‘US couple didn’t tend to adopted kid’

Date: 2010-02-06

Five years after the Bombay high court granted the guardianship of two abandoned minors to a US couple, it revoked its order in case of the older child observing that the couple had failed to fulfill their responsibility towards the child.

Mita (name changed), now 14, was found abandoned at the Grant Road station along with her younger sister. As the children had no claimants, they were both declared free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee. Subsequently, they were adopted by Wilbur and Jennifer Baker from Massachusetts, USA, with the high court’s sanction in April 2006.

However, the court was informed that the couple had to send the child to a psychiatric care institution in the US, as she faced adjustment disorder, attention deficit, depressive condition and hyperactivity. The court was told when the couple refused to take her back home from the hospital, the American adoption agency Wide Horizons for Children (WHC) tried to place the child with another family but she was subsequently repatriated to India.

Justice DY Chandrachud observed, “The Bakers have failed to perform their duties as a result of which Mita was repatriated.” The court then revoked the order of guardianship granted in their favour citing the abuse of the trust reposed in them.

Mita had been lodged at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences in Bangalore since August 2008 after her repatriation. The court has now handed over her guardianship, protem to the director of the Family Service Centre and permitted them to shift her to Aarushi, a care centre in Gurgaon.

The court also directed Jagannath Pati of the Central Adoption
Regulatory Authority to take into account the suggestions put forth by the federation of adoption agencies and finalise the guidelines for foreign adoptions by March 26. The draft guidelines had suggested the generation of a safety fund for repatriated children from failed foreign adoptions.

The court has sought progress reports of Mita’s sister also adopted by the bakers and bi-annual progress reports of Mita from her guardians.

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