If your profile matches the criteria, you are ready to proceed.
In a nutshell, the next steps are as follows. Have shared this to give you a heads up so you know what to expect. I will write in detail about each of the steps later on. To make it simpler, I have divided the process into 2 parts.
So here goes:
- Register online with CARA. Fill the form with all the information asked
- Find the specialised adoption agency closest to your house. This is important since you need to write their name in the registration form.
- Login to your account and upload the documents asked.
- Submit the physical copies of your document to the specialised adoption agency you have selected. You will also have to pay the fee of Rs 6000 (as of the year 2019) as stipulated by CARA (DD from a nationalised bank).
- Fill a questionnaire regarding your personal family profile, home description, attitude towards adoption as part of Annexure 1 of the ‘home study report’.
- A social worker from the local adoption agency you have registered with will visit your home to complete Annexure 2 of the ‘Home Study Report’ (HSR). They will personally assess your family living conditions and attitude to see if it is suitable for raising a child. You will not get to see this document as it is confidential.
- Annexure 1 and 2 of the home study report will be uploaded by the specialised adoption agency . It is at this point your profile will formally get into the queue. You will be able to track your progress in your CARA account.
Once you are in the queue, be ready to wait patiently. I have gone through this myself and it is easier said than done. Remember, it will take approximately 2 years to get matched with a child especially in the category of girl child of 0-2 age band. This is because of the increase in the number of parents in India who want to adopt a baby girl in the youngest age band today. Sometimes the waiting could be more than two years as well! If you have opted to adopt siblings, children of an older age group or children in immediate placement, your waiting will get reduced drastically.
I utilised those 2 years to travel extensively with my husband and do a bucket list of things that may not be possible to do in the initial years of taking care of a child . And time really flies ! 🙂
- Child referral and matching- The wait has finally ended! You will receive a mail from CARA that you have been matched with a child ready for adoption. A picture of the child along with physical examination and medical certificate will be shared in the mail. You will be give 2 days to ‘RESERVE’ this baby. Call up the adoption agency where the baby is at and find out how to get there and what all you need to carry. They will give you a list of documents that you will have to get notarized copies of and bring along.
- Meeting the child: Once the child has been reserved, you have 14 days to go to the adoption agency and meet the baby. With the permission of the adoption agency, you can take him/her to a hospital of your choice in the vicinity and get all the critical medical tests done for your satisfaction.
- Accepting the child and pre adoption foster care: You will have to sign a document saying that you are committing to be foster parents for the child. You can take your baby home now. Now begins your life as foster parents.
- The adoption agency will file a petition on your behalf. You will need to sign on the petition documents. Make sure that they have got all the spellings of your personal details right. It’s a good idea to be ready with a name for your baby incase you plan to change from what they have been calling her. The new name can then be included in the petition. All necessary documents are submitted to a lawyer by the adoption agency, who prepares a petition to be presented to the court.
- Scrutiny : After 2 to 4 months, you will be called to the Women and Child welfare office for the ‘scutiny’ to check the progress of the child. They will want a written progress report from you, a family photograph and a copy of the child’s immunization card. The objective is to check if you are taking good care of the child.
- Court hearing: This generally happens within a month of the scrutiny. A petition will be filed at the court from where the adoption agency of the baby is located. This will be initiated by the adoption agency who will hire a lawyer and get the formalities done. Once the court gives the date, you, your spouse and the baby have to attend the hearing. The hearing is held in a closed room with a judge.You will also have to submit notarised copies/ originals of pan, adhaar and marriage certificate to the court.
- Adoption decree and Birth certificate: : After a month, the court will declare that from now on you are the legal parents of your baby. The adoption agency of the baby will get the birth certificate made and courier it to your address. This could take a couple of weeks after receiving the adopt decree.
- Follow up : After the completion of adoption, the adoption agency has to submit a progress report indicating the well being of of the child every six months for 2 years to CARA
You need to be familiar with these terms below since you will keep hearing them
CARA : Central Adoption Resource Authority
SAA : Specialised Adoption Agency
PAP : Prospective Adoptive Parent (that’s you!)
HSR : Home Study Report
If this seems like a lot, like I said, I will share details on every step so that there is no confusion. Just hang in there!