How does one go for adoption
Created by Parentune Support Updated on Dec 30, 2019
It changed in a second! One instant we were holding him in our hands, the next, we were transformed! From companions, friends, spouses....we became Mom and Dad. There was a finality, that was an end.
I started finding out about adoption during one of my closest friend’s journey to motherhood. I was with her every step of the way, there were days when she would run around for documentation or visit the adoption centre, or follow up with the NGO or work on preparing her mind or deliberate at home with her husband and so it went on and on. There were other days when she would listlessly lie around at home, waiting and then waiting some more. I was there, I saw it all.
Meeting her daughter post the successful conclusion of this process and seeing her through the process itself, started the process for me. In my mind at least I began to know that I wanted to be an adoptive mother. It still took me some time to eventually start the journey, but once I did, I handled it with all the skills I had picked up during a long and eventful career in corporate communication, those of insistent follow-ups, closing the loops, consistent and customised communication, picking out and culturing “influencers” and so on. I realised a few things about how to minimise the time lapse between applying for adoption and getting your baby in your arms and how to make the path less strewn with obstacles, I wish to share all that with you, however with the disclaimer that I by no means claim to be an authority on adoption, I am someone who has done it and merely wishes to tell you how.
Ok, first things first, go through the CARA website, http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/, apply online, but beware! The website is fraught with technological snags, so the application may take several attempts before it is finally processed. Keep trying though, coz if you do not get an acknowledgement from the website, your application is not valid. A tip, before you start filling out the online form, keep your details like passport number, pan card number handy. However, do not be disheartened if the online form doesn’t go through, most NGOs will give you a physical form to fill-up and that’s valid too.
Make sure to choose your agency well, the CARA website provides a list of NGOs and an indicative number of children that they have, while its a guideline, I would not recommend that you base your choice only on the information it contains, most of the time, the total numbers represent older children and special needs children too. In my experience, asking around works much better, friends or family members who have adopted children are usually in a much better position to give a realistic idea of the approximate time that an NGO is likely to take to conclude the process. It is wise to apply to multiple agencies at one time, though as per CARA’s guidelines that’s not permissible. However if you do apply at more than 1 NGO, use different ID Proofs for each, meaning if you have used the passport number for 1, make sure you use the pan-card number for the next. I applied to more than 1 agency too, but not simultaneously. The choice of an Adoption Centre is the single most important differentiator in this entire process, if you choose a very crowded one, your wait can be twice as long as that at a more efficient, more pro-active agency. Choose your agency/NGO well.
Once you have filled up the form, submitted it and have an electronic receipt number with you, call up the agency of your choice, refer to the number and ask if they have received your application. In my experience, they will draw a blank, however this will help you open up the line of communication with them. Seek an appointment at the earliest, visit them at the appointed hour, be ready that you may need to wait before you get a chance to speak with them. Do not go on a day when you have to rush back to office within a stipulated time for that important meeting.
Make sure that you know your passport or pan-card number when you visit them, for the NGO will in all likelihood request you to fill up the same form again, even if you carry a print out of the CARA one. Ask them also for a list of documents required for them to process your request, once they give you the laundry list, read through with the NGO representative. Go item by item, sometimes their forms are outdated, sometimes CARA has revised guidelines and some item is not there on the list and at other times that particular NGO has a special requirement. Remember, if the documentation is faulty, your application will just not move!
Collecting the documents is an arduous process, there will be times when you will simply feel like giving up, DON’T. In my experience, the documentation is the toughest part, once you are over with it, you are pretty much ready to move to the final phase. The NGO may say they do not need the closest younger relative to give an undertaking saying that he/she will care for your baby if something untoward happens to you, I would suggest that you still procure that document, and make sure it’s on a 100/- stamp paper, even if they say it is not necessary. Sometimes such documents are required at the court during finalising the foster parent agreements. Once you have all your documents, check and double check till you are absolutely sure that every piece of paper required is there, make sure the originals are available with you. I had to ask my parents to courier a few things to complete my bunch. Each NGO’s list is different and they are all different from the CARA list, combine both lists, knock off the common items, but get the rest ready. Faulting on the side of plenty is advisable in this case.
For those of you who are in Gurgaon, most NGO’s require a Police Clearance from your local police station stating that there are no criminal cases against you and your spouse. This proved to be an obstacle that we failed to cross. We made at least 2 dozen visits to our local thana, the mini secretariat and the SHO’s office, nothing got done. The NGO we dealt with were kind enough to allow us to proceed without that most elusive piece of paper. Later I carried on my own investigation and figured that in Gurgaon and possibly only in Gurgaon, this document can be procured only once you have a court order for receiving it! So, if you are unfortunate enough to work with an NGO that insists on it, speak to a lawyer friend to figure out how it can be done!
Now, once you have all your documents in place, make 3 sets of photocopies. Get all 3 sets notarised. That happens easily at any court, but since it involves carrying your original documents with you, I would advise you to make that trip to the court premises yourself.
