: Apr 28, 2020 00:08 IST
New Delhi: For Georgia residents Whitney and Mike Saville, their trip to India in March was a realisation of a long-time dream of adopting a child. They came to India on March 6, after a two year wait.
The paperwork for a passport and a US visa for their adopted daughter was pending when India announced a three-week lockdown starting March 25. The Savilles were stuck in India.
The couple’s three sons, all between the ages of 4 and 7, were back home in Atlanta. Mike tried to fly back while Whitney stayed in India but the plan, early in the lockdown, went nowhere. The couple then made a video, asking for help.
“We are grateful that we have Grace (the name they have given their daughter) in our care now. We are grateful we came, we just wish the circumstances were a little bite different,” Whitney said in the video.
The Savilles weren’t alone. Foreign nationals who came to India to adopt children from countries such as the US, Italy and Malta were stranded.
Col (retd) Deepak Kumar of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) said that in April alone, the agency they helped four such couples.
According to Kumar, foreign nationals usually come to India after a court order on the adoption has been pronounced. After this, the passport of the child is processed, and CARA sends a confirmation to aid the process. Finally, for an exit visa, the local Foreigners Regional Registration Office needs to issue a permit.
In many cases, he said, the paperwork for the passport and the FRRO certificate were pending. As passports need biometrics, processing new ones has been a challenge, he added.
“In all the cases we processed in April, we wrote to the FRRO after we got requests from foreign embassies. The FRRO processed these requests in less than a day, and in one case, in less than an hour,” Kumar said
In the case of the Savilles, Georgia Senator David Perdue worked with the US state department and the American Embassy in New Delhi to process their safe return. They finally returned on a special flights that the American government had arranged for US nationals who were stuck in India.
Kumar said that while there is no estimate of how many prospective parents came to India from abroad, in a typical year, CARA processes over 500 inter-country adoptions. “On an average we process about 40 cases involving foreign nationals. In half of these cases, the prospective parents are of Indian origin or non-resident Indians with extended family here.”