Agencies need to check on kids adopted by foreigners: High court
Mayura Janwalkar / DNA
Mumbai: In order to ensure the safety of children adopted by foreigners, the Bombay high court recently fixed the responsibility of following up on an adopted child’s well-being, on the Indian agency that processes the foreign adoption.
Granting a Danish couple, Carsten and Kirsten Friis, the guardianship of a three-year-old girl child from the Bal Vikas Shishu Welfare Trust in Malad, Justice Abhay Oka said that in cases of foreign adoptions, the courts sought an undertaking and a security bond with the prothonotary of the high court from the adoptive parents even earlier. Although, Justice Oka said, the objective behind seeking such bonds or progress reports from the parents was to ensure that the child is treated well, it was “impossible” to enforce them in cases of foreign nationals.
The court therefore suggested that this responsibility be vested with the Indian agency processing the adoption. “The undertaking (of the Indian adoption agency) should be to submit post-placement reports as regards the progress of the minors to this court as also to the Central Adoption Resource Authority.”
The step taken by the court may put a stop to cases like that of Jennifer Haynes who landed in India 20 years after her adoption in 1989 owing to incomplete adoption formalities. Haynes, who is seeking the deregistration of her adoption agency through a separate petition in the high court, had also stated that she changed 50 foster homes and was repeatedly abused as a child.
The Indian adoption agency will now have to submit quarterly reports to the court in the first year after the child is adopted, and half-yearly reports the year after that. The agency will also have to inform the court in case of any disruption in the adoption and take steps towards alternative rehabilitation of the child, the court said.
“It is advisable to take such undertaking in each case while passing orders…..to ensure that the progress reports of the child are submitted to this court and to ensure that the agency moves this court immediately in case of disruption or break down in case of the adopted minor,” Justice Oka said in his order.
In the meanwhile, in another case where a 14-year-old adopted girl was repatriated from USA after developing behavioural problems, Justice DY Chandrachud is in process of framing guidelines to ensure the safety of repatriated children.
The draft guidelines include the generation of a safety endowment fund wherein foreign adoptive parents will have to pay $500 more while adopting Indian children and roping in Indian embassies abroad to check the progress of Indian children adopted by foreign families.
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