Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pulling At The Heartstrings

Someone posted a link to this story through our agency's email forum today, and though it is over a year old, it is still very relevant. Actually it is sad that this story was published in April of 2007.. and here we are in July of 2008.. and still waiting on the system to change. India is closer to the change - they have written up the new guidelines, etc.. but these guidelines have not been placed into effect yet. Actually it is somewhat impressive that they are as far along as they are at one year out - maybe one year from today things will be different and adoption timelines much, much shorter.

Anyhow.. here is the story.. it's well worth the read. {Note that the little girl they mention in the article is also named Devika!} Reading these type of stories makes me wonder if we will be able to wait the 3 years we are planning to wait before starting a 3rd adoption journey. I read this and want to take all the children right now!
April 8, 2007

India pleads: adopt our orphan girls

British couples urged to aid ‘lost’ 11 million

INDIA is to urge couples in Britain and other western countries to adopt thousands of unwanted children languishing in orphanages throughout the subcontinent and save them from a life of poverty and emotional destitution.

There are more than 11m abandoned children in India, where a growing number of newborn babies are being dumped anonymously in cots placed outside orphanages in an initiative to deter infanticide.

About 90% of those abandoned are girls whose poor young mothers cannot afford to keep them. They face a bleak future as beggars, prostitutes or menial labourers if families cannot be found for them.

Last year only 4,000 children escaped that grim fate through adoption. Of those, about 1,000 were placed with families overseas and fewer than 100 came to Britain. Now, in a revolutionary change of policy, the Indian government has decided to increase the number of children available for adoption and to place thousands more with families in Britain, Europe and the United States.

Last week it announced plans to speed up bureaucratic procedures and make it easier for foreign families to adopt.

Under current rules the process usually drags on for more than a year. The new proposals call for a maximum waiting time of just 45 days. Ministers say the process must be accelerated so that loving homes can be found for the babies before they become institutionalised.

The change will be welcomed by childless British couples seeking to adopt abroad and finding their prospects restricted in countries from Romania and Russia to Vietnam, where curbs have recently been introduced, fuel-led in part by fears that adoption was being used as a cover for child trafficking. The British government warns prospective “inter-country adopters” that the process can take three years.

UK campaigners said this weekend that the changes in India were good news for its orphans and for western families who want to adopt them, but emphasised that there were still many British-born children in need of loving families.

David Holmes, chief executive of the British Association for Adoption & Fostering, a charity that helps to find families for hundreds of children every year, said: “It’s important to remember that even if India relaxes the rules these couples will still have to go through the same process that couples adopting within England go through.”

But he added: “Foreign adoption in India might be a little girl’s only chance and so we can see why getting a child into an adoptive family quickly is immensely important.”

At the Cradle orphanage in Delhi, five newborn girls are dumped in a “street crib” outside the security gate every week. A bell attached to the crib rings in a doctor’s room as soon as a child is left and the babies are rushed into one of two crisis wards where they are assessed, dressed, fed and treated.

Last week there were 10 girls and one boy in carrycots on the floor of one crisis ward, happily gurgling, sucking their thumbs and sleeping. Half of them will be adopted by families overseas who pay the orphanage £250, but the remaining babies will face sometimes insurmountable problems in being matched with an Indian family.

According to staff at the home, the darker-skinned babies suffer from a common prejudice in favour of fairer skin. Many will want the baby’s complexion to match their own, so that they can deceive relatives and pretend the child is their natural offspring.

An especially pretty two-year-old girl called Devika has been at the home since she was left in the street crib shortly after she was born and no Indian family has come forward to adopt her.

“She has dark skin,” explained one of the orphanage “ayahs”, or nurses. But she has now found a foreign family and will be leaving the orphanage in the next few weeks.

Devika and 130 others at this sprawling, spotless bungalow are among India’s luckiest abandoned children. Almost nine in 10 will find new families, and those placed overseas will live lives of comfort that could never have been envisaged had they been raised by their natural parents.

Many more orphans are living in poorly funded homes with dilapidated dormitories little better than prison cells and have hardly any prospect of escaping to a better life.

J K Mittal, chairman of India’s Central Adoption Resource Agency which oversees all the adoptions, admitted: “Our procedures are too cumbersome. It takes more than a year to adopt an Indian child from overseas. But it should be done within a couple of months.”

To adopt an Indian child, couples must be financially secure and must have been together for more than five years. They must be between 30 and 55, with a combined age of less than 90. Single people are eligible but not same-sex couples.

“Parents should educate the child about its own background and culture because when they’re older they will want to know about India,” Mittal said. “But the basic requirement is love — they must be able to love and care for the child.”


Adoption Blog said...

I read this article at the time...

I love the new design of your blog! ;-)

I'll write you a private e-mail later.



Starfish said...

So sad. And to think a few years ago India was our first choice and they had closed the program.