Comments to CARA Draft Guidelines sign now

To: Central Adoption Resource Authority
Ministry of Women & Child Development
West Block 8, Wing 2, 2nd Floor
R.K. Puram
New Delhi 110066 INDIA

Via E-mail and fax

Re: Comment on Draft Guidelines on Adoption of Indian Children without Parental Care

Dear Members of CARA:

We are an informal network of adult adoptees, adoptive parents and other people from the adoption community. We would like to comment specifically on the issues concerning identity and the search for roots.

Its our understanding that the Child Rights Convention as well the Hague Convention recognizes the need and right of Adoptees to know their full original Identity.

Its indeed a pleasure to see that CARA, has now acknowledged the same as well on page 41, stating:

Search for origins

Children have the right, if they feel the need and when age and maturity permit, to know their history, especially information relating to their birth mother and father, and siblings, wherever possible. It is essential to have this information gathered and preserved. In such cases, counseling support is necessary for dealing the issues related to search for origins. This right may be difficult to respect in the case of unwed mother who does not want to be contacted.

We are also very pleased with the fact, that records have to explicitly kept for unlimited time.

At the same time, there are several serious concerns:

Birth Certificates:

The CRC states in Article 7:

"1. The child shall be registered immediately after birth and shall have the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and. as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents.

The CARA draft states:

"Birth Certificate issuing Authority

Birth registration of a child is mandatory. The SAA has to retain the name of the child if already known or otherwise has to give him/her a new name. Birth certificate shall in case of an orphan, abandoned or surrendered child shall be issued based on court order. In case of a surrendered child, the SAA shall record the exact time and date of birth of the baby before taking custody of the baby. In case of abandoned child, where the date of birth has not been recorded officially anywhere, the Adoption Agency concerned must make an application to the local Magistrate along with any other material which the Adoption Agency considers relevant in the form of an affidavit made by a responsible person belonging to the Adoption Agency. Such information may also be supported by an assessment of the civil surgeon. The local magistrate will then pass an order approving the particulars to be entered in the birth certificate and on the basis of the magisterial order; the requisite certificate will be issued by the local birth certificate issuing authority of the city/town/area where the child has been found. This process shall be initiated only after the adoption is finalized, so that the particulars of the adoptive parents are available for inclusion in the certificate. In case the child has attained the age of three, and the adoption has still not been finalized, the Agency may obtain a birth certificate, if it is found necessary, after informing the court in the form of an affidavit:

We do understand that it may desirable for adoptive parents and for adoptees to have a birth certificate listing the adoptive parents as parents and not make it visible to others that an adoption had taken place, specifically in Domestic Adoptions.

However the above proposed practice, would violate the CRC, the Hague Convention and our Rights to know and preserve our original identities.
It would practically mean the legalized fabrication of Birth Documents and make it easier for criminal elements to traffic in children under the guise of adoption.

We propose that the agency has to register the birth of the child, directly after birth and/ or when the child comes into the orphanages and a Certificate about that has to be issued.

A second Birth Certificate could be issued after the Adoption just listing the adoptive parents as parents.
Both Certificates should be part of the records and should be given to the adoptive parents and of course made available to the adoptees themselves.

Search for Roots

Despite your acknowledgment of our Needs and Rights, now in point 5.9 the guidelines proceed to clearly violate said needs and rights with respect to the rights of children born to unwed mothers. It means in effect that adoptees are discriminated against for a second time.

Rights of the Child

The child has a right to his/her identified information such as background information. Except in cases of unwed mother, the details of biological parent/s may be made available to a child when he/she becomes adult or is old enough to understand such intricacies. SAAs are required to offer psychosocial services to all parties concerned when a search for origins is undertaken. Every child with a court order from an Indian court shall enjoy all rights and privilege of a biological child when he/she joins the adoptive parents in their countries.

This is in violation of the Hague Conventions Guide to Good Practice, which states under 2.1:

non-discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the childs or his parents or legal guardians race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or other status;

In most receiving states, adult adoptees have the explicit right to know the identity of their biological parents.

"But if after attaining the age of maturity, the child wants to know about its biological parents, there may not be any serious objections to the giving of such information and in such a case, the foreign adoptive parents may, in exercise of such discretion, furnish such information to the child if they so think fit."

According to the Indian law, ( JJACT) and the above quoted Supreme Court Judgement from 1984, nothing bars we adoptees from knowing the identity of our biological parents.

Some of us, some even born to unwed mothers have conducted successful searches. The outcome was uniformly positive. Not in a single case was the life of the mother jeopardized. In some cases a beautiful and sustained contact was established.

We do understand the issue and stigma attached to unwed motherhood but can see no harm if the mother is discreetly traced and contacted by an independent qualified social worker (MSW) appointed by the adoptee/ adoptive family.

Therefore we demand that the adoptee, accompanied by an independent, qualified social worker, has a right to accesss each and every document related to his/her adoption, at every place where such documents are kept.

