Girl Abandoned After Adoption in Spain Does Not Want to Return to India

The 13-year-old Indian girl was adopted and later abandoned by a Spanish couple who claimed that her real age was not revealed to them.


A 13-year-old Indian girl, who was adopted and later abandoned by a Spanish couple after they came to know of her real age, does not want to come back to India.

“Our embassy in Spain has informed us that the child is happy there and does not want to come back to India. In fact, we have received applications from at least two to three other Spanish couples who want to adopt her,” an official in India’s Women and Child Welfare Ministry told Indian news portal The Print.

The girl is now a Spanish citizen and lives in a government-run shelter in Spain, reports said.

The Spanish couple had adopted the girl from an agency in Madhya Pradesh in January this year, and abandoned her after claiming that they were deceived about her age. The couple said they were told that the girl was seven years old at the time of adoption, the Hindustan Times had reported earlier.

In March this year, the couple wrote to the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), a part of India’s Women and Child Development Ministry, saying they had been misled about her age. They took the girl for age determination tests after learning that she was already menstruating, and a medical check-up and bone ossification test in Madrid revealed that she was aged above 13 years.

In August, Indian Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi requested DB Venkatesh Varma, India’s ambassador to Spain, to contact the girl and take necessary steps to send her back to India, where she would be placed under the care and protection of a suitable local agency. “It has been ascertained that the girl wants to return to India,” Gandhi wrote in her letter, according to a previous report by PTI.

The Bhopal-based Special Adoption Agency (SAA) Udaan, from where the child was adopted, is under investigations. The agency has denied the allegations, saying that while the child’s age may be false, it is the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) that determines the age before sending a child to an adoption center or to a childless couple.

Cases of adoption of Indian children by foreign nationals and Non-Resident Indians (NRI) increased by 10 percent in 2017-18, according to data from CARA. A total of 552 children were adopted in 2017-18 by foreign nationals or NRIs, as compared to 500 in 2016-17.

Several Indian adoption agencies have been accused of indulging in malpractices, including trafficking of children. The regulation of inter-country adoptions has been made strict by the Indian government with the enactment of Juvenile Justice Act, 2015 and notification of Adoption Regulations, 2017, the WCD Ministry had earlier said.

Adoption of children from India was recently recommenced by the Australian government, eight years after it banned the program. Australia cited an overall improvement in procedures to resume the program.

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