Increasing Adoption

Children need a family with whom they can bond. Children need daily guidance and love that take time, commitment, and maturity. Adoption is a good way to meet the fundamental needs of children who need a family. Growing up in a loving and happy family is the best possible outcome for an orphaned child as he gets individual attention and resources which are not available to him otherwise.

There are less than 5000 legal adoptions in our country. In a country with over 20 million orphans, this number is ridiculously small. Adoption is by far the best outcome for an orphaned child – much better than life in institutionalized care. It is a win-win for the Adoptive parents as well and there are enough parents willing to adopt a child.



Our Work

If we look back in our lives, the most important blessing for all of us has been our family. The love, the caring, the nurturing that a family provides is priceless and irreplaceable by any institutional mechanism. Growing up in a loving and happy family is the best possible outcome for an orphaned child. It is for this reason that we believe that Adoption for a child is preferable to growing up in an orphanage as a strategy for rehabilitation.

There are less than 5000 legal adoptions in our country. In a country with over 20 million orphans, this number is ridiculously small. Unfortunately, instead of the adoption numbers growing, they have been declining. .

Year In-country Adoption Inter-country Adoption
Jan’11 – March’12 5964 629
April 12 – March 13 4694 308
April’13 - March’14 3924 430
April 14 – March 15 3988 374
April 15 – March 16 3011 666

* Source: CARA website



The biggest reason for low adoption numbers is shortage of children available with the adoption agencies. The number of registered adoptive parents is more than 10,000 while on CARA's (Central Adoption Resource Authority) website, the children available for adoption are only about 1500. Thus, there are enough parents wishing to adopt and not enough children available in the adoption stream.

In our work with orphanages, we have noticed many young children without any parental contact or whose parents' where abouts are not known. On a case to case basis, we have facilitated movement ofsuch children into adoption and they have been placed with families. This has happened to 50+ children and is one of the most fulfilling and joyful outcomes from our work,because for these children, their life has been completely transformed on a permanent basis.

Our research over 190 orphanages having 11190 children has revealed that approx 8% of children have no parental/family contact and thus could be made legally free for adoption. Another 8% could also potentially be made legally free after a proper social investigation. Thus, if this exercise was done methodically across the country, at least 50,000 children could be brought into adoption stream. Further, if the principle of adoption as a preferred method is put in practice, we believe that atleast 5,000 children every year could be entering adoption stream instead of languishing in orphanages.

We are therefore working on several pilots involving the concerned government officials such as CWC (Child Welfare Committee) and WCD (Women and Child Development Department)/ DCPO (District Child Protection Officer). We do a systemic investigation into the parental status of all children in orphanages and provide the documentation required to get them declared as legally free for adoption. The results are very encouraging (see outcome on pilot project).

There are many other reasons for low adoption rates -low awareness,parents'preference for very young children, lengthy and cumbersome processes and inadequate support for Adoptive parents. Towards these, CSA carries out sensitization programs for doctors, police, Anganwadi workers, NGO's, judiciary etc. CSA also operates an Adoption Helpline to help prospective parents understand the adoption process and regulations. We also do workshops for Adoptive Parents to support their post adoption challenges and questions.



Our Impact

In a pilot project done in cooperation with the government authorities, CSA studied the parental contact status of every child living in 21 orphanages in Kalahandi District, Odisha. The key findings were as below:

  Data collected from 835 children

  115 children had either no parental contact or parental whereabouts were not known

  39 children required social investigation on parental contact

After investigation, case files of 99 children were given to CWC.

CWC decided that adoption was a preferred option for 74 children.

As of date, process has been completed for 44 children and data loaded into CARINGS.

This pilot is a FIRST in the country.

We have continued to collect data from orphanages across Odisha, Goa, MP and Maharashtra. So far out of 11190 cases investigated, 1751 (15.6%) are either irregular or without parental contact.

Adoption should be encouraged and every child should be evaluated for adoption eligibility, so that children should not lose their precious years in orphanages while they could have been adopted.

Success Stories

Adoption is a beautiful gift that a family can give to a child in need of a home. Prospective adoptive parents want to provide a child with a loving home and family. This includes everything that makes a home a loving place to be and a family that is an accepting group. This desire includes the exchange of family traditions, the sharing of faith, and of memory making moments.

CSA believes that the best form of rehabilitation for an orphaned child is Adoption into a family. We feel honored and privileged to be able to connect so many desirous adoptive parents with children waiting to be adopted.

A few heart-warming testimonials of parents who have adopted beautiful children over the years.

 

Every Little Thing She Does is Magic!


This is baby Deepika’s * story who was adopted by Vijay and Preeti* when she was 5 months old from Maharashtra in March 2015.

