"Couples willing to adopt must look beyond city orphanages"
An Interview of Bharati Das Gupta, Founding member, Catalyst for Social Action
1. What is the aim of Catalyst for Social Action? What led you to start the organization?
A couple of years ago, my daughter and son-in-law, Shibani and Vipul Jain adopted a girl child. The adoption process and the child’s arrival in our family was life changing for everyone. It changed our attitude towards adoption as we realised, there is nothing to fear. It also made us think about the problems that exist in adopting a child. We got to know that there are thousands of orphan children in need for parents, and likewise couples who find it too difficult to adopt a child. It’s when we founded the Catalyst for Social Action, to bring them together and help facilitate adoption of a child. We also help child welfare centres and related organisations uplift their facilities and infrastructure and offer training wherever possible to improve the living standards of these children.
2. Could you put a figure on how big is the number of children in need for caretakers? Also, the problems while adopting a child -- are the processes too cumbersome?
Around 25 lakh children in India are in need of caretakers (UNICEF). They are in correction facilities, orphanages, with NGOs; living in the street, working as labourers and some are children of sex workers. But the problem is that not all of them are legally available for adoption. The clearance process takes a lot of time, and often children grow old by the time all the paperwork is done. Couples, especially in urban areas are now more open towards adoption, but when they approach adoption agencies, they are told there are no children available. Yes, the adoption process takes time, but it has to be there to ensure that a child doesn’t go to the wrong kind of people, and that all the possibilities of his/her rehabilitation with relatives are explored before putting he/she up for adoption. If one has all the documents ready, adoption can be concluded in three-six months.
3. So, what’s the solution?
There are plenty of adoption agencies in rural areas with a large number of children waiting for adoption. Couples wanting to adopt a child must look beyond the city orphanages. Our efforts have been to make couples aware about these children and facilitate the adoption process. We have also been propagating the need to bring the children to NGOs and child welfare facilities to be made available for adoption. Also, there is a need to work in a planned manner for better rehabilitation of children who grow up in child welfare organisations.