Child adoption on the decline?
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)