The Taboo of Adoption
Child adoption remains an under-researched issue in modern Indian reality. Adoption remains an unacceptable option since the relations between an adopted child and the social parent are a public, articulate, and noticeable acknowledgement of infertility that cannot be subsumed under a conspiracy of silence. Although adoption is becoming more frequent over time, its taboo tag has yet to fade away.
Some explanations why adoption remains a taboo topic are the ones that biological children do not understand. Adoptive parents are always expected to be perfected, and they do not know when their child asks their parents about their babyhood. To overcome this stigma, we must remind these people at; first, any new situation is difficult to manage, and with time, it will become easier.
Most Indians have a distorted opinion about adoption because they desire that their children should have their genes, blood, and ancestry, and this mentality needs to change because, in the end, no one belongs to anyone. Also, there are not enough children eligible for adoption, and in institutionalized care, the ratio of abandoned children to children is uneven.
According to the United Nations Children's Fund, India has 29.6 million orphaned or neglected children (UNICEF). SOS Children Village conducted a study in 2011 and concluded that the former group is equivalent to 4 per cent (20 million) of India's child population. However, there were only 470,000 children in institutionalized care in 2017, of those 30 million children.
Besides, only a fraction of those about half a million children finds their way into family care because of the unacceptable low levels of adoption in India.
This means that the administration's emphasis on child welfare needs to be significantly re-adjusted as millions of children are being tossed out into the future. Interestingly, while there are millions of children without parents, on the other hand, there is a growing number of infertile couples for the majority of whom adoption is the last option.
Adoption rates in India have always been low but have declined in recent years. CARA adoption figures indicate that in 2010, 5693 domestic adoptions were taken place, while in 2017-2018 in India only 3276 were adopted.
For a population as gigantic as that of India, these are offensive numbers. However, only around 20,000 parents are waiting to adopt, relative to the 27.5 million people who are actively attempting to conceive but experience infertility.
A study named 'A Study of Knowledge and Attitude to Adoption Among Infertile Couples' was conducted by The Department of Community Medicine, Armed Forces Medical College in Pune, and found that 89% of couples surveyed were aware of adoption as a method of having children. Although 77% had a complimentary view of it, only 54% were willing to adopt it if assisted in reproductive activities. Only 8% of them knew the legal procedures for adoption.
India is one of the world's youngest countries, and by 2050, it is expected that half of the world's population growth is to come from nine countries like India. While small nuclear families have long replaced large joint families, adoption is tabooed in many orthodox families with progressive ideologies.
In the one side, progressive parents are committed to a healthy climate for children. Blind superstitions, however, dissuade a childless couple from bringing a small, lovely child.
Either biologically or through adoption, surrogacy, or any scientific and technical way of doing it is a natural right for any person to be a mother or a father for a child. Nevertheless, when this road to nurturing a new life becomes a lucrative commercial trade to raise scores of money and to manipulate poor people with the appeal of finance. Aborting the girl child for the desire of boys to continue one's family legacy or even leaving the baby born through surrogacy after an "unwanted" point of time, then things begin to escalate.
There is nothing less important than making sure that each child belongs to a nurturing, responsible, healthy, and everlasting home. While the aim is always to ensure that a child is healthy and stays with its family, that is not still a choice. Adoption not only builds families, but it offers a means for parents to see their children thrive while they are not able to be a parent.
Care Guru, Child adoption in India - prospects and challenges, DailyHunt, https://m.dailyhunt.in/news/india/english/careguru+english-epaper-creguru/child+adoption+in+india+prospects+and+challenges-newsid-77899962.
Shreya Kalra, The Reasons for Low Levels of Adoption in India Are Manifold, The Wire, https://thewire.in/society/the-reasons-for-low-levels-of-adoption-in-india-are-manifold.
Written By: Ms. P. Renuka Sai, 2nd Year Law Student, Damodaram Sanjivayya National Law University, Vishakhapatnam, Law Intern at S. Bhambri & Associates (Advocates), Delhi.