Dubai: Adoptions from India to the UAE have come to a standstill because the federal agency for adoptions in India has frozen all new overseas applications, XPRESS can reveal.
Dubai-based Omana Menon, the authorised foreign adoption agent (AFAA) dealing with overseas Indian adoptions in the Gulf, confirmed this week that she has not sent any new applications to the Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA) in New Delhi since last November.
She said the federal body has put on hold all new inter-country adoption applications until further notice in order to clear a backlog of cases.
Menon, who has prepared home study reports (HSRs) for around 1,500 adoptions in the Gulf over the last 27 years, said she has more than 20 applications with complete dossiers pending with her since November.
In addition, she has at least 50 names on the waiting list.
Menon said she had sent 68 applications to CARA last year, but the adoption formalities have been completed in only six cases so far. “The remaining applications are stuck in various stages of the revised adoption process,” she said.
The overseas adoption process was revised by CARA in July 2011 when it issued new guidelines and created a new online registration system. Under new rules, prospective adoptive parents can no longer directly approach an orphanage or adoption agency in India with an HSR to choose a child. All HSRs are now required to be sent by the AFAA to CARA which refers them to a selection committee which in turn matches the parents with a Registered Indian Placement Agency (RIPE). The parents can only indicate a preferred geography or city for the agency.
The new rules have also stipulated a monthly quota system for adoptions and increased the inter-country adoption fee from $3,500 (Dh12,855) to $5,000.
Menon said: “Several applications from the UAE are lying with the RIPEs which are finding it difficult to get children. Some applications have even been returned on the grounds that they could not find a match.”
She said prospective adoptive parents are angry and frustrated as there is little progress with their applications. “This is a very fragile issue and they keep coming back to me with questions. But I have no answers. CARA must be doing what it can at its end but is that sufficient? Surely, there must be some way out of this crisis.”
International adoptions from India, both by foreigners and Indians living abroad, are governed by the Ministry of Women and Child Development’s Guidelines on Adoption of Children 2011 in line with powers under Section 41 of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000.
Prospective parents said a step intended to streamline adoptions has become a stumbling block instead. “I am completely put off by this new process. From what I hear, there’s so much red tape,” said one of them.