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Monday, March 29, 2010

2) Before you read on ...

This blog is peppered with acronyms, some of which you may be unfamiliar with. Please refer to the section 'Glossary of Terms & Acronyms' for explanations of these.

You should keep in mind that the information presented here is accurate as far as our personal experience went. You are quite likely to experience procedural / documentation variations depending on the city and the RIPA (Recognized Indian Placement Agency) in India that you register with, how experienced your RIPA's lawyer is and the unique circumstances that surround your particular adoption.

You will want to use the CARA (Central Adoption Resource Agency) website at as your primary source of information - unlike this blog, what's on it is both official and (hopefully) kept up-to-date.

Ours was what is known as an inter-country adoption. At the time of our adoption in 2009 (a 1-yr long journey), both of us were Indian citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents. We had our Home Study done in Singapore and subsequently applied to adopt a child from a child welfare home in Mumbai. Hence, we primarily dealt with the bureaucracies in these 2 cities. We had no biological children and this was our first adoption. My wife's maternal home is in Mumbai, so we had a place to stay during the application process and also during the fostering process.

My wife and I are both Hindus, so our adoption went through under HAMA - the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956. This act applies to Hindus, Sikhs, Jains & Buddhists only. If you are Christian, Muslim, Parsi, Jewish, or belong to another faith, then the game changes somewhat. You'll usually file your petition under GAWA - the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890. This act allows you to become guardians of the child, not his/her parents, technically. There is also a third act under which adoptions can proceed - JJA - the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000. An article on this site discusses adoption under JJA - look out for it in the sidebar.

Apart from the legal semantics, I'm not sure it makes much of a difference - for all practical purposes, the child is still yours. Do familiarize yourself with the provisions of the different acts though and talk to your RIPA's lawyer to ensure the adoption is being performed under the correct act.

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