But there is a decline in the number of adoptions by NRI couples
When Reena Singh (34, name changed), a chartered accountant and an employee of a multinational bank, lost her husband in a road accident three years ago, her wish to start a family too died. Work kept Reena busy during the day, but loneliness besieged her once she returned to her swanky apartment. Her immediate family lives in Delhi.
Reena tried coping with the loneliness by socialising with friends and colleagues, but it kept her going only for so long. A couple of years ago, she hit on the idea of adopting a child and giving her life a fresh start.
“When I thought of adopting a child, my family and in-laws were not very convinced,” said Reena. “I finally managed to convince them, but they wanted me to adopt a boy. I always thought my family was quite progressive, but their suggestions shocked me. When I first saw this little girl who struggles with a behavioural disorder, the twinkle in her big eyes attracted me. I felt like taking her home straight away. It took me about six months to convince my family that I would adopt only Devika and no one else.”
The trend of adopting an older or special child appears to be gaining ground in the country, but the change is still slow. According to the data maintained by the Adoption Scrutiny Committee, Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare, the number of special children adopted in-country in 2013-14 has gone up to four from two in the years 2011-12 and 2012-13. “This is just the first quarter of the year and we are hopeful that this number will increase further,” said an official.
Dr Aloma Lobo, adoption consultant and former chairperson of CARA (Central Adoption Resources Agency) said, “This is a welcome change, but there is still scope for improvement. In India, there is a stigma about special children. Due to lack of infrastructure, it is also expensive to raise a special child. People feel they don’t have the ability to look after differently-abled children. We need a massive change in mindset to improve the situation further.”
CHILD IS A CHILD
The change, though, is more to do with perception, said a city doctor and a mother of six children. The doctor, who did not want to be named, has three biological children, but she adopted three more, one of whom is a visually impaired girl. “When you decide to adopt a specially abled child and bring him/her home, you just take the child with you and not the disability,” said the doctor. “A child is a child. They just need love and affection. Once you get a child, you don’t see the disability anymore.”
Of her visually impaired daughter, the doctor said, “She was just two months old when she first came home. Now she is 14 and goes to an international school. With her special skills and loving nature, we never feel she suffers from a disability.”
ON THE DECLINE
Statistics available with the scrutiny committee also shows a sharp decline in inter-country (adoption by NRI or foreign couples) adoptions. In 2011-12, 52 children were adopted, but the number dropped to 17 in 2012-13. In the current year, 14 adoptions have been scrutinised till date.
Explaining the trend, Sindhu Naik, member in-charge, Adoption Scrutiny Committee, State Council for Child Welfare, Karnataka, said, “While the number of in-country adoptions of special children have gone up, the number are declining in case of inter-country adoptions. This may be due to various factors including stricter laws, change in procedure etc. Initially the entire procedure was done through agencies, now it is centralised.”
Experts are blaming closure of adoption agencies for the decline. While Ashraya, a well-known adoption agency in the city, closed down in 2012, another reputed agency is about to down due to various reasons.