Namaste! Welcome to our India Adoption Program. Across The World Adoptions (ATWA) is Hague accredited and we are recognized by the Indian Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) as an Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA). CARA is the only entity in India authorized to identify and refer children for adoption. Adoptions are processed by the court. Therefore, there will be no foreign supervised providers.
ATWA keeps our program small and personable so that wait times are manageable. India is a Hague adoption country and all applicants will need to file an I-800A form with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS).
Applicants hoping to adopt eligible family members may pursue independent adoptions while also observing all U.S. Hague and CARA guidelines. Other than a home study for families in California, we regret that we are unable to assist most people with the adoptions of relatives in India. CARA is expected to publish guidelines soon on family based adoption procedures.
Please read over these resources carefully – they provide a wealth of information:
The website of the U.S. Department of State on adopting from India, including the latest notices and alerts:
The website of the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India:
The website of the Indian Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA):
http://www.adoptionindia.nic.in/ (Read about the new procedures under the “Guidelines” tab.)
- The youngest children are identified for adoption by persons of Indian heritage and are around one year at the time of referral for international adoption.
- Children who are age 7 years+ or children of any age who have a special need (which could be minor and/or correctable) receive expedited referral and can also be identified for adoption by persons of non-Indian heritage.
- Gender preferences for younger children are not accepted and applicants should be prepared to adopt girls.
- Children are tested for HIV, hepatitis, syphilis and tuberculosis. Outside pediatric exams can be arranged at your expense before referral acceptance.
- Most younger children have been born to unwed mothers. Older children may come into care due to social stigma, poverty, neglect, abuse or loss of a parent.
- Married couples and single women. Single men are not encouraged to adopt and are not permitted to adopt girls. India does not permit adoptions by same-sex couples or couples in “live-in” relationships.
- If married, at least one spouse must be a U.S. citizen. Single women must be U.S. citizens.
- Married couples must demonstrate a marriage of at least two years and some courts may require a longer relationship history.
- If hoping to adopt a younger child, at least one spouse, or the single applicant, must have Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) status or be a Non-Resident Indian (NRI). Click here for OCI information: www.indianembassy.org/oci.php. You can begin the adoption process at the same time you apply for OCI status.
- Married applicants must have a maximum composite age of 90 years to a child in the age group of birth to three years. Each spouse must also be at least 25, but not more than 50. To adopt a child above three years of age, the maximum composite age is 105 years. Each spouse should not be less than 30 and still not above the age of 50. Single women must be between the ages of 30-50. The maximum age shall be 45 to adopt children from birth to age three years and 50 for children above three years.
- Applicants should have good health and not have a “contagious or terminal disease or any such mental or physical condition which may prevent them from taking care of a child.”
- Applicants “should have adequate financial resources to provide a good upbringing to the child.”
- Applicants hoping to adopt again from India must have finalized any previous adoptions.
- Some courts may have additional requirements.
- Undertake a home study by an agency licensed in your state of residence. ATWA does not accept home studies from independent social workers, even if permitted in your state. ATWA collaborates with other agencies for home studies as exempt providers. There will be no U.S. supervised providers at the home study stage.
- Complete adoption education during home study.
- Apply for I-800A approval from CIS.
- Prepare dossier of documents required by India.
- Wait for a referral to an orphanage (RIPA or Recognized Indian Placement Agency) from CARA. A wait of 9-12 months from the time of adoption registration with CARA is expected for younger children, but could be longer. OCI/NRI applicants are exempt from ACA clearance but must follow all other CARA guidelines.
- Families receive a medical report, social history and photos on the child. Background history before orphanage admission and birthparent information is generally not available.
- Accept referral and file I-800 with CIS.
- ATWA may be able to arrange a visit with the child at your additional expense, but only after I-800 approval.
- Adoption processing, including the No Objection Certificate (NOC) in India takes about 8-10 months and depends on the region where the child resides and the court. Holidays, changes of judges, strikes, the political climate, RIPA re-licensing, and CARA policy can all affect time frames.
- ATWA may be able to obtain updated information during this time but cannot guarantee the frequency of updates. Families are not encouraged to send their referred child anything other than a photo book. This is because the other children cannot share in these special gifts.
- A child’s legal status can be processed under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act (HAMA), the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA) or the Guardianship and Ward Act (GAWA). Most of ATWA’s adoptions were processed as guardianships, but CARA is now encouraging adoption finalization in India.
- If a guardianship is granted in India, post-placement visits and reports will be required in the U.S. In this case, ATWA must have a supervised provider agreement in place with the agency completing the post-placement. This requirement does not apply if the adoption is finalized in India.
- Travel of about 10 days by the single parent or the married couple is required to pick up the child. The parent(s) will travel first to the child’s location.
- All visa processing is now done only at the U.S. embassy. Therefore parents should plan to exit India from New Delhi. Children over the age of two years are subject to special TB screening procedures which could result in delay. You may read about the TB protocols here:http://adoption.state.gov/country_information/country_specific_alerts_notices.php?alert_notice_type=notices&alert_notice_file=india_1
- Complete post-placement/adoption as ordered by the court in India. The CARA requirement is four reports at 6, 12, 18, and 24 months following court. However, individual courts may have different or additional requirements. A common court order is four times per year for the first two years and then twice per year for the next three years (five years total). Photos are required. Post-placement/adoption requirements may vary or change.
- If guardianship is granted, it must then result in a finalized adoption in your state of residence after your return to the U.S. You must also meet the post-placement requirements of your state. ATWA requires at least two visits through an agency, unless your state of residence requires more. For example, California requires four visits with a social worker over at least a six month period before court finalization.
- Your child is a U.S. citizen upon entry to the U.S. if the adoption is finalized in India. If finalized in the U.S., citizenship attaches on the court date.
- Apply for Certificate of U.S. Citizenship, if adoption finalized in the U.S.
Fees and Expenses:
ATWA’s program fees encompass all professional services for the adoption. Additional expenses paid to third parties may include the home study, CIS fees, document preparation, travel, U.S. visa fees and the cost of finalizing the adoption in the U.S. A federal tax credit up to about $12,670 for 2012 is available to offset adoption fees and expenses and generally cannot be claimed until after finalization.