India not large-hearted when it comes to adopting special children

Foreign, Indian couples living abroad are willing to adopt special kids.

India’s obsession with a fair and a ‘perfectly tailored’ child seems to be never-ending. Most couples in the country prefer waiting to get a child of their choice, instead of adopting children with special needs.

In contrast, aboard, local as well as Indian couples settled there, are ready to adopt such children without any hesitation.

Special needs children include those with weak organs, carrying the HIV, having hepatitis and suffering from Thalassemia, which requires frequent blood transfusion.

Mumbai records obtained from the Federation of Adoption Agencies, an umbrella organisation covering 19 agencies in the state, shows that only 10, 12 and 12 adoptions of children with special needs took place in the city in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (till date), respectively, as compared with adoption of 37, 50 and 24 special needs children outside the country, respectively.

In a country, where thousands of children are waiting to be part of a family, 200 to 250 families wanting to adopt are always in the waiting list at any given time, say authorities from adoption agencies.

For example, Bal Asha Trust, a city adoption agency placed an HIV+ child with a couple in the US a few weeks ago.

“At present, it is difficult placing such a child with Indian couples. For an HIV+ case, what most people here don’t realise is that the child has to be given adequate protection so that his/her immune system stays unaffected and that s/he doesn’t get Aids. Instead, they worry about getting affected by the virus themselves,” says Sunil Arora, director of Bal Asha Trust.

Similarly, another adoption agency, which preferred to remain anonymous, recently placed a girl, who had meningitis, in France. Her case was so severe that a permanent tube had to be inserted from her brain to her stomach. “She was adopted by a couple in France; the mother, an Indian, happened to be an adopted child from Mumbai,” says the adoption-in-charge of the agency. 

The reasons that special needs children are not accepted by couples here are many. “Indian couples are still getting used to the concept of adoption. And those who decide to go ahead with it want the child to be perfect. In fact, at times, they want the child to look like either of the parents!” says Nina Advani, president of Maharashtra State Women’s Council, which manages Asha Sadan, a children’s home.

“Moreover, some of the parents are financially not well off. So, they don’t want to incur extra expenses on the child’s treatment,” she adds.

Authorities from adoption agencies say children rejected by most Indian couples are often accepted by foreign couples, or even by Indians settled abroad.

“India is lagging behind its counterparts when it comes to social acceptance of such children and adequate facilities for them. Special needs children easily get citizenship of the country they are going to, which shows that other countries are much more accepting of such children,” says Arora.

You’ve got to be kidding!

Mumbai records obtained from the Federation of Adoption Agencies, an umbrella organisation covering 19 agencies in the state, shows that only 10, 12 and 12 adoptions of children with special needs took place in the city in 2011, 2012 and 2013 (till date), respectively, as compared with adoption of 37, 50 and 24 special needs children outside the country, respectively.

Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, 11:53 IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

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