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Friday, March 19, 2010

12) Filing the Adoption Petition

Immediately upon receipt of the NOC (No Objection Certificate) from CARA, your RIPA's lawyer can proceed to file an adoption petition in the city civil court.

Though we adopted as a couple, for some reason that is not very clear to me, legally I (as the husband) was the sole petitioner named in the adoption petition filed under HAMA. Since I could not be physically present in India at the time of filing the petition, I had to grant my wife power-of-attorney to sign the petition on my behalf.

*Note*: I had earlier granted Power-of-Attorney to a representative of our RIPA, so I suspect they could equally have filed the petition on my behalf. As far as the legal requirement goes, the parents (both) only need to be physically present during the actual court hearing. However our RIPA insisted that either one of us had to also be present at the time of filing the petition. This worked out great for us, because my wife was able to get temporary custody (see section on 'Pre-Adoption Foster Care') of our child immediately after filing the adoption petition.

The Power-of-Attorney document has to be typed on plain paper and attested by the High Commission/Embassy of India in your host country. No witnesses are required. The High Commission will usually place a stamp across your photo on the last page. I did not get the POA notarized by a public notary prior to attestation.

*) Power-of-Attorney Granted to Wife:

The adoption petition was duly signed by my wife and filed along with the POA and other supporting documents (CARA NOC, copies of our identity documents, our dossiers, documents pertaining to release of the child for adoption etc.) in the Mumbai Civil and Sessions Court at Fort. Somebody from the RIPA's law firm will usually accompany you to the courts to do this.

Now the wait begins for the court clerk to assign a hearing date for the adoption. Your RIPA's lawyer will let you know when he hears from the court. If you are adopting as a married couple, both of you must be physically present for the court hearing.

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