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The making of a family

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  • The making of a family

    The making of a family


    Though the society has opened up towards the issue of adoption we still do not
    have enough co-ordinating agencies, finds Pune Times

    The two babies abandoned outside JJ Hospital, Mumbai have been the objects of
    national, nay, international affection as families rush to adopt them.

    And it is the same in Pune. While there are parents in the city who long to
    adopt a baby, there are also plenty of orphaned children yearning for a home.
    Yet adoption is a complex issue with many legal and ethical strings attached.

    A major issue of concern in the city is lack of co-ordination between adoption
    agencies. Catalyst For Social Action (CSA) is one such initiative working
    towards networking. Says Bharti Dasgupta of CSA, "We are trying to bring
    medical and legal experts, child care and adoption agencies as well as adoptive
    parents on a common platform. The assumption is that if the child is available,
    it is ready to be adopted. But the first priority is to trace the biological
    parents. The child has to be legally cleared to be adopted."

    The Central Adoption Resource Agency has been set up by the government to
    regulate adoption. With international adoptions becoming easy, a dangerous
    practice has raised its head. "The Lambada tribe case in Hyderabad where girls
    from the tribe where sold to international adoptive parents is one example.
    Only if a child is rejected thrice by Indian parents, and cleared by the
    government's Voluntary Co-ordination agency (VCA), can he/she be placed for
    international adoption. But there's a lot of money involved and agencies can
    misuse that," Dasgupta adds.

    The VCAs are an important part of the mechanism and Pune has reason to be
    happy. "Since, 1981, we have been working towards regulating ethics in foreign
    adoptions. The government has taken Pune VCA's work as a model and have made
    VCAs compulsory all over the state since 1996," says Shubhada Hiwale, a social

    The other major setback is the regressive Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act of
    1956. "The Act states that while the father adopts, the mother is only a
    consenting party. Also if you have a girlchild, you cannot adopt another girl.
    This definitely needs some modifications," says Madhuri Abhyankar of
    Shreevatsa, an adoption agency.

    But the scenario is not all dark. Says Abhyankar, "The PMC has been the first
    to regularly issue birth certificates to adopted children." What is most
    heartening is the change in the society's attitude as reflected in the response
    to the babies at JJ Hospital.

    A good friend will come and bail you out of jail . . . but, a true friend will
    be sitting next to you saying, "**** . . . that was fun!"
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