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How Does AFFEO help Orphans in India?

October 16, 2018
The second article in our series about why only a fraction of orphans are legally adoptable in India.

First, instead of starting our own initiatives, AFFEO supports domestic partners by providing assistance, advice, and accountability.  This benefits our mission in two ways:

1. If the initiatives are pre-existing, they are also already in the hearts of the national leaders who understand their countries customs, norms, needs, and viable solutions for the respective nations.

2. The endeavors will be more sustainable and continue even if we are no longer involved financially.

 

Our Partnership In India: Catalysts for Social Action

CSA is a Non-Governmental Organization that exclusively concentrates on adoption and orphan care standards in India and has worked to lead the scene since 2002. They are based in Mumbai, India, but also have satellite offices in the state of Maharashtra, Goa, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha (Orissa). They are a well-respected organization and they have an outstanding relationship with India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which has allowed and encouraged them to bridge the gaps in the frame and structure of India’s local adoption system.  

As mentioned in my last article, there were three main reasons for why only a fraction of children were adoptable. Let’s talk about how AFFEO and CSA work together to help.

 

Failing Systems and Infrastructure

As discussed in my last article, CARA faced lack of resources and infrastructure to check in with prospective parents on the possibility of matching with a child that did not meet their exact and original expectations when they first applied for adoption. Because of this, CSA staff volunteered to meet that need and aided by calling those potential parents. As you may have guessed, those parents were more than willing!

However, CARA has recently implemented an automated system that addresses some of these problems!

Instead of letting their method become redundant or obsolete, CSA shifted their strategy to provide a hotline for adoption questions. In this way, we still contribute to an incomplete infrastructure and system.

 

Lack of Financing for Background Checks

While CSA’s main objective is increasing adoption numbers, they additionally provide assistance to Indian orphanages for this purpose.  Their experience has revealed the impossibility of their main objective if children’s home are unequipped, unlicensed, and improperly trained on registering children for adoption and caring for them until that time.  At this time, they support 46 childcare institutions and adoption agencies that cover more than 2200 children. As a direct result of their efforts, over 1215 adoptions have occurred.[1] 

 

Complex Adoption Law(s) and Social Norms

And finally, aside from the adoption law (the Adoption Regulations of 2017 based on the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act of 2015 and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules of 2016) and the religious laws that are still being used with practices that are not regulated consistently, there are the social norms. There is a deep stigma surrounding adoption in general in India and CSA helps to alleviate the pressure and negative connotations involved with that stigma. For example, CSA has published a book of testimonies from adoptive parents and it is now available for those who are interested in adoption. This has been a huge resource for families who feel alone in the process.

 

 

Further Contributions in Our Partnership

How Does AFFEO help Orphans in India?

Maybe you’ve had the opportunity to read about Radha?

In short, Radha was abandoned in an orphanage when she was very young because she has sickle cell anemia, a blood disorder that can cause pain, fatigue, and infections. This genetic condition, also known as sickle cell disease, classified her as a child with special needs and would likely delay or prevent her from ever becoming adopted. CSA’s involvement and efforts helped Radha to be placed on the adoption registry, and in just a FEW months, a wonderful couple with two biological children fell in love with her! She is now with her family at home, where her siblings teach her to speak both Hindi and English. The family loves to go sailing and travel together, and they bond more and more every day.

She’s just one of millions of children in India who have experienced the pain and instability of wondering if someone will want and cherish them, regardless of health, skin color, religion, and cultural norms.

We KNOW that there is a family out there for each one of these children. Our partnership with CSA allows us to achieve the goal of finding those forever families for them, and we help CSA by providing the funding, resources, and backup support by bringing in trainers who are experts in trauma-informed care for children, and giving them opportunities to network with more orphan care professionals internationally.

 

Resources:

[1] 215 adoptions completely because of their efforts and over 1000 with their assistance.

 


How Does AFFEO help Orphans in India?

About the author: Hi there! My name is Rachel. I grew up with the military, and then married military, and I have moved 22 times and counting in my life. I feel that moving so much has given me the gift of getting to see and experience different cultures and cuisines, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I consider myself to be a family-focused extrovert who loves tea, art, food, anthropology, and helping people around the world.

