I get calls almost on a daily basis asking for a new born child to adopt, if available. I understand the caller’s inquisitiveness because they are only looking at an experience that would be similar to a child if one would have been born to them. But what does the adoption regulations of CARA say about it. Read on…. This blogpost is all about that.
To understand the answer, you need to back up a little to know how children come into the stream of adoption to begin with. There are three categories of children namely:
In abandonment, a child would have been left at some place and an unknown person has found the child and reported to the authorities. As soon as that is done, the district Child Welfare Committee (CWC) swings into the action and hands over the child to the nearest Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA) with a temporary custody for 60 days. During these 60 days, District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) advertises in the media to let people know that they have found a child, and anyone is looking for a lost child, needs to come with a proper identification document to claim the child.
In surrendered and orphaned child, parent(s)/ guardian of the child, come before the CWC to apply to surrender the child for whatever the reason it may be. CWC is duty bound to counsel and assist the family to ensure that they keep the child by extending any kind of Government assistance that may be available. Despite all their (CWC’s) best efforts to assist, if the family chooses to surrender, they need to fill and sign the surrender deed. CWC, will send such a child again to SAA for 60 days (with a temporary custody order) to help the parents to reclaim the child if they choose to.
After the end of 60 days, if no one had come to claim the child, SAA will go before the CWC to report and ask for a legally free for adoption (LFA) document. Without LFA, no child is eligible to be placed in adoption.
As you can see in all the three categories, there is a window of waiting for 60 days. So, even if CWC receives a newborn child on day one, they cannot issue LFA without waiting for 60 days, which means, to adopt a newborn child under the JJ Act is not possible.
When the prospective adoptive parents go to the SAA to receive a child (after receiving a referral from CARA), they should ask for the above-mentioned documents (temporary custody order and LFA), to know that they are receiving a child who has been through a thorough process of vetting by the Government authorities.
If anyone offers a newborn child who is less than 60 days of age, and anyone accepts a child below the age of 60 days (without LFA), it might amount to an illegal adoption under the JJ Act which has penal provisions. Use caution to become informed and empowered to make a sound decision before bringing your child home.