US adopts highest number of Indian children

Christin Mathew Philip,TNN | Jun 21, 2014, 04.27 AM IST

CHENNAI: Most children adopted from India end up in homes in the US, followed by Italy. Data from a reply to an RTI filed by TOI with Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) shows that 662 children were adopted by Americans between 2010 and 2013. A total of 377 children were sent to Italy, while 149 were found homes in Spain and 88 in UAE.

Statistics show that children from Maharashtra (637) are the most preferred by adoptive parents from abroad, followed by Delhi (299), West Bengal (199), Orissa (137), Karnataka (121) and Tamil Nadu (120) in the last four years.

As per CARA guidelines, the ratio of children given for in-country and inter-country adoption is 80:20. Preference is given for in-country adoption. If the child is not selected for adoption in the country, a home abroad is sought. There is no such regulation for physically challenged children. Indians are charged Rs 40,000 as processing fee, while NRIs and foreigners pay US$ 5,000 (about Rs 3 lakh).

Anjali Pawar, a child rights activist, said adoption agencies tend to favour foreigners. “There are thousands of couples across the country waiting to adopt children but the process is accelerated for parents from abroad,” she said. “They say only disabled children are placed abroad but CARA has no record of the number of physically challenged children available for adoption.”

Arun Dohle, an India born German national who found his biological mother after a 17-year legal battle, said many Indian children are put up for adoption without their parents’ consent. “My mother surrendered me to an orphanage in Maharashtra as she was unwed. A German couple had adopted me without the consent of my mother,” he said over the phone from Germany. In 2010, at the age of 37, he met his biological mother at Pune with tears. “It was very difficult to trace her because of the lack of the co-operation of adoption agencies.”

Pawar said there is a huge demand for Indian children in foreign countries. “The fertility rate has declined in most of the western world where these children are sent. Many single women there are keen to adopt. This feeds illegal adoption rackets. We cannot do anything once a child is adopted by a foreigner. There is no follow-up to check if the child is safe and being cared for,” she said.

A senior official with CARA admitted that there is a huge demand for children. ” A large number of children adopted by foreigners are disabled. Indian families rarely adopt physically challenged children so we place them abroad.”