MUMBAI: City-based journalist Sanjeev Sane (name changed) preferred a girl to a boy, when he and his wife decided to adopt a baby. The couple, who are already parents to a biological daughter, wanted to raise another girl. Sanjeev is among the 2,640 foster parents who have opted for girls in last five years.
According to the statistics available with the Maharashtra State Adoption Resource Authority (SARA), in the last five years, the state has lead the country in the number of adoptions, especially that of the girl child. In this period, 24,065 children were adopted in the country. Out of them, 21,895 were adopted by Indians and 2,170 by foreigners. The maximum – 4,900 children – were adopted in Maharashtra. Out of them, 2,640 were girls and 2,260 boys. NRIs adopted 188 girls and 156 boys, whereas foreigners adopted 179 girls and 174 boys.
SARA works under the state’s Women and Children Welfare Department. It works as an agency to promote adoption in the country and regulate inter-country adoption. An official associated with the agency said there was a long waiting list for children to be adopted in the state.
“We have received applications from 866 couples expressing desire in adopting a child. Interestingly, majority of them are from Pune, followed by Mumbai,” he said.
Social activist Sangeeta Pawar said that the number of parents seeking adoption had registered an increase in the urban areas.
“There are several reasons why parents adopt. One of them is low fertility because of irregular life style and stress. It is a good sign that parents are preferring girls, but the process to do so is very complicated. It has become difficult to adopt a girl from an urban adoption agency, because the number of girls is less,” she said, adding, “However, it is a good sign that the agency has multiple requests from parents to adopt a girl child.”
On an average, the adoption process takes a year to complete. The department first declares a child legally free for adoption. Then, the interested couple have to go undergo scrutiny by the department officials, before they can choose a child for adoption.
The rules have been made stringent, following an adoption racket in the state in 2006. Pune-based NGO Sakhee and Advaith Foundation had exposed the racket in Pune’s adoption agency Preet Mandir, by alleging that foreigners had adopted the children from this agency in an illegal manner.