See this picture of happiness here, it is the success story of one of CSA’s proudest achievements, the adoption of beautiful baby Deepika* by loving and adoring parents Vijay* and Preeti*. Everything went almost perfectly, just like ‘magic’; the connection was instant, the love was easily forth-coming and the baby was cradled in their arms in less than 20 days. Certainly a happy ending, although, we’d like to take you back to beginning of March of 2015, at the start of this story and I ask you to imagine baby Deepika being erased from the picture. Why? Because like all good stories, there were hurdles along the way. Vijay and Preeti had tried to conceive naturally, however, there were complications along the way that persisted for years. With a strong desire in their heart for a child, they contemplated adoption, but didn’t dare broach the subject with their family due to the questions that surrounded adoption.

Eventually, after witnessing the pair’s battle to become parents, their mother proclaimed; “enough of these treatments and pain” and she encouraged them to adopt. Though given the green light, parenthood is never that easy, and it certainly shouldn’t be taken that lightly, and Vijay felt the same, and was embroiled by concerns on whether or not the baby would “adjust to accept us as parents” and if he could do the child ‘justice’ as a parent. Although Vijay wanted to be a father so strongly, a part in his heart was hesitant; “my fear was more for her, because if I could not give the love that she deserves, then that would be unfair to her”. Vijay was essentially scared that a bond would not develop. Vijay’s anxieties and fears were shared by his father and father-in-law and to add fuel to the fire, the uncertainty surrounding adoption was also playing on Vijay’s mind.

On the other hand, there was Preeti, who had nothing but confidence. In the lead up to starting the adoption application, the pair sought advice and support from colleagues and friends. Some had seen their persistent desire for a child, others had gone through adoption themselves and Vijay recalled some advice that had been given to them. “A friend said ‘don’t worry about it, the connection will happen’, and I caught those words and it really helped me!” Amidst the uncertainty surrounding adoption and his fears and anxieties, the determination to love and care for a child prevailed and they started the adoption process in early March, 2015. CSA linked them with an adoption agency (Child Care Institute) in rural Maharashtra, over 1000 kilometres from their home in Mumbai and within mere weeks, baby Deepika was in their arms.

When asking Vijay about his apprehension about adoption, he graciously gave an honest account, however, he always quickly followed by recounting the absolute love and joy that Deepika brought into their lives. In fact, the pair feel that baby Deepika’s arrival in their lives is like fate; “there must be some relation in past life as it feels like she [Deepika] has been there forever”. Whilst Preeti is bouncing her baby girl up-and-down in her arms, they recall taking Deepika back home from the orphanage: “we went to her place, which is on the outskirts of Maharashtra, and, we were sitting in their office waiting for her, and my mum was with me, and she said “baby, let’s go home” and she [Deepika] smiled and we felt that she was waiting for us, and we can’t forget that smile till today”.

Talking to Vijay and Preeti, it is clear that there are many challenges facing all parents, especially those who adopt - “Adoptive parents need tremendous family support, at least in India, it is very, very important” said Vijay. Luckily for the pair, their family love and adore Deepika since the very first moment they laid eyes on her. Vijay has urged that this parting message be given to parents considering adoption: “Having your own child is always a blessing, but adoption, I would say, is nothing less than that, and from my personal experience, I would say that fear, anxieties, everything like that goes away on the very first day”.

Vijay and Preeti were interviewed by CSA interns Ms. Brittney Ihrig and Ms. Rose Botros (from the Western Sydney University, Australia)

*Names changed to protect identity of parents and child

 


Daughter by Law!


Adarsh & Karuna Kochar adopted Nayraa who was 4 months old at that time.

I grew into an atheist, until the first night she fell asleep in my lap and as i admired her peaceful angelic face, my heart whispered a silent prayer.

Nayraa Adarsh Kochar, our daughter. Nayraa is a special baby, she wasn’t conceived in my womb like most babies, she was conceived in my heart and no doctor had to pull or slit her out of that special warm place which was where she was born and where she shall forever stay.

Nayraa is an adopted child.

No, it’s not what you’re thinking. Adarsh (my husband) and I are perfectly normal and of sound physical and mental health. We have no complications and we are fully capable of having our biological babies. It wasn’t laziness or the time constraint either. Adoption wasn’t our last resort to start our family, it was infact our first choice. Some couples decide to go through pregnancy in order to bring a child into their lives, we chose to go through some legal formalities to welcome a child who was already in this world, into our life.

I still remember the first day when we arrived at the adoption centre we asked to wait while they brought us the baby. In those 9 odd minutes of wait I probably emotionally went through every stomach churn one experiences during pregnancy and labour. The nervousness and the excitement of finally having a dream come true was so strong, it took me all effort to keep calm and behave human. There is indeed no feeling like the anticipation of holding your child in your arms, whether born to you or not. That bundle of joy will always be a bundle of joy!