While you are doing all this, and it is likely to take you sometime to complete this part of the process, KEEP YOUR FOLLOW UP ON! Remember, every good NGO is overwhelmed with applicants and while they all follow a queue system, sometimes they also go by the level of interest you demonstrate. Hypothetically, if you are 4th on queue and have never visited them or called, they are likely to consider you a dormant case and move on to the next person waiting. Don’t be obnoxious, don’t bother them, but do make sure that you are on their “top of mind recall”. If your NGO is in another state, as was the case with me, follow ups may involve a visit now and then. Phone calls, e-mails are also important means of making sure that the NGO team remembers you. I would always recommend personal visits because even if your documentation is robust and your case is strong, till they have been able to put a face to the name, they will not take up your case on priority.
Look for a few “influencers” who can push your case, friends in NGOs who know other NGOs that deal with adoption, founder members of CARA, people in social service who may know Churches, that may know NGOs that do adoption and most importantly parents who have adopted babies from the particular centre you are pursuing. A visit, a mail, a phone call or just a mention at a NGOs meet/social dinner or any forum, from one of these people, to the NGO of your choice may help to reinforce the team’s recollection of your case.
Now that you have notarised your documents, and your influencers have pushed your case too, pro-actively, seek a home study from the NGO. Tell them that you are keen to get the home study done and can they please send someone to do it. If the NGO thinks yours is a good case and when they have identified a baby for you, they will send a social service person to do a recce of your premises and ask you a few key questions. If you have a nuclear set-up, call your extended family over on that day, during this home study business, the NGO will judge whether you are financially as secure as you claim to be, if your home and environment is baby friendly, if you have a loving and accepting support system. They will also be evaluating you, your motives for adoption, your extent of compatibility with your spouse, your ideas on child rearing in general and adoption in particular, so on and so forth. I would advise you to be honest and try not to sound too desperate. A craving bordering on obsession can be interpreted differently by a social worker.
When this visit is over, the NGO will usually invite you for meeting your baby, they won’t say that though, they will simply state that they have identified a child for you, would you kindly come and see him/her. Even if there are some disconnects between the baby they are suggesting and the specifications you put in your application, do go. I can give you my example, I had applied for a girl child, the centre had identified a boy baby for me, I convinced my husband to at least go and meet him, and the rest as they say is.....parenthood! It was love at first sight for us, we knew the moment we saw him that he is ours that he was born for us. We proceeded to formally tell the NGO that we wish to take him home as soon as possible, so that they could start their part of the process. Once you know your baby, do confirm to the NGO immediately!
Once you have given your consent, the NGO will ask you to do your own medical examination of the baby. Usually the NGO will have their medical file for your baby, but it is advisable that you take along a paediatrician of your choice to do a prima facie exam and run the tests again. However, my adoption centre was in another state, doing all this was quite cumbersome for me, so I trusted my NGO team and went with their findings.
Once the medical of your baby is done to your satisfaction and you have communicated that to the NGO, they will take the next available appointment with the court and accompany you there. You will face a legal person who will ask you some basic questions, assuming they don’t find anything amiss in your papers. You will need 2 witnesses to sign alongside, you will visit several counters at the court and sign on several documents, the NGO would have collected your photos beforehand which they will stick in documents required and ask you to sign again. Don’t go too deep into what you are signing, your NGO representatives do this day in and out and know what they are doing, so just go with the flow. At the end of this long and tedious day at the court, a document will be signed between you and the NGO, making you foster parents of your child for a period of 6 months. Post which, the legal process will conclude and you will finally receive the birth certificate of your baby.
The court day will also likely be the day when you will take custody of your child so carry a baby bag with you. You know what to pack, use your common sense, speak to friends, but make sure you have a supply of his/her food and diapers. Running out of either can put your baby in a foul mood. If you are getting your child from another state, you may want to take either of the grandmothers, a friend who is the mom of a young child or a nanny. My husband and I however braved this challenge double handedly and boy! Did we come out with flying colours!
Our 6 months of foster parenthood will end in September, we will need to visit the NGO to complete the legal proceedings then. Once that happens, I will update you on that experience, but trust you me, what comes before you qualify to meet your baby is the real hard part, hope this note of mine will help you get an insight into some of that!
If you wish, you can always reach out to me with questions and doubts, would love to help you to pull through with this like many of my friends and relatives helped me. Without their love and support, I could have not been the thrilled Mom I am today. I will always remain indebted to them for life.
All the best with adoption, if I am an example to go by, it does change your life!
| Jun 01, 2013
Great insight on the procedure for adoption. I want to know will this procedure remain same if we wish to adopt a child even if we have a baby of our own? We are keen on adopting a girl child as our second baby. Do they favour this situation and allow adoption?
| Jun 03, 2013
Thanks Sonali & Bhavna.... hugs girls & Nancy yes it will remain the same, depends on the NGO, the one I dealt with, will in all likelihood not treat your case any differently on account of having a biological child :) you can write to me at aditi363das@gmail. com if you wish to have their contact details & kudos to your noble thought!