Its important that adoptees can choose an independent social worker of his/her own choice since agencies have shown often little cooperation and often adoptees have been lied to.

Post Adoption Services

Adoptions from India have taken place for about 40 years. There are a large number of adoptees worldwide and consequently post adoption services have become very important.

The Hague Convention states in Article 7 that Central Authorities should:
c) promote the development of adoption counseling and post-adoption services in their States;
in Article 30:
(1) The competent authorities of a Contracting State shall ensure that information held by them concerning the child's origin, in particular information concerning the identity of his or her parents, as well as the medical history, is preserved.
(2) They shall ensure that the child or his or her representative has access to such information, under appropriate guidance, in so far as is permitted by the law of that State."

The Hague Guide to Good Practise says on page 83:

Post-adoption services are almost always performed by receiving States, although in search and reunion cases, States of origin may also wish to establish services for adult adoptees.

On Page 46 the Cara Draft Guidelines state:

The child has a right to its ethnical identity and the agency is responsible for informing the parents about this fact. Particularly in inter-country adoptions, a child has a right to its ethnic identity and to information about its country of origin. The adoption agency is responsible for procuring available information about the childs background, and for giving the child/adoptive parents access to this and it should wisely handle any situation pertaining search of roots. The agency should also keep copies of such written information for unlimited time.

Sadly CARA leaves all Post Adoption work to the agencies. Our unfortunate experience is that the placement agencies as well as the foreign agencies are often not cooperative when it comes to a search for roots.

It would also be very desirable to have post adoption work and counseling for all triad members to be available independently from agencies.

We appreciate that CARA acknowledges our right to ethnicity but we know from our own experiences that many adult adoptees are not even able to travel to India. All they know about India often comes only from books, films, internet etc.

We kindly request the government of India to set up a scheme which enables adoptees to visit our Country of Birth.

We also would like to have the opportunity, support and cooperation to set up an independent organization run by Adoptees for Adoptees who are returning to their Country of Birth, be it just for a holiday visit, an in depths search for roots or even to settle in India. Similar support organizations have been set up in other countries and have been resoundingly helpful to returning adopteees (e.g., GOAL in Korea). Right now, there is no one to turn to, apart from the often non- cooperative agencies.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments to the Draft Guidelines.

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Latest Signatures

  • 02 December 2015250. Kat H
    I support this petition
  • 09 October 2015249. Dean D
    I support this petition
  • 24 July 2015248. Edel M
    This is a denial of adopted childrens' rights to know their heritage
  • 20 July 2015247. Maya W
  • 20 July 2015246. Kristin E
    I support this petition
  • 15 May 2015245. Chantha S
    I support this petition
  • 12 April 2015244. Linda Z
    I am an adult adopted human being
  • 27 January 2015243. Harbinder V
    I support this petition
  • 26 January 2015242. Joanne Cunningham
    How can the right be taken away from Adoptees. Its basic human emotion. Country Zip Code India
  • 25 January 2015241. Elaine Marleneforbesm
    I support this petition
  • 20 December 2014240. Meghan Williamsiana
    Please allow our children to find out more if they wish too Country Zip Code 0810
  • 06 December 2014239. David Jamesm
    ditto the petition Country Zip Code 60616
  • 10 October 2014238. Janine B
    В Country Zip Code USA 94530
  • 01 October 2014237. Janet H
    I support this petition
  • 14 September 2014236. Marie M
    please reconsider your position in relation to information about unwed mothers. as a mother I did not forget my child and wanted him to have the opportunity to look for me. the current proposal works to re-enforce my lack of hope and of opportunities.
  • 11 September 2014235. Laura B
    this is abhoring - infertiles do not take precedence over real families Country Zip Code 22124
  • 26 August 2014234. Jennifer B
    I support this petition
  • 09 July 2014233. Sunny J
    I support this petition
  • 16 June 2014232. Regina Murphyp
    В Country Zip Code 17603
  • 08 June 2014231. Casper A
    Information about birth identity must be for all and not only for some. Country Zip Code Denmark
  • 23 April 2014230. Kalyani A
    I support this petition
  • 14 April 2014229. Betsey H
    It is time that the general public stops believing the lies that the adoption agencies have used for years to cover their own lies Country Zip Code 93003
  • 06 April 2014228. Savita N
    We are just asking basic human rights! If everyone else in the world can know their birth parents, why not adopted kids. This is not rocket science, it is very simple to understand. Country Zip Code 03062
  • 29 March 2014227. Babey E
    I support this petition
  • 16 March 2014226. Manohar V
    I support this petition
  • 04 February 2014225. Vanessa P
    I was stolen from my family i n India and adopted into canada. The nuns lied to me and hid me before they adopted me out. Sister Mary just before she died told me that everything I remember was correct but I should forget my past. I have three identical i
  • 16 January 2014224. Yi Junvanr
    This is first step for adoptees but a huge leap for mankind Country Zip Code +31

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