New Delhi: There is a ray of sunshine in the dark gloom of female foeticide and communities still discriminating against the girl child in many parts of India.
According to the apex adoption agency in India, the number of girl child adoptions in the country has been on a steady rise over the past few years.
Anu J. Singh, member secretary of the Central Adoption Resource Agency (Cara), credits this happy trend to a change in the mindset of people at large.
"Whether it is because of social advertisements, movies or real life incidents, the mindset is definitely changing," Singh said.
"People want to adopt a girl child."
For instance, 1,819 of 2,990 children adopted in 2008 — both in-country and inter-country — were girls.
In 2009, 1,436 of the 2,518 adopted were girls. The number did come down last year when 2,638 of 6,286 children adopted were girls. But there are reasons behind it.
"Adoption of a child of a particular sex also depends on availability," Singh said. "So if a couple wants a girl child but we do not have one, they are left with the choice of a boy."
The difference in numbers between 2009 and 2010 also shows a big jump in adoptions in general.
"On the whole, I can say that the trend has definitely reversed," Singh said.
That the demand for a girl child is rising was also reiterated by Amod Kanth, chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).
"There has been an increasing number of queries on how to adopt a child, especially a girl child," Kanth said. "People are more interested in adopting a girl today and for me that is a very satisfying trend." Take the example of Rishi Wadhwa and his wife, Gayatri.
"Gayatri wanted a baby girl and I was all for it, but when after eight years we realised that she will not be able to conceive, we decided to adopt a baby girl; maybe it was God's way of answering our prayers," Wadhwa said.
"It was a long wait, but we were ready for it. Patience is the key word. And all of it was worth the wait. Mysha is now four and she is an angel in our lives," he added.
"Adoptions come under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of 1956. We have some restrictions, like we do not let live-in couples adopt because the sense of a secure home and family is missing," Singh said.
"Also, we do not let a single male adopt a girl child. People have their reservations against these rules, but we feel that a girl, when she is growing up, needs to discuss a lot of things that she may not feel comfortable discussing with her father."