Single-parent norm hurts our conscience, so no adoptions, says Missionaries of Charity

Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said Thursday that the homes do not want to “come under a uniform secular agenda”.

Written by Abantika Ghosh | New Delhi | Updated: October 9, 2015 9:57 am
single parent, single parent adoption, child adoption, Missionaries of Charity, Women and Child Development Minister, Maneka Gandhi, Missionaries adoption homes, WCD ministers, Juvenile Justice, Juvenile Justice Bill, CWC, indian express Adoptions stopped at 15 homes across country.

Refusing to allow single-parent adoptions as laid down in new guidelines, the Missionaries of Charity have stopped adoption agency operations at more than 15 adoption homes across the country for two months now. Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said Thursday that the homes do not want to “come under a uniform secular agenda”.

In August, less than two months after the revised guidelines came into effect, these homes stopped facilitating adoption of children, shifting out the remaining children to other registered homes. The ones that are already registered for adoption will be given out as and when willing families turn up.

“Some of the adoption homes run by Missionaries of Charity want to close down because they do not want to come under a uniform secular agenda, they do not want to comply with the revised guidelines. However, we are trying to persuade them, they are good people,” Gandhi told a two-day conference of state WCD ministers to discuss central schemes for women and children.

Watch Video: Missionaries of Charity Discontinue Adoptions Due To Single Parent Norm

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Under the new rules, a registered adoption agency can be suspended for violation.

Gandhi is known to be passionate about adoption and her ministry decided not to wait for Parliament to pass the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Bill, 2014 for new adoption rules to come into effect. It instead notified the rules under the existing Act.

Largely because of bottlenecks at various levels, rates of adoption are very poor in India — only about 1,200 children have been adopted so fat this year. There are 9,000 parents waiting to adopt but only 800 children are free for adoption.

Gandhi said she wants next year’s target to be 50,000 adoptions as many Indian-origin parents settled abroad have now started moving to China for babies as the Indian systems are too cumbersome.

On the decision of Nirmala Shishu Bhawans — the children’s homes run by Missionaries of Charity (MC) — to stop adoption services, Veerendra Mishra, Secretary, Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) told The Indian Express, “There are two major points of conflict. First, MC will not allow adoption by single parents; second, they also have issues with couples, one or both of whom has had a divorce earlier.”

Nirmala Shishu Bhawan in the Civil Lines area of North Delhi is one of the homes that continues to house destitute and special children but no longer offers any of them for adoption. The signage at the entrance declaring registration timings for adoption remains but there are no babies waiting for families.

“We had four babies who were up for adoption, we have moved them out. Since August, we have closed down all our adoption agencies around the country. The new guidelines hurt our conscience. They are certainly not for religious people like us, may be they are for secular people as the minister says. But we are concerned about children and their future. What if the single parent who we give our baby turns out to be gay or lesbian. What security or moral upbringing will these children get? Our rules allow only married couples to adopt,” Sister Amala, in-charge of the home said.

The MC, she said, also had issues with the new practice of allowing prospective parents to choose from among six babies, as it makes children “a commodity and not a gift”.

“Mother’s idea was adoption to counter abortion. When a woman gives birth to a baby, is she allowed a choice? She gets what God gifts her. Here too we allow only one chance, we match the baby as per the parents’ background, skin colour etc but parents are not allowed a choice, even if the child has a deformity. We cannot allow parents one option out of six to adopt children,” she said.

Calls to the Mother House in Kolkata did not elicit any response. Sister Mary who answered the phone said: “It is not possible to give a response today, as it is prayer day.”

At the conference Thursday, Gandhi named individual states and their shortcomings in adoption, urging them to set up state-level adoption authorities and district child protection units as soon as possible.She also pulled up states like Maharashtra, Karnataka and West Bengal where large numbers of adoptions are pending because of the tardiness of child welfare committees (CWC) in submitting home study reports after inspecting the households of prospective parents.

