Indians mostly prefer children aged below 2 years for adoption
Over 80% of children adopted in India in 2017-18 were below the age of two but there were not many kids of this age group legally free for adoption, official data showed. In 2017-18, 2,537 children below the age of two were adopted while the number above two years was just 597 children, according to apex adoption body, Central Adoption Resource Authority's data.
In the age bracket of 2-4 years, 228 children were adopted while in the 4-6 years age group, 143 children were adopted, and above the age of 6 years, 226 children were adopted.
"More than 8,000 childcare institutions registered with CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority) have primarily more than 90% older children (above 5-6 years of age)," said Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) CEO Lt Col (retd.) Deepak Kumar. "Domestically there are very few couples who want to adopt older children," Kumar said, adding the childcare institutions then try to place older children in foster care.
As adoption of older children is low, placing them with some family in foster care is better, Kumar said He added, the foster care program enables older children "to be placed in a family as they are". But India's foster care system has not been taken up in a manner as it should be as parents here, too, prefer younger children, he said.
Kumar said many parents treat foster care as a shortcut to adopt younger children, noting that childcare institutes need to be careful in such cases. He added the issue is that more and more couples want younger kids. CARA has 20,000 couples registered for adoption, but they "don't have children of that age group legally free for adoption" as desired by these prospective parents.
According to Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System (CARINGS), there's just one child available for every nine adoptive parents waiting to take a child home in India. "As of May 2017, there were 15,200 prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) while child care institutions have only 1,766 children in their care across the country. Of these, 1,279 are children with special needs," CARINGS data said.
Meanwhile, inter-country adoption showed an opposite trend where 389 children adopted out of 718 were over the age of two. Kumar said, "The main reason behind it is that only those children who could not find a home in India are put for inter-country adoption." "In many cases, parents registered for inter-country adoption mainly get older children or children with special needs," he added.
Also, couples in inter-country adoption are more open towards adopting older children and children with special needs is due to better government support. Talking about children with special needs, Kumar said last year, CARA was able to place just 47 such children out of 3,200 for adoption. On an average they place just 50 children with special needs up for adoption domestically, he added.