Monday, 30th October 2017

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Exemption to adoption rules

Maneka push for 'human' touch

By Ananya Sengupta
  • Published 28.12.15
Maneka Gandhi

New Delhi, Dec. 27: Prospective adoptive parents who have lost their own child to sickness or accidents will be among those exempt from some key provisions of the Centre's new adoption guidelines.

The exemptions are part of a seven-point relaxation the Central Adoption Resource Agency (Cara) has offered to help such parents and adoptive children who may face hardships or irreparable damage because of long waiting periods.

The relief could come in the form of age relaxations or speeding up the process by pushing some categories of prospective parents up the adoption waitinglist.

Women and child development minister Maneka Gandhi mooted the relaxations after several prospective parents wrote to her about problems under the new guidelines notified by her ministry in August to streamline the process, sources said.

"She (Maneka) has herself listed some of the concerns, instructed us to deal with them as 'human issues' and make exemptions on a case-by-case basis for certain categories of prospective parents and children," said a senior official of Cara.

A December 8 circular of Cara - the nodal body for adoptions - has listed the seven categories of prospective parents for relaxations, including those willing to adopt a child with special needs or a sick child and children above 5 years with siblings. Such applicants will get exemption from the age criteria. A committee headed by the Cara chairperson will consider the requests.

Under the new guidelines, the age criterion of prospective parents is linked to the age of the child they wish to take home. If a prospective parent wants to adopt a child below four, the maximum age for him\her is 45. It is 50 for adopting a child between 4 and 8 years of age and 55 for older children, between 8 and 18 years.

Cara has said any prospective parent who has lost a child to a "known cause like sickness or accidents, and not through neglect", would be given priority if the case is determined to be genuine.

The sources indicated that Maneka had received letters from many prospective parents who, having lost their only child, were so desperate to adopt that their well-being depended on it. The relaxations will put a "human face" and hasten the process, the sources said. The new guidelines cap the time frame for adoption at four months.

Cara has also said it will refer prospective parents to those children who have not been adopted even after 10 referrals, if they match the age criterion, and relax the norms for parents who are scheduled to go abroad on long-term assignments and have to finish the process within a specific time.

But some others not covered by the relaxations have termed the move "discriminatory" and said it would mess up the waiting list.

"As it is, the waiting list is a big mystery for parents. One doesn't know who is where. Now, if such categories are created and they arbitrarily are moved around on the list , it will lead to discrimination and mess up the list," said single mother Jyoti Swaroop Gupta, whose son is now nine. She had adopted when the kid was three.

"I can understand the sentiments of a parent who has lost a child, but if someone wants to go abroad and hurry his adoption process for that reason, why should others on the list suffer?" Jyoti asked.