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Sunday, March 28, 2010

3) Glossary of Terms & Acronyms

CARA: Central Adoption Resource Authority
The central government body that oversees and regulates all official adoptions in India. Based in R.K. Puram, New Delhi, this is the office to which your final dossier is sent by your RIPA. CARA reviews every case submitted to it and issues a No Objection Certificate if it is satisfied that there are no impediments to a successful adoption. CARA is also the body that issues licenses to RIPAs and EFAAs.
Official CARA Website

EFAA: Enlisted Foreign Agency for Adoption
The agency in your host country authorized by CARA to perform Home Study Reports. The license or Certificate of Enlistment granted by CARA to the foreign agency is valid for 5 years, so do check if your agency's license is still valid and not approaching its expiry date soon.
List of CARA-recognized EFAAs in different countries across the world

GAWA: Guardians and Wards Act
The 1890 act in Indian law under which your adoption (guardianship) petition can be processed if you belong to a religion other than Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism or Jainism.
Full text of the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890

HAMA: Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act
The 1956 act in Indian law under which your adoption petition will be processed if you are a Hindu, Buddhist, Sikh or Jain.
Full text of the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956

HSR: Home Study Report
A comprehensive report assessing your suitability and preparedness as adoptive parents from all angles - physical, psychological, emotional, financial, legal. Issued by the EFAA in your host country - that you have engaged for a fee. A social worker attached to the EFAA will conduct one or more office interviews followed by a visit to your home / place of residence (where your adopted child will eventually reside). Before the HSR is issued, you will also be required to fill in a set of detailed questionnaires about yourself, supply 2 or 3 reference letters, submit to a basic medical test and get a certificate of no criminal conviction from the police in your host country. The HSR is valid for 2 years. If there is no EFAA in your host country, CARA may allow the HSR to be prepared by an agency approved by the High Commission / Embassy of India in that country or by an EFAA in a neighbouring country.
What a typical Home Study Report (HSR) looks like

NOC: No Objection Certificate
Issued by CARA after it has reviewed all documents relating to the adoption case submitted to it - including the Child Study Report, your Home Study Report and all supporting documents. Your RIPA's lawyer can proceed to file the adoption petition in court only after the NOC from CARA has been received.
List of all documents to be submitted to CARA by your RIPA for obtaining NOC

PAP: Prospective Adoptive Parent
That's you.

POA: Power-of-Attorney
A document that authorizes somebody else - typically your own spouse or a representative of your RIPA - to carry out any procedures / sign any documents / file any petitions pertaining to the adoption on your behalf. If you are an NRI working full-time, you probably have little leave to spare and have to reserve it for the time you absolutely have to be in India - e.g. for the adoption court hearing. This is where the POA comes in handy. Armed with this, your wife can travel to India and file the adoption petition and sign any necessary papers on your behalf. Refer to the 'Filing the Adoption Petition' section to see a sample POA.

RIPA: Recognized Indian Placement Agency
The child welfare home, orphanage or agency in India that you will need to approach after the EFAA in your host country has issued you with the Home Study Report. Once you register with a RIPA, they will make efforts to match you with a child. They will require you to fill in their application form and submit your HSR and a set of supporting documents for them to proceed. Every RIPA will have their own lawyer / law firm to handle adoption cases for them, so you do not need to engage your own lawyer.
List of CARA-recognized RIPAs in different states across India

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