My goal in writing these blogs is to bring deeper insight into what we do at A Family For Every Orphan and to give more detail into how we help these children and their unique circumstances.

 

Why Only a Fraction of Orphans are Legally Adoptable in India

September 21, 2018
Why Only a Fraction of Orphans are Legally Adoptable in India

Hi there! My name is Rachel, and I am the new Blogger for AFFEO. I grew up with the military, and then married military, and I have moved 22 times and counting in my life. I feel that moving so much has given me the gift of getting to see and experience different cultures and cuisines, and I wouldn’t change it for anything. I consider myself to be a family-focused extrovert who loves tea, art, food, anthropology, and helping people around the world.

My goal in writing these blogs is to bring deeper insight into what we do at A Family For Every Orphan and to give more detail into how we help these children and their unique circumstances.

Until recently, I was unaware of the STAGGERING number of orphans and the bleak situation that most of them find themselves in India. I had been asked to write a blog covering these topics and to show how A Family For Every Orphan helps with this, but it seems there is SO MUCH information, that I actually need to write two! In this first one, I’ll discuss the background information, and in part 2, I’ll discuss how AFFEO and our partners assist.

 

First, let’s break out the statistics for some credibility and background info.

 

  • There are approximately 1.356 billion people currently living in India [1]
  • Of those, approximately 31 million children are orphans
    • Some of these children may live in the street, in orphanages, or in the home of a single parent or relative
    • They may or may not be legally adoptable
  • There are 232,937 children in institutions [2]
    • This number is likely much higher due to underreporting
  • There are currently 20,000 potential parents on a waitlist for Domestic Adoption in India, while only 2,000 kids are currently registered. [3]

This means only .9% of the orphans in India are currently legally adoptable.

 

.9%

 

.9%

 

.9%

 

Less than one percent. I still have trouble processing this.

 

But why?! Well… in a nutshell, there are three reasons:

 

1. Complex Adoption Law(s) and Social Norms

Technically, there is only one relevant adoption law in India- the adoption regulations of 2017 based on the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act of 2015 and Juvenile Justice (JJ) Rules of 2016. However, there are many old religious laws still being used and as practices are not regulated consistently, the issue becomes even more complicated.  [4,5,6]

The outlook on orphans in India is that they belong in orphanages. Plain and simple. Moreover, there is a stigma that hovers over adoption in India. Indian culture places value on the ideas of fertility and family. So much so, that the very idea of adoption suggests a defectiveness or inadequacy in a marriage or an individual. Adoption is an absolute last resort, with couples even choosing secret gamete donation as a means of bypassing infertility before adoption.

2. Lack of Financing for Background Checks

It costs about $70 per child to run background checks to make sure they are legally adoptable for our partners in India. (An all too common story is someone finds a small child on the streets who can’t communicate who their parents are, and so they are placed into an orphanage, even if the parents do not want to terminate their rights. The background checks help by insuring that this isn’t the case before a child is adopted.) But there’s no official financing for these background checks, and the orphanage directors certainly cannot afford it. It would cost $16.3 million to run these checks for every child, and those are just the children who are known, in orphanages!

3. Failing Systems and Infrastructure

When potential parents look to adopt, they fill out a form stating what a “perfect match” will be for them. (i.e. a male baby with no medical issues and light skin.) The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) of India doesn’t have a department to follow up with prospective parents on these matches. Without a division to follow up, CARA doesn’t have the means to check if these parents would be interested in adopting a child that does not exactly meet the original specifications. Parents are placed on a waiting list until their “exact category” is found.

And it gets worse…

As stated earlier, CARA’s system only holds 2000 children at one time. [7]

2000

This means millions of children can’t become legally adoptable because the government has not applied adequate resources towards getting the children registered. And the system can’t generate a profile for them until those first 2000 are adopted. Which of course, is at a standstill, since there is no department to check with parents about potential matches outside of the original specifications. Therefore, millions of children are left without a chance for a forever family.

