THE process of adopting a child from another country can be complex, involving coordination and communication across various agencies at different levels of government both here in Canada and in the child’s country of origin. Adoptions from India in particular have been challenged leaving couples and individuals hoping to adopt frustrated by lengthy wait times and limited communication with the India Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Also, for many years India was closed to inter country adoption as they developed and implemented new adoption guidelines. Last year, CARA opened officially to accept new adoption applications and British Columbia has seen an increase in visas being granted for Indian relative children coming to Canada. These changes bring new hope and reduced wait times for eligible adoptive parents.
Both Canada and India are signatories of the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoptions. The main purpose of the convention is the protection of the best interests of adopted children, standardization of processes between countries and prevention of child trafficking. For intercountry adoptions, approval is required from the adoption authorities of the child’s country of origin and the British Columbia (BC) central adoption authority, the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD). Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) determines admissibility of the child into Canada.
The BC Adoption Act requires individuals or couples hoping to adopt a child from India, or another country to work with a BC Licensed Adoption Agency for the completion of an approved home study, preparation of the country dossier and post adoption reporting. The home study includes an educational component and is an assessment of the adoptive parent’s capacity to parent. The dossier consists of the required documents of the country of origin, such as the home study, physician’s reports and birth certificates. Countries also require post placement reports to be forwarded to the country of origin to report on the progress of the child’s adjustment to their new home. Family Services of Greater Vancouver (FSGV) Adoption Agency has been coordinating adoptions from India for over 10 years. This past year FSGV adoption staff were delighted to see a number of relative children arrive in BC to be with their new families.
India allows relative’s adoption for Persons of Indian Origin (POI) and Non Resident Indian (NRI) applicants who are residents of Canada. CARA’s Family Adoption Guidelines allow relatives’ adoptions if it is considered in the best interest of the child and if the child is within the first degree of relationship between the adoptive and biological parents. Preference is given to children below the age of 6 years; however in exceptional cases, a child older than 6 years of age can be considered for adoption with the child’s consent.
The adoptive and biological families complete the relative’s adoption in India, according to the adoption laws in India. One of the documents required for the relative’s dossier is a court order from a competent court in India. The next steps are to apply to Citizenship and Immigration Canada for sponsorship or citizenship of the adopted relative’s child and to apply to a licensed adoption agency in BC. At FSGV we ensure that BC and India’s requirements are met and that the adoptive parents’ file meets the requirements to issue the Notification of Agreement (NOA) after CARA has approved the adoption placement. The NOA is sent to the Canadian Embassy in India and CIC determines admissibility of the child into Canada.
India is currently open to families seeking to adopt an orphan declared legally free for adoption by the Child Welfare Committee of India. CARA is accepting 50 registrations per month worldwide for non-special needs children on a first-come, first serve basis. Children with special needs are also available for adoption and according to CARA’s current guidelines; prospective adoptive parents wishing to adopt special needs children shall be given top priority on the waiting list. Children with special needs include children over the age of 6, children having visible or serious mental and physical medical conditions and sibling groups. A complete list of special needs is available on the CARA website
To adopt a child from India, couples and individuals must meet the following CARA eligibility guidelines:
* Couples married for at least two years.
* Couples wishing to adopt a child under the age of three years must be between 25 and 50 years of age, with a maximum combined age of 90 years and couples wishing to adopt a child over the age of three years must be between 25 and 55 years of age, with a maximum combined age of 105 years.
* Single individuals (Only one divorce is permitted for single divorced individuals)
* Single adoptive parent should be under 45 years of age to adopt children under the age of three years and under 50 years of age to adopt children over the age of three years.
* Eligible couples and singles who have biological children can apply to adopt a child.
* Single males are not permitted to adopt a girl child.
* Couples in common-law relationships are not eligible to adopt a child.
* Couples in same gender relationships are not eligible to adopt a child.
Adoptive parents should have adequate financial resources and should be in good health and without serious physical or mental disabilities that could affect parenting.
Children available for adoption live in orphanages in India due to poverty, disease, family or personal issues. Only after exhausting all the possibilities of placing a child within India, will the Central Adoption Resource Authority of India establish that a child is available for inter country adoption.
FSGV is a private, not-for profit, CARF accredited community agency that has been serving people since 1928. FSGV Adoption Agency was first licensed by the BC government in July 1997 and has 18 years of experience in facilitating domestic, direct, interprovincial and intercountry adoptions. These last 10 years we have worked with many Indo-Canadian families facilitating relative and orphan adoptions from India.
For more information about adopting from India, call 1-866-582-3678 or visit our website, www.fsgvadoptionagency.ca.