By Sneha Gaurav
When it comes to adoption, the most important factor is doing all the work in a timely manner, be it registration or uploading documents or reserving referral, because everything has a predefined time limit, which is why, it is really important to know what to do, when to do and how to go ahead with the process. CARA website does have all the guidelines but at the same time, there are certain do’s and don’ts which only parents who adopted can share because they have first-hand experience. I make sure to educate every PAP that approaches me with these facts so that they are well informed and quite well prepared. Below are some pointers for the process of registration and post referral.
A) Before registration (Do this groundwork so that while you register, you are already ready with your preferences and choices)
- Enlist specialized adoption agencies (SAA) near your home which is registered with CARA
- Decide on which states, you want to choose.
Our criteria to choose the states were
a) Availability of legally free kids.
b) Travel time and how much leaves we would manage to get
c) Language (Because even if you choose the age group 0-2 and if you bring home a baby of age 20 months, the baby already knows certain words from the local language of where the baby is placed and it becomes little difficult to communicate initially, though babies do adapt faster)
- Visit CARA website and go through the guidelines.
- Request for a counseling session with CARA consultants (if in Delhi/ NCR, then face to face at CARA office. If out of Delhi/ NCR, then telephonic). It’s always better to take help from the authorities or from the people who are in the system because they can guide with facts. The contact details of CARA state coordinators are mentioned under the Stakeholder tab on CARA website.
- Prepare the required documents for online registration (the list of documents is given on CARA website)
- Visit the enlisted nearby SAAs to see how pro-active the staff is, which SAA is willing to do home study at your place depending upon geographical distance.
- Once, you finalize the SAA, ask them if they have any specific format for the medical certificate and if they require any extra documents other than the list mentioned by CARA.
- Think wisely about which preferences you want to choose like, age group, any specific gender or no gender preference, 3 states or all India, normal or special needs child. Since the chances to edit the profile are limited, please choose wisely because you changing the preferences also affects the seniority of other PAPs as well. (Though the referral comes based on the date of registration, the continuously changing seniority status is equally frustrating during the tiring waiting period)
- Accordingly, prepare documents and register online and upload the documents. Your registration is considered complete only after you upload all the documents. The referral comes based on your date of registration, which is why it’s very important to upload the documents along with registration with no further delay.
- Inform the SAA, which you choose for home study, about your registration and ask them when they will conduct a home study. You might need to do a little follow up here as well, depending upon the efficiency of SAA staff.
- You need to pay Rs. 6000 for home study to the SAA either in cash or DD or cheque for which you will get a receipt.
- Once the home study is done, the SAA has to upload the home study report online on CARA. This has to be done as soon as possible because only after this, will you be able to check your seniority and immediate placement list and special needs kids list.
- After this, starts your waiting period. Note down the first seniority you get to see. Utilize the waiting period to understand more about how heart families bond and the challenges and other things. Have faith and be positive during this period. Don’t fall prey to people who approach for illegal adoption.
- You can also keep checking the immediate placement list. It consists of kids from all categories together and the list doesn’t have a waitlist. You can reserve the child profile then and there.
- Do not keep checking the seniority again and again because it only increases anxiety. The ideal waiting period for the age group 0-2 is 18-24 months, provided that the states with good availability of kids are chosen.
C) Post referral (referral comes with a photo of the child, MER- Medical report, CSR- Social report)
- The time frame to reserve the referral is 48 hours. This time frame starts at 10am of the day you get the referral so be alert and quick.
- Please check the following things:
a) Is the baby legally free? (you will find this in CSR attached)
b) If yes, is the date on which baby got legally free mentioned?
c) If mandatory medical tests are conducted (check-in MER attached)
d) On which date, the tests were performed.
- If any of these details are not mentioned, contact the SAA and request them to provide the same at the earliest. If the SAA denies, contact CARA state coordinator and ask them to intervene. If they also do not cooperate, mail and tweet to WCD and Maneka Gandhi for help.
- If all these details are apt and after you reserve the referral, inform SAA the same and request them to mail the list of required documents and also request to give the date to come for acceptance, matching, foster custody formalities.
- Visit the SAA which conducted your home study and collect the original copy of HSR (Home Study Report) from them.
- The documents you require are same as you must have uploaded during registration. Extra documents are as follows:
a) Medical fitness certificate (as the validity of the previous one is 1 year, I am not sure if it has extended)
b) If salary is increased, then revised salary slip
c) ITR papers
d) 2 reference letters by distant relative/ neighbour/ friend, signed along with the photocopy of their id proofs
e) Postcard size marriage photo
- You will need to carry one set of original documents and 4 sets of photocopies (self attested) and passport size photos
- Once you visit the SAA and meet your child, you will be asked to give acceptance to go ahead. Then your documents will be checked by agency Superintendent, the committee will sit (its more or less same like home study) and then they will do matching. After this, the SAA lawyer will apply for foster custody. Once foster custody is granted, you can take the child along. You can request the SAA to mention baby’s new name in foster custody document itself. Many agencies file petition for legal custody as well in the same trip, some do that afterwards.
- After the petition is filed for the legal custody, you are informed to be present for the court hearing. During the court hearing, the judge sees how well the child has bonded with new parents and new family, the child’s medical file and vaccination chart with a new doctor, etc.
- Once the adoption decree is given, the SAA applies for the birth certificate at the local municipal corporation. Once, they get that, they send the decree and the birth certificate to the adoptive parents.
Disclaimer: I have jotted this down based on my experience and experiences from the PAPs I have been in touch with throughout. The time duration for Home Study/ HSR uploading/ Foster Custody/ Court Hearing/ Birth Certificate and even certain levels of the process may vary SAA to SAA, Judge to Judge, Municipality to Municipality. Also, please keep checking CARA website regularly for any changes in guidelines etc.
Sneha is a rebel mom, straightforward and a Facebook addict. An event manager by profession, she is a fabulous wife (quoted by husband) and perfectly imperfect super mom to her daughter. A heart-mom, she believes in spreading right and positive information about this beautiful alternate way to parenthood !!