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Adoption is not shopping for kids, says Pune adoption activist

Speaking to Hindustan Times, the mother of two adopted children shatters the myths related to adoption with facts covering India.

pune Updated: Jan 22, 2018 16:16 IST
Ananya Barua
Ananya Barua
Hindustan Times, Pune
adoption,pune,councellor
Smriti Gupta, adoption activist and counsellor.(HT Photo)

Adoption activist and counsellor Smriti Gupta, 37, criticises the moral degradation of society of either looking at adoption as a helpless resort or a preference-based market for children. Speaking to Hindustan Times, the mother of two adopted children shatters the myths related to adoption with facts covering India.

What is the issue with child preference in adoption, in India?

Preferences are usually provided as options to parents while registering, but sometimes this could also be the shortcoming in the process. For instance, most parents prefer to adoptbabies, citing reasons like bonding or adjustment issues, or to experience the feeling of bringing up a child. And, statistically, only 103 children below two years of age, out of a monthly pool of 1,525 adoptable children in India, as per the recent data, thus increasing the wait time. Personally, I feel all this can be fulfilled even with a slightly older child. Also, preferences are made with respect to gender, states and so on.

Government report reveals more girls are preferred in adoption. Is it true? If so, why?

It is true. There is a longer wait period for a girl child in India, and that has changed over the years. It can be both, a positive and negative reason. The positive is that urban educated parents are looking for adoption not just as the last alternative but as a choice, and it involves taking the responsibility of a girl child and furthering opportunities for them, as in general the society is more supportive of a male child than a female.

Personally, I and some other parents in adoption that I know of have opted for girls citing this reason. The negative reason could be the existing thought that women have the innate quality of a nourisher and hence when a girl will grow up and know about the adoption, she is likely to understand and take care of her parents, as opposed to a boy, who might leave them. Honestly, this is absolutely wrong and unjust to our boys.

Is the number of adoptable children correct, considering India’s population?

Yes it is. Out of millions of abandoned children in India, only 1,525 children, in every monthly cycle are recorded to be adoptable. The huge gap is because of a number of issues that even the statutory bodyCentral Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has pointed out. So,children to be ‘adoptable’ have to go through a legal process whereby the biological parents, firstly have to give up the legal rights to the child. A lot of times, this rolls into the courts, as many biological parents are fine to give up the child to an institution, but not give up the rights for them to go for adoption.Also, despite the Supreme Court’sdirective that every child care home has to be under CARA, many are not registered. The state government has to ensure its strict implementation and more children will be added in the adoption pool.

What is the reason for long wait in adoption?

Preferences is actually a reason why the adoption takes time, because many parents arelooking for children in a specific age boundary, or give importance to physical features including skin colour and hair texture, beyond just gender. If we remove these discriminations, and go for immediate placement, which has kidswho have been through a lot of referrals, but haven’t been adopted because of biases in society, then the process will be much faster without a wait list. Also, I encourage parents to adopt children with special needs, and have personally done so. All children deserve to be loved and cared. Adoption should not be a shopping practice.

What is the reason behind this mindset?

Broadly, it is the approach which focuses around the parents. It has to be about the child, and getting him or her a home, so that the welfare of the child is the most important aspect here. We usually see if the child is meeting the preferences of the parents, which is a horrible way to look at adoption. If we were treated that way by our parents, we wouldn’t be here as positive individuals today. The focus should be to find a home and parents for a child not the other way around.

First Published: Jan 22, 2018 16:15 IST