What adoptive parents residing in India need to know
The Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act allows couples and single adults to adopt children irrespective of religion. “People of minority religions can take recourse to this Act,” says Jagdeep Kishore, a lawyer in the Delhi high court who specializes in cases of adoption. Kishore has filed several test cases of adoption (including for minority religion couples) based on the Juvenile Justice Act.
Judgement on these cases is expected by the middle of this year, and will mark a major reform in adoption laws in the country.
Prior to this Act, only Hindus—including Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists—could be adoptive parents under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. The Act applied to married couples as well as single parents. Muslims, Christians, Parsis and Jews could only be legal guardians to a child, under the Guardian and Wards Act. A legal guardianship does not allow an adopted child to have the same rights to property etc. as a biological child.
What adoptive parents living abroad need to know
Married couples who have been together in a stable relationship for five years can adopt. Both parents should be between 30 and 55 years old.
Single persons (both men and women) can adopt.
Same sex couples cannot adopt.
Adoption of a second child from India is allowed only when the first adoption is legally complete.
The procedure begins with a foreign national approaching an adoption agency in his country which is approved or authorized by CARA. A list of these agencies is available on the website: www.adoptionindia.nic.in. The procedure ends with an Indian court declaring the child as legally adopted, followed by issue of a passport.