What are the Rules for Adoption in India? 

by  Adv. Praneeth GN  




3 mins


Adoption rules in india


Adoption was introduced to give orphaned, abandoned, and relinquished children the right to family. The goal of introducing this notion was to ensure the performance of one’s funeral rights and the continuance of one’s lineage. Adoption was seen to be the finest way to restore family life to a kid who had been separated from his or her original family.

Many international Human Rights Accords clearly specify the affirmative obligation to offer protection and aid to children, such as the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is a repository of different rights pertaining to children. Other cultures, such as Muslims, Parsis, and Christians, do not recognize the notion of adoption.

What is Adoption?

Adoption is a legal procedure that permits someone to become a parent to a kid even if the parent and child are not blood relatives. Adoptive parents, however, are the child’s parents in every other respect.

Adoption, unlike guardianship or other institutions created to care for children, is intended to achieve a permanent change in status and, as such, requires society’s acceptance, either via legal or religious permission. Historically, some civilizations adopted particular adoption laws, while others employed fewer formal procedures. Modern adoption systems, which emerged in the twentieth century, are often controlled by extensive rules and regulations. To understand the process, get Family Law Advice.

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Adoption in India

According to official adoption data, 3,559 children were adopted in India between April 2020 and March 2021. There were 3,142 domestic adoptions and 417 international adoptions. Three thousand seven hundred forty-five children were adopted in the preceding year. Taking note of the country’s poor adoption rate, the Supreme Court granted a petition on April 12 to streamline the legal process for child adoption in India.

The Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre on April 12 in response to a plea brought by the NGO ‘The Temple of Healing,’ represented by petitioner Piyush Saxena. In his courtroom presentation, Mr. Saxena said, “As per the data available in the public domain, there are only 4,000 child adoptions annually but till last year we had three crore orphan children in the country. There are several infertile couples who are willing to have a child.”

Child Adoption Resource Authority (CARA).

CARA is an autonomous and statutory organization of the Government of India’s Ministry of Women and Child Development. The system functions as a centralized digital database of adoptable children and potential adoptive parents. It serves as the main organization for Indian child adoption and is responsible for monitoring and regulating both in-country and inter-country adoptions.

CARA has been recognized as the Central Authority to handle inter-country adoptions in compliance with the rules of the 1993 Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, which the Government of India signed in 2003. 

CARA primarily works with recognized adoption agencies to place “orphaned, abandoned, and relinquished” children. CARA permitted persons in a live-in relationship to adopt children from and in 2018.

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Stakeholders of the Adoption Process

The following Stakeholders are involved in the process of Adoption:

1. Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) – CARA oversees the smooth operation of the adoption process by issuing Adoption Guidelines outlining the procedures and processes that all stakeholders in the adoption program must follow.

2. State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA) – In collaboration with the Central Adoption Resource Authority, the State Adoption Resource Agency serves as a nodal authority within the state to promote and supervise adoption and non-institutional care.

3. Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) – The State Government recognizes Specialised Adoption Agency (SAA) under sub-section 4 of Section 41 of the Act for the purpose of putting children for adoption.

4. Authorised Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA)- An AFAA is a foreign social or child welfare agency that has been authorized by the Central Adoption Resource Authority on the advice of the concerned Central Authority or Government Department of that country to coordinate all issues pertaining to the adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that country.

5. District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) – A District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) is a unit established at the district level by the State Government under Section 61A of the Act. It identifies orphaned, abandoned, and lost infants in the district and has them legally deemed adoptable by the Child Welfare Committee.

Who is allowed to adopt a child?

Prospective adoptive parents must be physically, intellectually, and emotionally healthy, financially capable, and eager to adopt a child. They must also be free of any life-threatening medical conditions. Any hopeful adoptive parent, regardless of marital status or biological son or daughter, is eligible to adopt a child.

A single female can adopt a kid of either gender, but a single guy cannot adopt a girl child. In the event of a couple, both spouses’ approval is essential. No child shall be placed for adoption with a spouse unless they have been in a stable married relationship for at least two years.

The maturity /age of prospective adoptive parents as of the date of registration shall be taken into account when determining the suitability and willingness of prospective adoptive parents to seek children of various age groups. The age difference between the kid and any potential adoptive parent should be at least 25 years.

 The prospective adoptive parents’ age at the time of registration will determine their eligibility. In the case of family adoptions and step-parent adoptions, the age limits for prospective adoptive parents do not apply.

Couples with three or more children are not eligible for adoption, save in the case of special needs children as described in sub-regulation (21) of regulation 2, difficult to place children as defined in regulation 50, and relative adoption and step-parent adoption.

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How to adopt a child?

Only by submitting an online application at www.cara.nic.in and following the processes outlined in the Adoption Regulations, 2017 may a child be adopted. Please visit the website www.cara.nic.in for further information. Get Online Legal Advice

To adopt a kid, you must now register online through CARINGS. If you are unfamiliar with/unable to register online, you can contact your district’s District Child Protection Officer (DCPO).


The adoption rules have greatly improved, as has the standing of women in society. However, some communities are unable to legally adopt a kid due to a lack of a universal civil code on adoption. Only by implementing a consistent civil code would all communities in India be able to legally adopt a child, therefore improving the health of childless parents. The adopted child will be well-cared for and protected, and he or she will have a wonderful future. 

Modern adoption systems, which emerged in the twentieth century, are often controlled by extensive rules and regulations. To understand the process, get Family Law Advice.

Adv. Praneeth GN

Adv. Praneeth GN


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Praneeth GN is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct. He graduated with (B.A. and LL.B) from the K.L.E. Society Law College. With more than 8 years of experience in handling legal cases independently. He has the potential to understand and explain complicated legal words in simple terms to clients.

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