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Adoption- The beginning of a life-long relationship and indeed a wonderful experience. For the abandoned and destitute child it is the most suitable mode of rehabilitation. A child is God's greatest gift to a family. The presence of a child in a home is very precious and reminds us that we are created to love and be loved. There are many children who are deprived of the love of their natural parent and a healthy environment for their growth and development. The orphaned child and the infertile couple, both long for each other and it is through adoption that both their needs can be fulfilled.
Are You Prepared For Adoption ?
Once you have decided, start afresh by reading books on adoption or access to the Internet might also help. Keep in mind all the laws that are related to adoption. The couple is generally advised to go in for counseling, seminars, workshops that might help them in their decision to adopt. There are many questions you should ask yourself before adopting. For e.g.: - Do you have the potential to accept someone who is not your blood? Do you have the capacity to answer questions put forward by friends and relatives? Are you prepared for a life long commitment? If you get a satisfactory answer to all these questions, then start preparing for the entry of a new member. Get all the possible relevant information and background of the biological parent i.e., if the information is available.

Adoption involves lots of paper work and documents that are to be submitted by the couple to the Adoption Agency. The social workers involved come in for regular home visits. This takes a very long time, sometimes prolongs to three to six months. These are the few steps to be remembered or looked into by the couple :

1.) CHILD WELFARE AGENCY : To know more about adoption and its procedures the couples involved should take help from any of the child welfare agency.

2.) REGISTRATION : After getting all the relevant information it is very important that the couple register in the agency they are comfortable with. To avoid confusion it is necessary to register in only one agency of your choice.

3.) DOCUMENTS : In the process of adoption there are many formalities to be completed. Therefore the documents should be carefully studied.

4.) HOME VISITS BY SOCIAL WORKERS : The social workers after confirming an appointment at a convenient date and time come in for home visits and interviews as a pre-adoption counseling. During their visit, the couple should clarify all their fears and doubts they may have in their minds.

5.) PATIENCE : The agency concerned would then locate a suitable child for you which might take as long as six months or more. This process is a like a waiting period and requires a lot of patience.

6.) CHOSEN ONE : After a long wait, arrangements are made by the social workers for you to see the child chosen for you.

7.) MEDICAL CHECKUP : To reassure the child's health the adoptive parents should go in for a complete medical examination.

8.) FORMALITIES : Before the child could be taken home the lawyer hired would help you submit all the important papers in the court.

9.) LEGALISATION : You will be assisted with all the formalities required in the court by the social worker.

10.) COURT DECREE : After the court decree the adoption procedure is complete and all the important papers and documents will be given to you by the lawyer.

11.) AGENCY'S RULES : Even after such a long process the social workers will continue their visits as per Agency rules.

For completion of the adoption procedure, various documents are required to be submitted by the couple. They are listed below :

1. The proof of age or birth certificate.

2. The certificate of marriage.

3. The couple's property statement that includes bank references.

4. Salary Certificate or Income Tax Return Papers.

5. The couple's photograph.

6. The couple requires three reference letters to be recognized as the adoptive parents.

7. For recommending the prospective adoptive parents for adoption requires their medical certificate.

8. In case, the adoptive mother is working a letter is required stating alternate childcare arrangements.

Adoption has no uniform law in India, but there are some legislation related to adoption that is divided into two categories:

1. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956

2. The Guardians and Wards Act 1890

1. Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act 1956.

Only Hindus can take advantage of this act as personal law governs it.

a) To any person who is a Hindu inclusive of Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism this act is applicable.

b) This Act does not apply to those who are Muslims, Christians, Parsis, or Jews by religion.

c) The Act also applies to the child whose biological parents is not known or have abandoned the child and has been brought up as Hindu, Buddhist, Jain or Sikh.

d) The Hindu female who is not a minor and not married but is of sound mind can adopt. She cannot be a joint petitioner with her husband but can only be a consenting party in the child's adoption.

e) A Hindu male who is not a minor and is of sound mind can adopt.

f) A Male Hindu can adopt only by the consent of his wife, unless and until she has given up Hinduism or is of unsound mind.

g) The Adoptive parents should not have a child who has been adopted or a child of their own or a grandchild at the time of adoption.
h) A valid Adoption cannot be changed or cancelled.

i) All the rights of the biological parents should be replaced to the adoptive parents.

j) A valid adoption is the one in which the person giving and the person taking the child sign the Adoption Documents.

k) If the adopter and the adoptee are of the opposite sex then the age difference between them should be at least 21 years.

l) Only the child's parents or guardian can give the child in adoption.

m) Nobody should be awarded or paid in relation to adoption.

2. The Guardians and Wards Act 1890 Under this act, people belonging to communities such as Muslim, Christian, Parsi or Jews and who wish to adopt can only take up "Guardianship" of the child. This child, like the biological child would not be provided with the same status.