Adoptive parents unhappy with long wait over paperwork
by Pupul Chatterjee
“We have not adopted her, our princess has adopted us,” said Rajendra Kelkar, a doting father attending the interactive meet of adoptive and prospective adoptive parents and the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), an autonomous body under the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
In 1993, Kelkar and his wife adopted their first child and now they’re in the process of bringing a second one home. However, an issue that the Kelkars and most other couples raised at the meet was the time the authorities take to process the application forms for adoption, especially the clearance certificate from the local police station.
This and many other problems were discussed by adoptive and prospective adoptive couples with representatives of CARA, the Adoption Cell of Maharashtra state and many non-government agencies working with adoption related cases.
Prashant Deshpande, another parent attending the meet, said, “The waiting period after filing an application is more than a year which is more than the natural pregnancy period. This makes many parents impatient and finally they end up going to unregistered adoption agencies that at times turn out to be involved in illegal activities.”
Another mother, who did not wish to be named, said, “In our case even after everything was finalised, our child had to stay at the orphanage for 11 months. When we finally brought our child home, she weighed only six kgs and was too weak to walk. All this while we could see that she was in pain. But we were feeling helpless as the authorities would not allow us to take her home without all the documents being cleared.”
“We want more inputs from parents as now we’re in the process of revising our guidelines. Adoptive mothers get four-and-a-half-month maternity leave. After repeated requests from parents, we are negotiating with the Central government for paternity leave for fathers as well. In the case of mothers also we are trying to get leaves not just for those who adopt infants, but for children of all ages as both parents and kids need to spend some time with each other in order to adjust to a new environment,” said an official from CARA.