Post-adoption birth pangs

Two Andheri couples tell MiD DAY they have been caught up in red tape for months trying to get birth certificates for their adopted daughters

If you thought adopting a child in India is a cumbersome process, try getting a birth certificate for him/her. Meet the Shiralis from Andheri who have been running from pillar to post for three weeks now. Usually getting a birth certificate is a weeklong affair.

Anand and Priti Shirali with their adopted daughter

Anand Shirali got the custody of his daughter on January 24 last year and cleared all the legal procedures by September. Speaking to MiD DAY, he said, "I went for the birth certificate of my daughter on January 3 to Andheri K-West ward of BMC.

And I am still trying. Ideally, it should not take much time when all the documents are submitted. Recently when I visited the office, one of the employees claimed that they have misplaced my file.

I forced them to search for it and it was found later. The clerks who are responsible to process birth certificates don't come on time to the office. I have to go abroad next month. How can I leave without my daughter's birth certificate?"

The Shiralis are not alone. Andheri-based Steve Fernandes (name changed on request) and his wife have been trying for the past four months to get a birth certificate for their adopted daughter. The couple brought home the one-and-half-year-old (present age) child last year.

Worried about her admission in a playschool, Fernandes started the procedure for the birth certificate with the Andheri K-West ward in October 2011. His struggle is far from over. Steve got all the legal adoption documents cleared from court in January 2010.

"There are two people in the department of birth certificates. But they don't come on time and when we meet them they always ask us to come the next day.

When initially I gave them my file they misplaced it. Then I requested them to search for my file and issue my daughter's birth certificate. They still haven't done it," Steve said.

The other side
Shridhar Pawar, Medical Officer for Health, K-West ward, Andheri, said, "Adopting a child is a good thing and we give preference to such parents in issuing birth certificates. But I have only one clerk who is handling marriage, birth and death certificates. Maybe that is causing the delays. The parents who have grievances should approach me and I will help them."

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