Why the road to adoption in India is so long and winding

From about 50,000 children eligible for adoption, only about 2,000 are actually put up for adoption | Image - Eunice Dhivya

After three long years of search and struggle, Sreya and Nikhil (names changed), a Bangalore-based couple, managed to adopt a four-year-old boy. Sreya says she initially wanted a baby girl, a newborn if that would have been possible. But the options were limited and the couple finally went with the boy. It has brought happiness and joy into the lives of the childless couple. They are so relieved that they managed to adopt a child after so long.

But it is not as if there were not enough children to be adopted. According to UNICEF, India has 2.6 million children who are orphaned or abandoned. These children largely remain on the streets or child care institutions (CCI)—registered or unregistered—and a majority of them never get an opportunity to have a family, parents, siblings, relatives or a better life.

According to a study done by the Ministry of Women and Child welfare in 2018, the number of ‘adoptable children’ in India was less than 50,000.

India has 9,589 Child Care Institutions of which 32 per cent are registered under the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act. According to the details provided by these institutions, there are 3,70,227 Children in Need of Care and Protection (CNCP) and 7,422 Children in Conflict with Law (CCL).

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