Poor internet links are a hindering factor
Bengaluru: The online system has reduced the waiting period for adoptive parents, but the government has failed to provide safety to abandoned children by not registering them on the system, say people connected with the process.
Gayatri Abraham, an adoption counsellor and founder of the Padme Foundation, informed The Observer: “The online system does make the adoption process more transparent and accessible. However, what is lacking in the online method is the establishment of the emotional connection required… during the process of adoption. Going digital is inevitable because of the pandemic. However, not all states can function on an online system as it depends on how the adoption agency functions.”
The Padme Foundation, she said, is trying to remedy the lack of physical presence in order to avoid an emotional disconnect.
Covid-19 has delayed adoptions, making people who want to adopt anxious. “However, the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has been able to put things under a perspective,” Abraham said.
The Times of India reported that with most offices operating at limited capacity, and the adoption process relying virtual meetings, CARA has agreed to make the 20-day matching cycle flexible.
Swarna Venkataraman, co-founder of For and Of Heart Baby and mother of an adopted nine-year-old boy, shared: “Post lockdown, CARA has been processing adoptions digitally. It has become more transparent, encouraging parents to not give up during the process.” Most people who want to adopt drop out after waiting for a long period.
Bharati Devi, project director at the Integrated Child Protection Scheme, said: “Virtual court hearings cannot be an efficient mode for cases of adoption because of Internet connectivity (issues). Not everyone has a strong Internet connection…. Technical glitches can be a major issue for the smooth running of a court hearing. As for now, the courts have not issued any order to make virtual hearings mandatory. Post-lockdown, adoption applications have steadily increased which does not put extreme pressure on the courts.”
Advocate Avidita Prakash said: “Online methods for adoption court hearings have errors…. There is a need to present physical evidence and witnesses before the judge. Online methods only work for final hearings where the presentation of physical evidence is not required and the adoptive verdict is announced.”
Bharathi from Amrutha Shishu Nivasa shared: “Online methods for adoption can work only up to the registration process, whereas verification has to be done physically as it is a crucial part during adoption as the adoptive parents need to prove that they are able to care for a child. Online systems can help in contributing only to a certain extent, while limiting it to only metropolitan cities.”
Sukanya Sitarama, project director, Asha Foundation Trust, said they did not come across cases of children being abandoned during the lockdown. However, they had several “surrendered cases” — the child was the result of a non-consensual relationship, or was born to an unwed mother, or was born out of wedlock.
If one of the biological parents dies, and the other is unavailable or unable to provide for the child due to physical, mental or social conditions, the surviving parent relinquishes the child.