The Namakkal adoption racket that is being investigated in Tamil Nadu has once again brought illegal adoptions to the spotlight. Investigating agencies believe at least 30 children had been sold by the gang behind the racket. The gang is alleged to have used gaps in health and registration services to target vulnerable families—poor, with several children, or several girl children—and persuade them to sell their babies to childless couples. They are alleged to have used contacts in government hospitals to locate such families. The families that gave up their children reportedly only received a small portion of what the childless couples paid for the child, the brokers pocketing most of it. It is reported that the families gave up their children only to ensure the kids got a better life.
That the circumstances of families in Tamil Nadu, one of the better-off states in India, remain such that they are willing to sell their babies to strangers should cause the state government to introspect and remedy gaps in its services, especially with regards to birth control and family planning. Adoption processes have been streamlined in recent years, but they do require prospective parents to be patient. The processes are not free of corruption although they are designed to protect the best interests of the child, to ensure that the kid ends up in a good and stable home. However, that illegal adoption remains rampant indicates that the legal process may need to be further streamlined without compromising the interests of the child. The government should also undertake more efforts to create awareness on the adoption process and make it accessible to all.
Meanwhile, childless couples should realise that even though legal adoption may take time, it is aimed at protecting the best interests of the child. By resorting to illegal adoption, they end up creating a demand that puts so many children at such horrific risk.