Child adop­tion on the de­cline?

Hindustan Times (Patna) - Live - - Lifestyle - Collin Ro­drigues collin. ro­drigues@ hin­dus­tan­times. com

Afew months back, the Union Min­istry of Women and Child De­vel­op­ment re­vised the guide­lines gov­ern­ing adop­tion of chil­dren with an aim to im­prove In­dia’s adop­tion rates. The new guide­lines have made it eas­ier for sin­gles — di­vorced, un­wed moth­ers or fa­thers, and sep­a­rated peo­ple — to adopt. How­ever, as a re­sult of this move, Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity, the reli­gious con­gre­ga­tion es­tab­lished by Mother Teresa, which runs sev­eral or­phan­ages all over the world, re­cently an­nounced that it was giv­ing up its sta­tus as an adop­tion cen­tre. A news web­site quoted a nun from Mis­sion­ar­ies of Char­ity as say­ing, “A mother can­not play the fa­ther’s role, and a fa­ther can­not play the mother’s role.”

Ac­cord­ing to Sunil Arora, pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Adop­tion Agen­cies, the num­ber of sin­gle par­ents in In­dia, opt­ing for adop­tion, has dropped dras­ti­cally in the past seven to 10 years. “Over­all, even the cases of mar­ried cou­ples opt­ing for adop­tion are on the de­cline. It’s prob­a­bly be­cause of our hec­tic life­styles, and the fact that hav­ing a new mem­ber in the house re­quires ad­di­tional fi­nances,” he says.

As a rule, agen­cies pro­vide coun­selling to ev­ery in­di­vid­ual who ap­proaches them in or­der to pre­vent peo­ple from hav­ing sec­ond thoughts af­ter adopt­ing a child. And, ac­cord­ing to Arora, many who come for adop­tion, back out af­ter un­der­go­ing th­ese ses­sions. He adds, “We put sev­eral per­spec­tives and sce­nar­ios in front of peo­ple who want to be sin­gle par­ents. Af­ter weigh­ing the pros and cons, many back out.” But what about the sin­gle par­ents who ul­ti­mately go ahead and adopt?

Not an easy road

At times, the fear of dis­crim­i­na­tion also forces peo­ple into hid­ing their de­ci­sion. And they feel that it’s about time that per­cep­tions to­wards adop­tion are al­tered. Mu­n­isha Chako, 41, a bank em­ployee, who has a seven-year-old daugh­ter, says, “Be­cause of the fear of dis­crim­i­na­tion, I haven’t told my em­ploy­ers that I have an adopted daugh­ter. I have told them that I’m her bi­o­log­i­cal mother.”

(Names of some in­di­vid­u­als have been changed on re­quest)

A file photo of ac­tor Sush­mita Sen, a sin­gle mother, with her adopted chil­dren, Re­nee Sen and Alisah Sen (right)

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