Child adoption scams
-Dr. Dyuti Datta Gupta
Most of us will agree that motherhood is a blessing that puts the whole world into perspective keeping everything aside. But this total scenario will spin reversibly if the child is abandoned or unwanted. Starting from the age of Mahavarat, the repetitive constant flow of these happenings continues where motherhood becomes a curse resulting in the offspring facing a hard life throughout. If Karna was recognized by Kunti at the time of arms assessment of Kauravas and Pandavas, the situation, as well as the rest of the life of Karna, would be different. Thousands of unwed women, rape survivors, and marginalized families give birth to such “orphans” with an indeterminate future. So, to give these “created orphans” a better life along with all social, legal, and moral rights, the adoption process started where a person assumes the parenting of a child irrespective of any ancestral bloodline. The first adoption center was initiated in Massachusetts, USA when the Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act was enacted in 1851 and was widely considered as the first “modern” adoption law. Several studies reveal that the country which has the most orphans in the world is Uganda. Continuous civil conflicts have resulted in extreme poverty and the occurrence of the AIDS epidemic is the causative agents of orphaning in Uganda.
In India, adoptions take place according to the norms of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA). Several types of adoptions include private domestic adoptions, foster care adoptions, international adoptions, embryo adoptions respectively. Among various reasons, the most relevant is infertility or impaired fertility. Wanting to build a family often after divorce or death of a spouse, motivated by philosophical or religious belief, believing to take care of orphan children instead of reproduction, health concerns related to pregnancy and childbirth, and to ensure that inheritable diseases are not transmitted through progeny also facilitates adoption procedure throughout. Although the entire process was started on a very positive note, there were some negative issues in few cases like lying, stealing, defiance of authority, and acts of violence.
In India, 1960s-70s was the boom time for overseas adoption. Thousands of orphans were adopted by the foreigners for getting a life that will be wonderful beyond anything. But the fallacy lies here. Several overseas parents who had adopted an Indian baby with proper paperwork couldn’t even imagine and sense the undercurrent of child trafficking in the name of inter-country adoption. The same things happened within the country also. Numerous misdeeds were performed by the Adoptive Agencies in the name of adoption making it a booming baby trading. Children were snatched and kidnapped from the underprivileged couple, stolen from poor families living in slums or even from the hospital and busy markets by the adoption racket, and then exported in the name of inter-country adoption in exchange for huge money. They even lifted children sleeping on the pavements next to their parents. One of the sensational incidents happened near the border area of Bengal and North East, where the kidnappers just snatched the baby of 2 days old leaving the unwell mother intentionally inside the jungle. Healthy babies were substituted with still-borns and the mothers were told their babies had died. Sometimes, poor parents were forced to sign documents that they did not comprehend. They thought they were admitting their children to a free residential school but ended up giving up all rights over them.
Sometimes these adoptees were rejected by their adoptive parents after being recognized or felt that the child they are bringing up might have been trafficked. Numerous news of child trafficking were flashed out in different times from Chennai, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Bihar revealing that this trafficking channel is well-spread all over India. Another shocking fact is that some female child was just given away and sold by her biological father to any adoption center without her mother’s consent because he didn’t want a daughter or even a second daughter in the family.
Several police complaints and CBI cases were lodged but the trafficking racket always came out on bail because of their high influential political connectivity. Moreover, in the case of trafficked children, it becomes doubly hard to prove anything because of the fudged records making it practically impossible to trace their origins.
There is still no specific adoption law in India. Attempts were made to get a uniform adoption law passed in Parliament but failed twice. But in 1984, the Supreme Court of India laid down detailed procedures for adoption after the allegations of malpractice arose. Subsequent judgments were delivered and the government of India issued the first guidelines in 1989 followed by several revised guidelines. But irrespective of everything, allegations of abduction, exploitation, and trafficking of children unfortunately still prevails.