No Babies for Adoption, as Hopeful Parents Line up

By Kavita Bajeli-Datt

New Delhi, Sep 28 (IANS) There are 900 parent hopefuls in the queue, but no children to take home. Adoption agencies in the capital are facing an acute shortage of babies, and one major reason they say is unwed mothers are no longer willing to abandon their child.

"We are facing an acute shortage of children. This trend has been happening for the past four years. There is a sharp decline (in getting children for adoption)," said Leila Baig, honorary secretary of the Coordinating Voluntary Adoption Resource Agency (CVARA), a voluntary association of 10 adoption agencies in Delhi.

"There are no reasons or a study to show why there is a decline in the number of children. But we believe it is due to four main reasons - unwed mothers keeping their children, continued and sustained AIDS awareness drive resulting in youngsters using protection, private adoption and despite the ban on sex determination test they are happening," Baig told IANS in an interview.

She said unwed women, who due to socio-economic situations or fear of society would earlier leave their infants at adoption centers are now keeping them.

"The situation has changed now. Earlier, such mothers couldn't cope or handle it. Now, no one frowns upon such a situation. In fact, many single women are nowadays adopting children," she said.

Baig, who has been associated with CVARA since its inception, said that HIV and AIDS awareness campaigns highlighting safe sex and use of condoms was another reason.

"These days we see the advertisement for I-pill. Youngsters are more aware and ready for such situations now. They are careful and taking precations to avoid unwanted pregnancies," she added.

She said private adoptions have also become quite common.

"Parents, mostly poor, are giving away their child (they don't want) to hospitals or nursing homes. These centres then act as placement agencies. These commercial transactions have become quite common and as a result people who have registered with licensed agencies face problems," she added.

She said these institutes give the child away for adoption without providing counselling to the new parents or following proper steps. "Adoption should be ethical and proper," she added.

"I think despite sex determination tests being banned, they are still going on. Why, otherwise, would we see a fall in the number of children coming to us?" she asked.

Till June this year, the agency has been able to provide 73 children to Indian parents, 21 to non-resident Indians and 81 to foreigners. "The waiting list for this year is over 900," Baig said.

This has been the story since 2005, she added.

In 2005, they provided 413 children to adoptive parents, while the waiting list was 1,029.

But after 2005, a decline was noticed in the number of children adopted.

In 2006, 262 children were placed as compared to a waiting list of 1,010. In 2007, 1,316 people were in the queue for adoption, but the agencies could provide only 384 children.

In 2008 about 962 parents wanted to adopt, but only 268 were lucky.

"As we are not able to provide the children, we suggest to adoptive parents to go to other centres in Maharashtra or Orissa. We have no choice. We have to guide them," Baig added.

One disappointed parent hopeful is Ashima Singh.

"I have called up all the adoption agencies in Delhi and was told that registrations are not open. I have been waiting for the past three months. I have registered with CVARA and I am hoping to hear favourable news soon," Singh told IANS.

Singh was told she could either go to Jalandhar in Punjab or Almora in Uttarakhand.

"I don't know whether to be sad or rejoice (at the shortage). I am happy that children are not being abandoned and people are being careful," Baig told IANS.

"But I feel bad when I see people eager to adopt a child have to wait for months for happy news. And sometimes, the wait is really long," Baig added.

CVARA was set up in 1984 on the recommendations of the Supreme Court for rehabilitation of destitute and abandoned children through adoption into a loving family.


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