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Overview of Child Adoption process in India

Adoption means the process through which the adopted child becomes the lawful child of his adoptive parents with all the rights, privileges and responsibilities that are attached to a biological child.

Fundamental principles governing adoption

The following fundamental principles shall govern adoptions of children from India, namely:-

  • the child's best interests shall be of paramount consideration, while processing any adoption placement
  • preference shall be given to place the child in adoption with Indian citizens and with due regard to the principle of placement of the child in his own socio-cultural environment, as far as possible
  • all adoptions shall be registered on Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System and the confidentiality of the same shall be maintained by the Authority.

Stakeholders in adoption process

  1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) - CARA ensures smooth functioning of the adoption process from time to time, issues Adoption Guidelines laying down procedures and processes to be followed by different stakeholders of the adoption programme.
  2. State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) - State Adoption Resource Agency acts as a nodal body within the State to promote and monitor adoption and non-institutional care in coordination with Central Adoption Resource Authority.
  3. Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) - Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) is recognized by the State Government under sub-section 4 of section 41 of the Act for the purpose of placing children in adoption.
  4. Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA)- Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency is recognised as a foreign social or child welfare agency that is authorised by Central Adoption Resource Authority on the recommendation of the concerned Central Authority or Government Department of that country for coordinating all matters relating to adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that country.
  5. District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) - District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) means a unit set up by the State Government at district level under Section 61A of the Act. It identifies orphan, abandoned and surrendered children in the district and gets them declared legally free for adoption by Child Welfare Committee.

Who is eligible to adopt a child?

  • The prospective adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable; financially capable; motivated to adopt a child; and should not have any life threatening medical condition;
  • Any prospective adoptive parent, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has his own biological son or daughter, can adopt a child;
  • Single female is eligible to adopt a child of any gender:
  • Single male person shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child;
  • In case of a couple, the consent of both spouses shall be required;
  • No child shall be given in adoption to a couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship;
  • The age of prospective adoptive parents as on the date of registration shall be counted for deciding the eligibility and the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents to apply for children of different age groups shall be as under
Age of the childMaximum composite age of prospective adoptive parentsMaximum age of single prospective adoptive parent
Upto 4 years 90 years 45 years
Above 4 upto 8 years 100 years 50 years
Above 8 upto 18 years 110 years 55 years
  • The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents should not be less than twenty five years;
  • The age for eligibility will be as on the date of registration of the prospective adoptive parents;
  • Couples with more than four children shall not be considered for adoption;

How to adopt a child?

One can adopt a child only through submission of online application available at www.cara.nic.in and following the procedures provided in the Adoption Regulations, 2017. For further details please visit the website www.cara.nic.in

It is now mandatory to register online on CARINGS to adopt a child. If you are not familiar / unable to register online, you can approach the District Child Protection Officer (DCPO) of your district.

Adoption procedure

In-country

  • Parents register online on CARINGS (www.cara.nic.in)
  • Select preferred Adoption Agency for HSR (Home Study Report) and State
  • User ID and Password generated
  • Upload documents within 30 days of registration
  • Registration number generated
  • Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) conducts Home Study Report (HSR ) of the PAPs and uploads it on CARINGS within 30 days from the date of submission of required documents on CARINGS
  • Suitability of Prospective Adoptive Parent (PAP)s is determined (if not not found suitable, PAPs i nformed with reasons for rejection)
  • PAPs reserve one child, as per their preference from upto  6 children
  • PAPs visit the adoption agency within 15 days from the date of reservation and finalise
  • If the child is not finalized within stipulated time, the PAPs come down in the seniority list
  • On acceptance of the child by the PAPs, SAA completes the referral and and adoption process (on CARINGS)
  • PAPs take the child in pre - adoption foster care and SAA files petition in the court
  • Adoption Court order issued
  • Post-adoption follow-up report is conducted for a period of two years.

Parents In-country - Instructions for Online Parent Registration for Adoption

  • This registration is meant for Indian citizens residing in India
  • Please give your correct residential address and telephone no. with area code
  • You or your spouse must have a Permanent Account Number (PAN) card and you have to upload PAN card in portable document format (.pdf) – size should not exceed 512 KB
  • You have to upload your (single parent) or your family photograph (couple) in .jpg format (3.5 x 4.5 cm). – Size should not exceed 1 MB
  • You must have an email account and mobile number
  • After successful registration, you will receive an online acknowledgement letter which will contain your registration and credential details
  • In case you misplace your online acknowledgement letter, then it can be regenerated using Forgot Password link available in Track Status page
  • Please upload the following documents:
    • Photograph of person/s adopting a child (Post Card Size)
    • Birth Certificate
    • Proof of Residence (Adhaar Card/Voter Card/ Driving License/ Passport/ Current Electricity Bill/ Telephone Bill
    • Proof of Income of last year (Salary Slip/ Income Certificate issued by Govt. Department/ Income Tax Return)
    • In case you are married, please upload Marriage Certificate
    • In case you are divorcee, please upload copy of Divorce Decree
    • In case of death of your spouse, please upload Death Certificate of spouse
    • Certificate from a medical practitioner certifying that the PAPs do not suffer from any chronic, contagious or fatal disease and they are fit to adopt.
    • In case of incomplete/wrong information, your application is liable to be treated as invalid
    • After registration, you should contact the adoption agency
    • All original documents will have to be produced for verification
    • Your eligibility for adoption will be decided by the adoption agency.

From In-country to Inter-country

Children would move automatically from in - country adoption to inter - country adoption by CARINGS following time schedule as below :

  • after 60 days, if the child is below 5 years of age;
  • after 30 days, if the child is above 5 years of age or is a sibling;
  • after 15 days, if the child has any intellectual or physical disability .

Do's and Don'ts

Key Points to Remember for Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs)

Do'sDon'ts
Only adopt from Specialised Adoption Agencies (SAAs) recognised by State Governments. Do not approach any nursing home, hospital, maternity home, unauthorised institution or individual for adoption.
Read the Guidelines carefully on the website and follow the due procedure. Do not upload any incorrect document, else your registration will be cancelled.
Follow the steps for completing your registration. Do not pay any additional adoption charges other than what is prescribed in CARA Guidelines.
Please upload documents as per instructions. Keep away from touts/middlemen. There is no role of touts/middlemen in adoption. They will mislead you to adopt a child illegally.
For adoption related charges, please refer Schedule-13 of the Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children (2015). Always make payment by cheque or draft and collect your receipt. Through illegal adoption, you may unintentionally become part of child trafficking network. Save yourself from legal ramifications.
In case of query, you may contact Toll Free Helpline No. 1800-11-1311 or carahdesk.wcd@nic.in

Related Resources

  1. Child Adoption Regulation, 2017
  2. FAQs on Adoption
  3. List of District Child Protection Unit (DCPU)
  4. Specialised Adoption Agencies

Source : Central Adoption Resource Authority



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