Baby Adoption Procedure, Stages And Rules In India

Follow all the legal steps to make the adoption valid per your country’s laws.

Written by Kalpana M • 

Adoption is one of the noblest and kindest deeds. It is a life-changing experience for both the parents and the child. Here we talk about the baby adoption process in India. The decision to welcome someone into your family should not be taken in haste. Even though you may be going through a tough period of infertility or simply wanting to support a child without hope and love, such decisions need deep thinking. There is a series of processes you need to go through before adoption. Starting from registering to the supervised home inspection, the different processes are carried out to ensure the long-term stability and safety of the child. So in this post, we will help you understand the rules and regulations about adoption in India.

Baby Adoption In India

Do you plan to adopt a child? Then it’s important that you stay updated with the procedures. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which is a part of the ministry of women and child care, governs the procedures related to adoption. A court of competent jurisdiction also has the power to pass an order for adoption. If you wish to make an orphan child your own, then here is the process you need to follow for adoption of a baby.

1. Stage 1 – Registration:

The prospective adoptive parents (PAP) need to register themselves with an authoritative agency closest to their residence. Recognized Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA) and Special Adoption Agency (SAA) are the authorities which are empowered to register such a request. Here are the steps involved:

  1. Register with a RIPA or SAA-approved agency. The registration form needs to be filled as per the provisions of Section IV, along with the necessary documents and the fee as per the rule.
  1. On receipt of the form, the concerned authority will provide a registration slip to the PAP. The registration form can also be filled online through the facility provided by CARA.
  1. There is also the provision of adopting a child from a child care centre other than the one you have registered. In such a case, an application needs to be made to the SAA, specifying the place from which you wish to adopt.
  1. Once your request has been processed, you name will be added to the waiting list of the appropriate centre.
  1. A similar facility is there for adopting from another state. If you wish to do so, you will need to approach the State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) or Adoption Coordinating Agency (ACA) of the concerned state and provide them the registration slip.

2. Stage 2 – Pre-Adoption Process:

The concerned authority will guide you with all the procedures that are involved for adopting a child. You will also get counseling from experienced consultants on adoption and parenting. This is especially helpful for single parents or childless couples.

3. Stage 3 – Adoption Process:

There are two main steps in this process, such as:

1. Preliminary Steps:

A home examination will be done by a competent social worker within a maximum period of two months from the date of registration. You will be required to furnish a medical examination report, which should not be more than a year old at the time of referral of the child.

2. Assigning A Child:

An Adoption Committee will be set up by the SAA, which will look into the eligibility of the PAPs and find a child who matches the requirements provided by them. The committee will also ascertain whether the child is free to be legally adopted. On finding a suitable child, the SAA will allow you to visit the centre and see the child. If you are ready to adopt the chosen child, then you will have to give your acceptance by signing the medical examination report and the child study report that is furnished by the SAA. You will need to provide your local contacts to the agency and follow all the rules laid down by the authorities as well as by the courts. Before a full-fledged adoption, the child can be placed in foster care with PAPs.

Once the governing authority is satisfied about your ability to adopt, the child will be legally placed in your care and you will become the new parents of the child.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Why is the adoption process so hard?

Usually, the adoption process could be challenging because of the costs involved, the waiting periods, the legalities, and the emotional complexities involving the parent and the child.

2. Can you return an adopted child?

Although, in most cases, adoption is not reversible. In some countries, parents can revoke an adoption before it is finalized, in a given time frame, and after following a set of legal implications (1).

Baby adoption can be a wholesome and rewarding experience for the parents and family. Although it is quite exhaustive, being aware of the various stages and protocols of the adoption procedure in India could make this process easier for you. Also, if you are confused or stuck, it is ideal to consult a Recognized Indian Placement Agencies (RIPA) or a Special Adoption Agency (SAA) who may help clear all your apprehensions.

Success Story – A Real-Life Story About Adoption

For people who say ‘just adopt’ to couples struggling with infertility, let me tell you something – it is not a walk in the park! And in any case, the strong biological desire to give birth, to pass on our DNA, is inbuilt in our species. That does not make us selfish; that makes us human.

So, when one does decide to adopt, one gives up the dream of carrying a baby, feeling her move inside you, to see her face and find a little bit of you there. Yes, the mourning process is very much a part of adoption.

Though we had a biological son and adoption was very close to our heart, it did take some time to close one chapter and open the next. And we were scared of the wait! In the city we live in, the waiting period for adopting a baby girl through the government adoption agency was a whopping 3-4 years! So, our adoption dreams were put in limbo until we heard that a city nearby (about 100 kilometers from our place) had a shorter waiting period.

We were told that it wouldn’t take more than six months to bring our baby home! This was just the push we needed! So, off we went for a long drive and submitted our adoption papers, a whole lot of them, in August 2013. And the wait began.

Six months passed by and we didn’t even get a home study visit! It took numerous visits to the concerned office to cajole them to visit our home. Once that was done, we were hopeful that the next stage would move quickly. But as they say, all good things take time.

So, days turned into weeks, and weeks turned into months – but we kept waiting for that elusive phone call, the call that would tell us that we were matched with a baby girl.

The worst thing about adoption is the waiting – there are no two ways about that. But maybe they want to check how badly we actually want a baby! A lot of families drop out of the adoption journey during this waiting period. Maybe it is a really smart way to weed out the ‘not so ready for adoption’ families!

I used this time to do my research. I studied up about adoption, about how to deal with adopted babies. I tried to stay positive, but it wasn’t easy. Each day pushed me further towards despair. But just before I was ready to give up, we got the call! July 2014, we finally went to see our baby!

There she was, a mere three-month-old. A tiny bundle of joy. Oh, yes she was tiny, just weighing three kgs! But that was not something to worry about. We were already in love. We then took her to the doctor for her medical tests. But we needed a little more patience. We couldn’t take our baby home that day because there was some more paperwork that needed to be done.

So, the wait began again. We were told that it would take a week. It took over two months! We shopped for her, but then watched in agony as time passed by and the clothes became too small, even before they were worn! My heart ached every time it rained as I thought of my daughter, all alone, in a small room.

But all’s well that end’s well! We got Aaryana home in September 2014. She was five months old and just perfect.

Yes, the wait for your baby can be excruciating. But when you finally bring your child home, that ‘wait’ becomes a part of the journey, a journey well travelled!

Chhandita Chakravarthy is an editor by profession and a writer by passion. But her full time job is that of a loving mother!


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