India’s domestic adoption policy is getting an update, but not everyone is happy about it. Contention swirls around the amendment, passed this summer, which states that “any prospective adoptive parent, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has his own biological son or daughter, can adopt a child.”
In mid-October, Missionaries of Charity, the Roman Catholic order founded by Mother Teresa, announced its decision to cease all adoptions through its group. The Times of India reports the nuns are seeking de-recognition for 13 of their 16 orphanages across the nation.
The nuns believe in the value of a traditional, two-parent home and say the government’s adoption amendment defies their Christian beliefs: “We have already shut down our adoption services because we believe our children may not receive real love,” said Sister Amala, who works at a Missionaries of Charity orphanage in New Delhi.
“We do not wish to give children to single parents or divorced people,” she added. “It is not a religious rule but a human rule.”
Although it will no longer facilitate adoptions, the organization will continue to care for unclaimed children, including those with special needs, Sunita Kumar, a spokeswoman for the group, said Monday.
An Indian government official accused the religious order of insubordination cloaked as a moral dispute.
“They have cited ideological issues with our adoption guidelines related to giving up a child for adoption to single, unwed mothers,” said Maneka Gandhi, India’s women and child development minister. “They have their own agenda, and now when they have to come under a unified secular agenda, they are refusing it.”
In August, India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) reviewed its guidelines in an effort to make in-country adoptions more transparent. In addition to the disputed single-parent provision, the new guidelines require all prospective parents to register with the national adoption agency.
Until recently, the subcontinent’s adoption process has been a legal nightmare, strangled in bureaucratic tape and often taking years to complete. Frustrated by the lengthy wait, some families began to opt for babies from China. The absence of a national monitoring system also contributed to the swell of black-market adoptions and a thriving child trafficking network. In India, it is easy to find and smuggle abandoned children.
Meanwhile, international adoptions from India have steadily declined, with the government seeking to give priority to families in the country. In March, India’s parliament stoutly rejected a legislative proposal that would have given foreign adoptions a boost.
“Inter-country adoption may be resorted to only in cases where there is a problem in finding suitable prospective adoptive parents” in India, lawmakers said in a statement issued by the Parliamentary Standing Committee.
India has no official count of orphaned children available for adoption, but some rights groups estimate the number at close to 30 million.
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
Publication date: October 19, 2015