While my mind tried to collate all these different emotions I saw a nurse walk down with a bundle of shawl in her arms. There she was – my doll. She was dressed in a pink and white sweater with a matching cap and knitted booties. One could tell from the attire that this very outfit had dressed many kids for their special day too. I took a moment before I stepped forward and embraced her in my arms.

She was all but of 4 months. Tiny little bundle, tiny fingers and a small round face. Her eyes though were big and curious. They sparkled even in the dimply lit office and looked straight into my eyes to have a conversation of their own. I knew from the instant I saw her that her name must do justice to how beautifully expressive her eyes are and a day later we named her Nayraa – the girl with big eyes.

So here she was in my arms, staring back confused at this woman who couldn’t stop crying out of sheer joy. After years of dreaming about holding my child, here she was all real and much more precious than my mind could ever phantom. A few seconds later as though she understood what I felt, she reached out her little palm from her shawl and held on to my finger with a tight assuring grip. In that one moment of touch I felt the bond of a hundred umbilical. Her beautiful pouted smile right between her 2 dimpled cheeks was the icing on the cake moment for me. I don’t remember how long I stood there and stared at her right in the centre of the room, but I do know had I been an artist could replicate every detail of that moment by memory alone.

I was distracted only to witness the tears of the To Be Dad who was standing right beside me and awaiting his turn with his little angel. This was the impact of a girl who was just 4 months, weighed about 4 kilos and had no connection with us what so ever till that moment she saw us. In those few minutes we grew from just being a couple who were here to see her to being parents of this wonderful girl we will protect and love for the rest of our lives.

I am not a scientist, I don’t understand the concept of genes, blood line or blood groups as deeply like most other people probably do. All I know is my child who wasn’t born to me is 10 months today and she has wonderfully accepted and adopted us as her parents. She loves to laugh and play with us, she is comforted with our presence and misses us dearly if we aren’t around her. She looks so much like us these days that when people find the similarity we feel super proud.

I haven’t had the honour of carrying her in my womb for 9 months, but she can recognise my voice from miles away. I can’t breast feed her but that doesn’t stop her from clinging to my chest every time she’s hungry. She didn’t live close to my heart inside my body but today she falls asleep listening to the sound of my heart, to her my heart beat is the lullaby. I didn’t go through labour pain but every time she cries I know exactly what she needs to feel better. She doesn’t share our blood group but she still calls me Mama and her dad Papa, like she will for the rest of our lives.

I may not understand the importance of a family legacy but what I do know is that this day when she wakes up crying and frightened by a bad dream my cuddle comforts her. In a pitch dark room where she can’t see my face, she senses my feel and knows it’s me. A nice warm cuddle later one can slowly hear her crying become small sobs followed by a little silence when she rests her head on my chest and then a curtain raiser of giggles, smiles and laughter.

No blood group can stop us from being happy parents with a happy child! She fills our life with so much joy, laughter and love. She is the reason we wake up each day with the hope of waking up forever more to watch her grow and love her each day a little more!

We did not adopt Nayraa so we could give her a family, infact this child of God not born to us is the reason we are a family today!

Open your hearts and watch how a child can open your lives to everything wonderful!

 


Daughter by Heart Not Birth


Vishpala & Neelesh Hundekari adopted Radha when she was 3and half years old

Vishpala’s family would regularly visit orphanages & donate things that were required. Vishpala, as a result, would regularly interact with orphan children and also pamper them. From then on, she had a deep desire to adopt a child.

Years later, she got married and told her husband, Neelesh, about her wish to adopt a child. They had two biological children—first Pavi and then Shanyu and yet Vishpala wanted to adopt a child. Neelesh was not sure if they could bring up another family member, however, Vishpala was persistent and eventually convinced Neelesh that they adopt a child.

Since they already had two biological children of both genders, the Government doesn’t permit adoption of a healthy child. They could adopt a child with some health problem who are generally put up for international adoption.

After a few months, they met Radha who was around two years old & was a carrier of sickle cell disease. They fell in love with her at first sight & thus, began the adoption journey. The entire process took six or seven months & finally they were able to take Radha home. Radha was unable to communicate properly at that time. Neelesh encouraged his biological children kids to teach Radha English. Radha easily took to her elder siblings and in a year’s time started speaking Hindi and English as well. Today, the family has grown to be a close knit family.

Radha is growing up well & loves to dance. Vishpala & Radha did a dance performance at CSA’s Annual Charity Fundraiser in 2015! The family loves spending time together. They enjoy sailing, going on vacations and a whole lot of other things.