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While planning to adopt a child certain norms are to be fulfilled. These could be taken as a checklist which is mandatory in nature to be confirmed before one goes for adoption in India.
The first step is to understand that who can adopt a child. India being a secular country allows Indians, Non Resident Indians (NRI), as well as foreign citizens to adopt a child and bring them to their families. However, certain specific guidelines are to be followed and obligatory documentation is to be done for each group of prospective adoptive parents. In India, a single woman or a married couple can adopt a child but it’s not a common practice to allow single man to adopt child(s). Still, there have been cases where single men had adopted children but it rather being a precedent is more like an exception. A single male who wishes to adopt a child has to apply only through a registered agency however, it’s no assurance that he would be allowed to adopt and moreover, he can only apply to adopt a male child.
The second step for adoption is to fulfill the conditions laid down for the adoptive parents in India. The prospective adoptive parents must be medically as well as financially fit in order to be able to take care and raise a child. The mandatory minimum age to adopt in India is 21 years although there is no upper limit determined for adoptive parent however, most adoptive agencies have their own benchmarks determined with respect to the prospective adoptive parent’s age. For a child who is less than one year in age, the prospective adoptive parents can have a maximum combined age of 90 years i.e. the sum of both the parents must not exceed 90 years, also, none of the parent’s age can be older that 45 years.

The case in older child’s adoption is a bit relaxed as the upper limit as well as the lower limit is taken accordingly. For instance, the age limit for a one year old is 46 years, for a two year old is 47 years, and so on. The upper age limit, in normal cases, for a child is 12 years and for the adoptive parent(s) is 55 years. In cases of an adoptive child who has special needs, the age limit might be relaxed marginally by the respective state government but it varies from case to case. Yet, in all cases the age of the adoptive parent cannot exceed beyond 55 years.
Now the question is about which laws govern adoption in the India. Indian citizens who are Hindus (which includes Jains, Sikhs and Buddhists, etc) are allowed to formally adopt a child by fulfilling the conditions laid down in the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956. Under this act, no one is allowed to adopt more than one child of the same sex however there have been instances where more than one child of one sex has been adopted. The governing act for foreign citizens, NRI(s), and those Indian nationals who are Muslims, Parsis, Christians or Jews is different, they are governed under the jurisdiction of the Guardian and Wards Act of 1890.Under this act, the adoptive parent is only the guardian of the child until she reaches 18 years of age.

The foreign citizens and NRI adoptive parents are supposed to formally adopt the child in accordance to their respective resident country’s procedures and adoption laws and this formality is to be carried out within the duration of two years of the adoptive parent becoming the child’s guardian. Another act which deals with the adoption of child(s) by non-Hindu parents is the Juvenile Justice Act of 2000. However, this act is only applicable on children who had been abandoned or abused and is not applicable on those children who have been voluntarily placed for adoption. Next question to be sought is that can a request for a specific child can be made by the prospective adoptive parent. Certain specifications like a child of a certain age, gender (if it is the first child in the family), skin colour, religion, special features, health condition, etc. can be asked by the adoptive parent. However, it gets very difficult to find the perfect child when these specifications are stringent and bigger in number as the options get restricted in context of the adoptive child.

After the preferences are laid down, children are selected in accordance to the need by the adoption agency. Once the child is found, the adoptive parents are asked to see the child and if they are not happy with the selection then about two similar children might be shown to the prospective adoptive parent. Due to all these complexities the entire adoption procedure tends to take several months, but when all the milestones are achieved the adoptive family can welcome the new addition to their family.
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