NEW DELHI: The longing for a child has been endless for 34-year-old Aisha. The Delhi-based woman and her husband have been trying hard for the past four years to adopt a child. “First, it was a little difficult for us to understand the procedure and then we entered the queue to adopt one,” she says.
Asha is among the 1,163 parents in the city who are currently waiting for a child and this is when the city has 149 children legally free for adoption. When asked why it is taking so long, she says, “I have seen a few parents who tell the adoption agencies that they quickly want a child whatever it may be and in those cases they do get a child. But we belong to a middle class family and cannot afford those expenses. That’s the reason behind the delay.”
Ironically, 86 adoptions— 37 male and 49 female children —were allowed to foreign parents in Delhi in 2011, thanks to the government agencies which have been ignoring the waiting list of Indian parents.
According to the latest data released by the Union Ministry of Women and Child Development, there were 150 Indian adoptions in Delhi compared to 86 foreign and 15 NRI adoptions during the period from January to December 2011.
Social activist Anjali Pawar says that the increasing number of foreign adoptions is because of the money game. “Foreign adoptions involve high price. Children have become a source of money for these people as the agencies earn `2.5 lakh per child in foreign adoption, way higher than `40,000 per child in Indian adoption,” Pawar adds.
Raj Mangal Prasad, another activist who has been fighting against child rights and inter-country adoptions, says, “I see it as the biggest racket of child trafficking. Even by law the government should fulfil the demands of adoptions inside the country and then go ahead with inter-country adoptions.”
Complaining about the involvement of money, Prasad adds: “Every child comes with a price tag of some lakhs for them, when it is foreign adoption. It is all about business.”
Explaining the procedure of adoption, Pawar says that legally, a child is open to foreign adoption only after three Indian parents in the waiting list for adoption say no him/her.
A former employee with the ministry, however, reveals a shocking story. On condition of anonymity, he told The Sunday Standard: “Most of the times, a fake no objection certificate of prospective adoptive parents is made and the child is then open for foreign adoptions. As foreigners are usually ready to spend a hefty amount to get the child, they are happily doing so. In this manner, the list of Indian parents waiting for the child goes increasing.”
Besides, he added, one of the major reasons behind the increasing waiting list of parents is that there is “zero” coordination between the adoption agencies. “In most of the cases when a parent is registered with one adoption agency and the agency does not have a kid, it does not refer them to other agencies,” he explains.
Meanwhile, officials of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) deny that foreign adoptions involve money and so they are being preferred. “Most of the times, prospective adoptive Indian parents say no to a child because of some reason or the other. They are usually very choosy and then the child is taken for foreign adoption. There is no money involved. The `2.5 lakh fees for adoption is official. We have no personal interest in getting foreign adoption done,” said a senior official of CARA.