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Monday, March 22, 2010

9) Registering with one or more RIPAs in Mumbai

*** UPDATE January 2012 ***
As of January 2012, this procedure has now changed. You can no longer directly approach a RIPA. Please read the Changes Afoot section under 2012 for more details.

While we were waiting for our Home Study Report to be issued in Singapore, we initiated contact with several RIPAs in Mumbai listed on the CARA website. Our personal experience was that most of these agencies tend to work very poorly over phone or e-mail. The social workers are often curt and brusque, telling you outright, "We have no children available. Try other agencies.", before abruptly hanging up on you.

E-mailing your Home Study Report or other documents to an agency is often a non-starter - you'll get enough 'Mail size exceeded' and 'Mailbox limit exceeded' and 'No such recipient' bouncebacks to try the patience of a saint.

In retrospect, it's a good exercise for one to call the agencies up and make the initial contact - it gets you started on something concrete, spurs you on to do some research on the various agencies, prepares you to develop a thick skin (if you have been living away from India for a long while, it can initially be somewhat of a shock how rude officials in India can be), and also helps you chart out your visit strategy when you eventually travel to India to meet them face-to-face. If you have parents living in the city where you intend to adopt, they could also do some legwork for you.

But ultimately, no RIPA will do anything until you've got your HSR in hand. Plus, they are a lot more welcoming and polite when you show up at their door. Once we had our HSR, we mapped out a visit plan by location and hit 2 or 3 agencies every day.

There are 2 schools of thought - one which advises you not to register with more than one RIPA in the same city ("they share the same database, they'll each ask you for the original HSR, it's not fair to anybody etc."). I subscribe to the latter, which is basically that in this process, you've got to grab the initiative and look out for your own interest - there's nothing wrong with it, and nobody else is going to do it for you.

The fact of the matter is, where and when you get a child matched to you is largely a matter of luck and good timing; so registering with more than one RIPA expands your sphere of probability. No agency will promise to match you with a child soon - in fact all of them will tell you that you'll need to wait for at least 1 year. We had one agency telling us - "even domestic parents wait for 1 year; as NRIs, you must be prepared to wait for 1.5 or 2 years".

Given this, I would rather register with 5 agencies and improve my chances of being matched with a child sooner than be a patient stupid Joe and put all my eggs in one RIPA's basket which - despite their best intentions - simply may not have children they can match you with for a long time. I do not believe they share databases - at least from what I could tell, most of their computer systems are more primitive than my home network. Of course, please let every agency know all your hopes rest with them alone, so that they take an active interest in your case.

On the other hand, when you are eventually matched with a child, it is your duty to inform all the other agencies you have registered with, so they can take you off their lists.

The registration process varies by RIPA. At some RIPAs, we were interviewed and then asked to fill in detailed questionnaires, similar to the one we filled in while applying for our HSR. At others, we simply gave them a copy of our HSR and our preliminary dossier and were told to expect a call back after their next board meeting.

1 comment:

  1. Hi RM,WE VE DONE UP TO THE ABOVE STEP N STLL AWAITING.....WE GOT THE SAME ANS AS U VE MENTIONED ABOVE FROM MANY RIPAS AND WE ALSO ARE FOLLOWING UP WT THEM....WE R BASED N DUBAI...MY EMAIL IS , give me more insight abt ur ripa meets and will talk further....congrats to u n family!