KOCHI: As the statistics that the number of applications for adoption has doubled from over 500 to 1,000-plus in the last four years come in, Kerala should be a bit confused whether to hail or pass it by. The experts’ opinion that the stigma associated with the act has been coming down is heartening but that it is prompted by reasons like infertility, mostly resulting from hectic lifestyle, is indeed worrying.
While couples with one child were adopting their second child, there is also an increase in interest for adoption among the unmarried and widowed.
The State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) said it has received 1,054 applications from Kerala till date, an increase from 541 in 2012 and 616 in 2013.As per the SARA data, 1,024 in-country applications were received this year. Similarly, 30 inter-country adoption/NRI applications are also pending. Of the 90 children available for adoption in the last 12 months, 21 are specially-abled.
“There’s a surge in the number of child adoption every year and couples have to wait for several years. Now, those with one biological child prefer adoption for the second. Infertility is another reason for the increase in number,” said SARA programme officer Nijo Sebastian.There is also a rise in the number of unmarried or widowed persons preferring adoption. “We don’t have the exact number of single parents adopting children, but it’s quite big,” he said. Leading psychiatrist Prakash Chandra said people who have been reluctant to marry were also opting for adoption.
“Infertility is the major reason. However, we’ve seen unmarried people too are going for it. While some single persons see it as a noble deed, others, who didn’t marry due to personal issues, also settle for it. “Adoption is not an easy procedure legally and personally. Some children find it hard to adjust to the new environment while others face hereditary issues,” he said.Due to lack of enough children and delay, couples here prefer to adopt from other states. “Other than the home state, the couples can give three preferences. The parents can check the availability and apply accordingly,” said Nijo.
Kerala is somewhat peculiar considering the number of applications to adopt the female child is high. While 360 applicants wanted to adopt male children, 575 preferred female. The rest 434 did not have any gender preferences. “In Kerala, for the past several years, girls are preferred to boys. Since the number of available children is low in Kerala, several couples don’t mention any gender preferences. Across south India, girls are more preferred,” Nijo said.
Meanwhile, the recent statistics released by Central Adoption Resource Authority reveal that in 2016-2017, as many as 129 in-country adoptions took place in Kerala. Of this, 67 children were boys and 62 girls. Among the 16 inter-country adoptions took place, three were boys and 13 girls. In 2015-2016, 120 in-country adoption and 23 inter-country adoptions took place in Kerala. Comparatively, 2014-2015 witnessed a higher number—199 in-country and 14 inter-country.In 2016-17, 3,210 in-country adoptions were received across India in which 1,295 were boys and 1,915 girls.