Adoption of Indian Children by Foreigners on the Rise

More foreigners and NRIs prefer to adopt children with "special needs."


Cases of adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) increased by 10 per cent in 2017-18, according to data from the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). A total of 552 children have been adopted in 2017-18 by foreign nationals or NRIs, as compared to 500 in 2016-17.

Most adoptions came from couples from the United States, followed by Italy, Sweden, Spain, and the United Arab Emirates. In 2016-17, the trend was similar, according to the New Indian Express. Most foreigners (60 per cent) preferred to adopt “special needs” children who had mental or physical disabilities. Almost 90 per cent of the children adopted by foreigners were aged older than six years.

“It takes anywhere between 8 months and a year to adopt these children. The waiting time is less as fewer couples want to adopt them,” an official said while talking about adoption of children with disabilities, according to the Times of India.

“You can’t blame them (India-based parents). They have very little support system in our country, including medical,” Indian Council for Child Welfare general secretary Girija Kumar Babu said. She added that most couples are from the middle class and may not want the financial constraints associated with having a challenged child.

“This contrast is sharp but we are happy that there has been a quantum jump in adoption by foreigners and NRIs after the 2015 adoption guidelines came into force,” CARA chief executive officer Deepak Kumar said. “Even earlier, foreigners were ready to take special needs children. Now it has become a little easier for them,” said Kumar.

Indian parents prefer to adopt children without disabilities and under the age of six, according to the report. Another trend that emerged is that the incidence of adoption of the girl child is higher than that for the male child among India-based parents as well as those living abroad.

After a change in rules in 2015, foreign nationals have an easier time adopting specials needs and older children. The children under the two categories are moved sooner to the list of prospective adoptive children for foreign nationals if they are not chosen by Indians.

The adoption process has been made online and is entirely in English, which has been problematic for the Indians living in rural areas. The changes in 2015 involved treating Non-Resident Indians on par with Indian citizens, introducing a time frame for adoption, monitoring of adoption agencies, and introducing the provision of pre-adoption foster care.

A parent can search for children legally available for adoption according to age, language, and other criteria. CARA, which comes under the Union Women and Child Development Ministry, has made the database of children available for adoption online and has connected it with adoption agencies across the country.

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