If you have decided to adopt, please be warned, do not approach any nursing home, hospital, maternity home, unauthorised institution or individual for adoption. This is illegal! Through illegal adoption, you may unintentionally become part of a child trafficking network. 

So how will you adopt? Say hello to

The only legal way to adopt in in India is through the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) . CARA is a statutory body of Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India. It functions as the nodal body for adoption of Indian children and is mandated to monitor and regulate in-country and inter-country adoptions. 

Before you register, it will be a good idea to check the ‘Eligibility Criteria’ for adoption as stipulated by CARA. 

When can a Child be eligible to be adopted?

  1. As per the guidelines of the Central Government of India, any orphan, abandoned or surrendered child, declared legally free for adoption by the child welfare committee is eligible for adoption.
  2. A child is said to be an orphan when the child is without a legal parent or a guardian or the parents are not capable of taking care of the child anymore.
  3. A child is considered abandoned on being deserted or unaccompanied by parents or a guardian and the child welfare committee has declared the child to be abandoned.
  4. A surrendered child is one who has been relinquished on account of physical, social and emotional factors which are beyond the control of parents or the guardian and is so declared by the child welfare committee.
  5. In order to be adopted, a child needs to be “legally free”. On receipt of an abandoned child, the District Child Protection Unit puts up an alert with the child’s photograph and details in state-wide newspapers and request the local police to trace the parents. The child is considered legally free for adoption only after the police has given a report stating that the parents of the child are non-traceable.

What is the criteria for prospective adoptive parents?

  1. The prospective adoptive parents shall be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable and shall not have any life threatening medical condition.
  2. Any prospective adoptive parents, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has biological son or daughter, can adopt a child subject to following, namely:-
    • the consent of both the spouses for the adoption shall be required, in case of a married couple
    • a single female can adopt a child of any gender
    • a single male shall not be eligible to adopt a girl child
  1. No child shall be given in adoption to a couple unless they have at least two years of stable marital relationship.
  2. The age of prospective adoptive parents, as on the date of registration, shall be counted for deciding the eligibility and the eligibility of prospective adoptive parents to apply for children of different age groups shall be as under:- 
Age of the childMaximum composite age of prospective adoptive parents (couple)Maximum age of single prospective adoptive parent
 Upto 4 years 90 years 45 years
Above 4 and upto 8  years100 years50 years
Above 8 and upto 18 years110 years55 years
  1. In case of couple, the composite age of the prospective adoptive parents shall be counted.
  2. The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents shall not be less than twenty-five years.
  3. The age criteria for prospective adoptive parents shall not be applicable in case of relative adoptions and adoption by step-parent.
  4. Couples with three or more children shall not be considered for adoption except in case of special need children as defined in sub-regulation (21) of regulation 2, hard to place children as mentioned in regulation 50 and in case of relative adoption and adoption by step-parent.

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