Here I have collated answers to all the frequently asked questions on adoption process in India. This is not THE comprehensive list, but it gives a fair bit of idea about what process we went through (and are still going through) in the adoption, and our thought process behind it.
1. Why did we choose to adopt a baby?
Ans – Me and Aparna had decided even before we married, that we would have one biological child and one adopted child. Since we already had a son (who will soon turn 5 yrs), we decided to adopt a daughter.
2. What was the reaction to our decision from our respective families?
Ans – Fortunately, our families and friends were highly supportive. Our families, including my two elder sisters (Sadhana & her family and Swati), Aparna’s sister (Amruta & her family), and mine and Aparna’s parents were very supportive of us. All our efforts would be futile if not for their relentless support and love for us.
Many of our relatives and friends encouraged us during the long waiting period, and many of them told us that they were proud of us. Sometimes even we felt that we were praised a lot more than we deserved. But this support will definitely go a long way to give us strength and courage to tread over any rough patches we may face in the future.
3. Are we doing it as a social service?
Ans – No. We are doing it to satisfy our parental instincts, and to complete our family. If it helps a social cause, we are happy for it. We are also very happy to give Mugdha a good life amongst a loving family. But we do not feel we are doing anyone a favor here. And we feel anyone adopting a baby should approach the process with the same mindset.
4. Why the name Mugdha?
Ans – The name is very nice, has a pleasant sound and meaning to it. Also, as any married person can tell you, it’s near impossible to have a uniform opinion on these naming matters between any married couple, and for once, me and Aparna did agree on this name.
5. When did we start the adoption process?
Ans – Adoption is a very long process and there’s a big waiting list. We applied for adoption of baby on 20th Apr 2008, and finally got our chance in Oct 2009.
We are adopting baby via an adoption agency called SOFOSH (Society of Friends of Sassoon Hospitals)
6. Why does it take so long?
Ans – Well, there are a lot of documents for the adoption agency to verify, interviews to be conducted, government regulations to be fulfilled, and then, there’s the long waiting list.
7. What happens if the child’s biological parents come looking later?
Ans – According to Indian law, only non-identifying details of biological and adoptive parents can be shared with each other, e.g. social and economic background, religion etc. So the biological and adoptive parents do not know about each other, ever.
Once the legal adoption process is completed (which may take another six months or so), the child is given a birth certificate with the adopting parents’ names, and everyone else’s rights on the child are relinquished.
8. So, what is Mugdha’s original social background?
Ans – The social worker did disclose it to me and Aparna. But we both prefer to keep it to ourselves only, and not to share with ANY third person, no exceptions.
To us, Mugdha is our daughter from the day we saw her first, and that’s all that matters to us.
9. How did the adoption process start?
Ans – The adoption process started with a basic interview with the SOFOSH representative. We completed an application form and a whole lot of documentation including
- Health checkup certificates for me and Aparna
- Income certificates for both of us
- Character certificates for both of us
- Recommendation letters from three families for us
- An affidavit from a blood relative couple promising to take care of the adopted child in case something happens to us.
- Family photographs
- Police clearance (similar to one required in obtaining a passport)
- Answers to a big customized questionnaire asking us the about the thought process behind adoption decision, and many family related questions.
10 .What came next?
Ans – Well, after our documents were submitted and verified by SOFOSH, nothing really happened for nearly 16 months, since we were in the waiting list.
At the beginning of Sep 2009, we got a letter from SOFOSH, inviting us for a full day seminar on adoption. The seminar was scheduled on 11th Sep 09.
Many aspiring parents were invited in the seminar, which covered varied topics like legal and medical processes followed while giving babies for adoption, how do these babies land up in the adoption agency, social and family issues faced by adopting parents and children, positive parenting and child psychology etc.
The seminar was highly motivational and informational, and cleared many concerns of the aspiring parents. The best part of the seminar was visits by adopting parents and their adopted children (apart from the delicious food, of course).
During the seminar, we were pleasantly surprised to know that our turn for adoption had finally come, and we would soon be invited to select a baby.
A social worker from a government agency (http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in) contacted us next week, and invited us to their office on a weekend.
The social worker, Shubhada interviewed me and Aparna, first together, then separately, during which she asked many open ended questions about our family background, upbringing, financial position, and decision making process in the family.
A couple of weeks after the interview, SOFOSH invited us to see the baby. The complete known medical and social history of the baby was shown to us. We spent some time with the baby. It was adoration at first sight, and we decided to have her as our daughter. After a couple of additional medical tests, we conveyed our consent to the SOFOSH, and fixed the date 10th Oct 09 as the date of arrival.
11. So, is this all? Is the baby ours now completely?
Ans – The legal process is expected to go on further for at least six months. Mugdha will be in our custody for next three months, during which we are allowed to take care of her, but not make any permanent markings like body piercing and tattoos on her.
During the next three months, SOFOSH social workers will periodically visit us to make sure she is well taken care of. Simultaneous to this ‘probation period’, a petition will be submitted to the court, asking for permanent custody of Mugdha to us. After nearly 4-5 months, there will be a hearing in court, after which Mugdha will become our child. She will be given a birth certificate with me and Aparna mentioned as her parents.
12. What happens when she grows up? Are we going to tell her she is adopted?
Ans – Absolutely! It’s better for her and us that she knows the reality about her from her parents rather than strangers. In our counseling sessions, we were specifically told how this delicate subject should be handled without hurting anyone’s sentiments. We are sure we will be the best parents for her, and she will understand.
13. How should one contact SOFOSH in case they want to adopt?
Ans – You may contact SOFOSH on the following address / phone number
Society of Friends of Sasoon Hospitals
Room # 87, Sasoon Hospital
Pune 411052, Maharashtra, India
Phone : +91-20-26124660