Govt may help Kairi Shepherd

, Hindustan Times

New Delhi, May 20, 2012
The Indian government may provide help to 30-year-old Kairi Shepherd, who faces threat of deporation from United States after a local court rejected her claim for residency. Kairi Shepherd was just three months old when she adopted by Erlene Shepherd from an orphanage in India,
the youngest of her eight adopted kids.Erlene died when Kairi was eight years old, and she had not acquired US citizenship. At
17, Kairi was convicted of forging cheques to pay for her drug habit.

At 30, she faces risk of being deported back to India as US federal court
recently upheld the government’s right to deport Kairi as she had failed to
qualify for citizenship by a few months under the Child Citizenship Act of

Until 2000, parents were simply required to file a form before the adopted
child turned 21 to claim citizenship. Apparently, Erlene had filled Kairi’s
form, but failed to file it before her death.

After 2001, legal international adoptions automatically conferred citizenship
on children adopted by US citizens. Kairi, however, missed the deadline by
turning 21 a few months before the new law came into force.

With her case been highlighted by Hindustan Times. the ministry of external
affairs has asked Indian Embassy in Washington to provide details about her
case. “We have sought more details about the case,” an external affairs ministry
official said.

The Central Adoption Resource Authority, mandated to look into all cases of
inter country, adoption has also asked MEA’s intervention. The authority,
however, said it can’t do much as Kairi Shepherd’s adoption took place before it
came into being.

“It is sad that CARA has washed its hand-off her (Shepherd’s case),” said
Anjali Pawar, director of Pune based NGo Sakee, which has filed a public
interest litigation in the Supreme Court against inter country adoption.

Although Kairi is out of jail but is in hiding fearing deportation by US
Immigration agencies. Her biggest fear is that if she lands in India there will
be no one to take care of her. Kairi is suffering from multiple scolerisis.

She, however, hopes that the Indian government will help as she has turned
into a “global orphan”. The US has refused to acknowledge her even though she
has been staying there for almost thirty years and here in India, it will be
difficult to trace her roots. “I have no documents to trace my Indian parents,”
Shepherd had told Pawar.

Shepherd’s is not the only case of deportation of adopted Indian kid. In
2008, Jennifer Haynes, 32, who was sexually abused by her adopted father, was
deported after being caught with drugs.