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First Published on: October 9, 2015 3:11 am
  1. A
    Ajay Pathak
    Oct 9, 2015 at 7:12 pm
    only about 1,200 children have been adopted so "fat" this year. FAT FAT FAT!
    Reply
    1. A
      ajeet
      Oct 9, 2015 at 6:38 am
      Those who don't want to follow Indian laws can move to other countries.
      Reply
      1. K
        Karunakaran
        Oct 9, 2015 at 6:50 am
        A country prospers when laws are made by the people, for the people. Here we have laws made at the whims of a minister. So perhaps you are suggesting the minister moves to another country? Vande mataram.
        Reply
        1. K
          Karunakaran
          Oct 9, 2015 at 5:40 am
          Can the chaiwallah and his illiterate team can ever get anything right?
          Reply
          1. R
            Raj
            Oct 12, 2015 at 11:22 am
            Amen to that.
            Reply
            1. R
              Raj
              Oct 12, 2015 at 11:17 am
              Laws are always made by "elected representatives" - like the minister. NOBODY voted from Missionaries of Charity mister - but laks of people voted for Maneka hi and crores of people for the BJP. And in a country like India following the law is not "optional" - it is mandatory irrespective of what your "God says" or what you believe. Secularism isn't the prerogative of Christians or minorities only - secularism doesn't see religion at all. That is why there is only ONE LAW - for everybody and if these "Missionaries" can't follow the law -then they have no business in India.
              Reply
              1. R
                Raj
                Oct 12, 2015 at 11:13 am
                MOC converts them to Jesus, gives them bible and that is a "big kindness" ? There are tens of thousands of orphanages in India that do not do the above and still take care of their children. MOC's Charity is impure in motives and impure in philosophy - that is why they are having trouble with the new regulations because their priority is not the welfare of the child - but rather their own ideology and religious doctrine.
                Reply
                1. R
                  Raj
                  Oct 12, 2015 at 11:19 am
                  This land is bequeathed to ALL Indian citizens - by all our forefathers. And as Indian citizens it is our right to elect leaders who will p laws and make regulations on our behalf. Guru, your Gfather didn't bequeath "secularism" to India or the ability to you and yours to follow what laws you "like" and ignore the ones you dont. Keep your silly lectures about what Indians are bequeathed with to yourself.
                  Reply
                  1. R
                    Raj
                    Oct 12, 2015 at 10:53 am
                    Welcome to the "Journalism of Courage".
                    Reply
                    1. R
                      Raj
                      Oct 12, 2015 at 11:05 am
                      You mean go to another country and try to convert the poor and the desute to your religion by inducing them with "gifts", "prayer" and " bibles" instead of medicine and blankets ?? Sorry, no Indian can stoop so low and be so perverted . But you say we have enemies from within - that is true, but you are wrong about who it is - it is the deable people trying to exploit the poor, the miserable and the suffering to push their bible ideologies and to prey upon people's desperation and use monetary inducements to convert these people to expand your foothold in this country through religious conversions and destroying the indigenous culture.
                      Reply
                      1. R
                        Raj
                        Oct 12, 2015 at 11:11 am
                        You nor the Missionaries of Charity are not arbitrators of what consutes "love" or what is "adequate love " . An order of celibate females who have never known (allegedly) with a male and are themselves "Single" are in no position to discriminate and look down on other Single people as being "inferior" in "love" to couples.
                        Reply
                        1. R
                          Raj
                          Oct 12, 2015 at 11:09 am
                          Your allegation is ridiculous. Single parents are legitimate recipients for adoption ALL ACROSS THE WORLD and there is absolutely ZERO evidence that single parents are inferior to two parents in ANY WAY. Two useless self-destructive parents are not in any way/shape/form better than one caring and responsible adult . And yes, if a parent is unable or if there are problems with the adoption parents do "return" the child to the orphanage so that the child can be better placed - this is true for both singles and couples who adopt - the fact that you are unaware shows that your objections are born from ignorance nothing more.
                          Reply
                          1. G
                            G Venugopalan
                            Oct 10, 2015 at 3:47 pm
                            MC is right! on both the points of the child requiring both the parents and also on they can't choose. After exhausting all two parents' requirements if any child is still left we can look at genuine single parent.
                            Reply
                            1. P
                              PKR
                              Oct 9, 2015 at 8:07 am
                              Child welfare and safety should be the only factor to be considered for adoption.The missionaries are right in insisting on married couples to whom they can trust the safety of the child.But the insistence of the parents not being divorced is too utopian and the missionaries should have a rethink on the same.
                              Reply
                              1. M
                                Muham Jabs
                                Oct 12, 2015 at 10:18 pm
                                It has nothing to do with "Bureaucratic processes and religious beliefs" it is common sense that the children (of any religion or caste) should be on the safe hands.
                                Reply
                                1. B
                                  bijoy mardi
                                  Oct 9, 2015 at 10:43 pm
                                  It has never been heard that MOC gave a child in the wrong hand. The good will of the MOC always shown light to any child. Please don't bring them under any rules and obligation. Their contribution is unique in its own way blessed by God...
                                  Reply
                                  1. B
                                    bijoy mardi
                                    Oct 9, 2015 at 10:47 pm
                                    you can move MOC to other countries... but remember you Indian do not have big hearts as big as MOC... you produce orphan and MOC gives them future and new lives.
                                    Reply
                                    1. S
                                      Sanjay Kumar
                                      Oct 9, 2015 at 10:30 am
                                      Let the Christians under attack rant start again...... Ribeiro, Susheel Kumar, Ashish Nandy, Dereck,......on the mark
                                      Reply
                                      1. N
                                        Nithya
                                        Oct 9, 2015 at 8:39 am
                                        At least the laws were not made by your whims and prejudices, thank God! Otherwise to appease the middle age ideologies of certain religions, we would be stepping over the rights of other minorities(not religious) left and right
                                        Reply
                                        1. N
                                          Nithya
                                          Oct 9, 2015 at 8:35 am
                                          Its a myth that only married people can raise a child properly. Look around yourself and you will know what I mean. A single parent is better than being with a couple who are married in name only. In fact, the youngest Delhi rapist was from such a broken home.
                                          Reply
                                          1. S
                                            Singh
                                            Oct 9, 2015 at 9:31 am
                                            I have the highest regard for Missionaries of charity who feed, shelter. educate the abandoned, orphaned or the sick and they do an incredible service to society that millions are incapable of doing. But in this case I don't agree with them at all... look at the divorce rates and the number of people who stay single. Not only should law of the land be respected, society has changed immensely. Their personal religious beliefs are not reason enough to deny love and parenthood to a child who desperately needs it. I hope they can reconsider their stand.
                                            Reply
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