This is where A Family for Every Orphan comes in. Check back soon for Part 2 – How AFFEO and Our Partners Help.


 

Resources:

[1] United Nations Estimate, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division.

[2] 'About 2,000 CCIs not registered despite repeated calls, may face closure’. (Aug 19, 2018). Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/about-2000-ccis-not-registered-despite-repeated-calls-may-face-closure/articleshow/65459522.cms?

[3]  Adoption: Only 1 child for 10 parents in waiting. (Aug 6, 2018). Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/adoption-only-1-child-for-10-parents-in-waiting/articleshow/65291133.cms

[4]The Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act. 1956. (India) Available at: http://www.vakilno1.com/bareacts/hinduadoptionsact/hinduadoptionsact.html. (Accessed: Sept 18, 2018)

[5] Rizvi, Sayyid Muhammad. (Oct 29, 1990). Adoption in Islam. Referenced from https://www.al-islam.org/articles/adoption-islam-sayyid-muhammad-rizvi

[6] The Guardians and Wards Act. 1890. (India) Available at: http://www.helplinelaw.com/docs/the-guardians-and-wards-act-1890. (Accessed: Sept 18, 2018).

[7]Adoption: Only 1 child for 10 parents in waiting. (Aug 6, 2018). Retrieved from https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/adoption-only-1-child-for-10-parents-in-waiting/articleshow/65291133.cms

 

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

January 19, 2018

Highlights from 2017

Goodbye Orphanage, Hello Family 

 


 

2017 Impact Summary

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

 


 

 

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

A Family for Milana! 

Milana was abandoned at an orphanage in Ukraine when she was only 1 month old. Orphanages there are typically overcrowded, often housing up to 250 children. This results in poor nutrition, unsanitary living conditions, abuse, insufficient access to medical care, and a complete lack of positive adult interaction. Milana craved to have a Mama and Papa—a family to call her own. 

When Alexander and Yana met Milana at the orphanage, they immediately knew she was meant to be their daughter. The only thing that stood in the way of Milana’s adoption was a furnished bedroom in their home and funds for her medical expenses. Thanks to you, these needs were quickly met and Milana was officially adopted! Milana now has her Mama and Papa and will grow up knowing the love of family. No assigned “value” can be placed on the worth of Milana’s adoption. Milana will grow up with two loving parents that cherish her and will see her through life’s ups and downs. Your generous giving towards adoptions like Milana’s is not only changing that child’s life, but their family as well.  

Thank you! 
 

 

 


 

2017 Financial Overview 

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

 

 


 

2017 Annual Report - See the impact you made in the lives of orphans!

A Family for Othniel!

“God is so good, God is so good, God is so good, He’s so good to me.” Singing along with family, his brother playing the piano and his father leading the melody, Othniel (pictured second from the left) bounces up and down in his sister’s arms – the perfect picture of love and family. But just one year ago, this scene was nearly impossible to imagine. 

As family of nine, Sam Raj and his wife Mahima thought their family was complete. But as Sam Raj says, there is never a full stop (.) always a comma (,) when it comes to family, and that became a reality for their own family when they met Othniel. 

Othniel was born without eyes and a severe case of cerebral palsy. He was given up to an orphanage in India shortly after he was born. There, his special needs were not attended to and he missed many developmental milestones. Othniel lay on his back in crib, alone, surviving on only bottles of milk. 

At three years old, Othniel could not speak, stand, walk, and eat solid food.

When Sam Raj and Mahima met Othniel at the orphanage, they knew he was meant to be their son. Naming him Othniel (meaning God is my strength), Sam Raj and Mahima prayerfully adopted Othniel into their family. A miracle in and of itself, as they had to get special permission from the local government because they had already adopted so many children.

Through your giving, Othniel’s adoption was fully funded! 

Othniel’s adoption was vital to his survival. Once Othniel started receiving care from his family, he began standing, walking with the help of his family members, eating solid foods, and even singing! Thank you for making this adoption a reality for Othniel. The words of Othniel’s song ring true – God is so good. 
 

 

Click here to read more of the 2017 Annual Report! 

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