Deciding on Adoption
Deciding to adopt a child is a very personal decision that includes many choices that can overwhelm a family. It is a challenging process, with long delays and uncertainties. Below are a few pointers for inter-country adoption from India that you may want to consider as you are making your decision.
Who can adopt from India
- U.S. citizens (at least one applicant)
- Couples married at least two years
- Applicants whose previous adoptions (if applicable) were finalized
- Applicants 25–54 years of age (those over 43 years old should expect to adopt an older child)
- Single women and men 25–49 years of age who are open to a child who has moderate to significant medical needs. For details, see the classification of special needs document.
- Single men may only adopt boys
- Families with no more than three children
- Applicants who are medically healthy and financially stable
- NRI/OCI applicants can adopt a relative’s child
- Currently the Indian government only accepts applications from heterosexual applicants
Expect the adoption process to take a long time (anywhere from one to three years) and you will need to be patient throughout the process. While things have improved over the last few years, it is a complex process, imperfect and changes often. The best thing you can do throughout your adoption journey is to diligently complete your documentation and make decisions in a timely manner. During the wait, keep a close check on the progress and when you notice something is not right or is taking too long, work with your agency, Central Resource Adoption Authority(CARA) and the orphanage to follow-up, escalate and get resolutions as quickly as possible.
Do your research
There are a lot of decisions you need to make throughout the process such as choosing an approved agency, specifying the criteria for your child, selecting your child from the referrals provided, deciding the type of medical exams you need to conduct, deciding if you can foster your child in India, etc. These can all be very confusing and stressful, especially since you will almost always have incomplete or imperfect information. You will have to make many decisions based on your emotions and instincts. The best thing you can do is to research and educate yourself on the various aspects of the process. There are many resources you can tap into, such as your adoption agency, adoptive parenting workshops and other adoptive families.
Carefully weigh your decisions
While most families wish to adopt a healthy child, you need to understand that many children available through adoption are likely to have minor to major health challenges. It’s important to think honestly about the types of health and emotional issues your family can handle. There is no reason to feel guilty about your choices – these are personal and difficult decisions that have long-term consequences. And it’s key that adoptive parents make these decisions after careful deliberation.
Join communities and build relationships
No matter how much research you do, it will never be enough simply because every child’s situation is unique. However, you can gain a lot of insight by speaking with other adoptive parents that may have gone through similar situations. Below is a list of some popular adoption communities and groups that may be helpful:
Resources and Groups:
- Factors to consider regarding adoption – Comprehensive guide compiled by an adoption agency on factors to consider when deciding to adopt
- Adoption articles and books – Relevant articles and book recommendations
- Official CARA guidelines for inter-country adoption from India – Adoption Procedure For Non-Resident Indians, Overseas Citizens Of India And Foreign Prospective Adoptive Parents
- Deciding on Domestic vs. International Adoption – A good outline compiled by an adoption agency on the differences between domestic and international adoption.
- India Adoption Information Interest Group – This is a closed Facebook group for people beginning the process to adopt a child from India. In March 2019, there were more than 1100 members. Once you have completed the home study process, please check out another closed Facebook group, India Adoption, which deals with various issues about the process up until you bring your child home.
- iChild Yahoo Group – This is an active Yahoo group with about 3000 members – almost all are either adoptive families and those in process. Yahoo account required to join.
- San Francisco Bay Area iChild Group – A San Francisco-Bay Area Yahoo group of adoptive families and those in process. Currently has about 300 members. Yahoo account required to join.