India can offer some prospective adopters the opportunity to adopt a child of the same cultural and ethnic background. In addition the Indian eligibility criteria for prospective adoptive parents includes people who are not of Indian heritage.
IAC's India Special Programme is therefore their most popular and successful programme to date. The India adoption process is well embedded at IAC and they are very familiar with working with their colleagues in India to support adopters through the process. Children come from across the Indian continent and most are usually living in orphanages prior to being placed.
Since 2011 IAC has been enlisted as an authorised Foreign Adoption Agency by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), the central authority for adoption in India. India is a country which is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in respect of Intercountry Adoption 1993 and all adoptions from India are regulated through CARA.
CARA require that approved adoptive parents must be registered on line with them and IAC is able to register prospective adoptive parents and support them through the waiting period. CARA will then review the application, and once accepted onto the waiting list two children’s files will be shared with the prospective adoptive parents via IAC. Once in country IAC is able to support prospective adopters through the India process through regular contact with the institution where the child is living.
The Children Waiting
In line with many countries overseas India has many children living in institutions who would benefit from family life. As a Hague Convention country children are placed within families living in India (domestic adopters) as a first option.
CARA regulations state that non-resident Indians (NRIs) living overseas are treated on a par with domestic adopters, and that those holding Overseas Citizenship of India status or who are Foreigners may also apply. However, all prospective adopters of any status who are resident in the UK must progress their adoption applications through the Hague procedures. Thus far IAC has not become aware of any differences in the way NRI cases are processed compared to adopters with other statuses.
IAC would therefore encourage prospective adoptive parents to be flexible as far as possible regarding the age range of the child/ren they would be willing to consider, as many children needing homes are not babies but toddlers or older.
Eligibility for India
Both single adopters and heterosexual married couples may adopt.
A married couple with a combined age of up to 90 years, or a single adopter up to 45 years may apply for a child up to 4 years of age.
A married couple with a combined age of up to 100 years, or a single adopter up to 50 years may apply for a child between 4-8 years of age.
A married couple with a combined age of up to 110 years, or a single adopter up to 55 years may apply for a child up to between 8 and 18 years of age.
Who Can Use the Special Programme?
IAC is able to register any eligible family with CARA provided that the prospective adopter is:
Eligible to adopt from India. The IAC Information for Prospective Adoptive Applicants (India Special Programme) provides full details of eligibility criteria
Lives in an area where IAC is able to undertake an adoption assessment or where the Local Authority agrees to commission IAC to undertake it
Is not adopting an identified child*
Willing to work exclusively with IAC for assessment and approval.
Although it is possible for the Department for Education to register any approved adopter seeking to adopt from India with CARA, IAC registers any prospective adopter approved directly by the agency.
This ensures that IAC is able to liaise directly with both CARA and the Specialised Adoption Agencies in India about your case and about the child matches proposed.
For further information about the special programme please contact the IAC Advice Line.