December 12, 1999
BHUBANESWAR, DEC 11: With thousands of children in the age group of 3 to 15 becoming orphans after the super cyclone, the need for adoption has gained significance as a cash-strapped State Government still struggles to work out a proper rehabilitation plan for them. But it’s not going to be easy in a state with dismal record in adoption.
The odds are stacked against the interested parents from the word `go’ who might have to wait for six months to one year. If the Hindu parents manage to choose a child for adoption from the five agencies in the State accredited by Central Adoption Resource Agency (CARA), then they have to apply to the juvenile welfare boards (JWB) of the districts concerned for necessary clearance with a clutch of documents like home study report, date of birth certificates and financial certificates for declaring the status of the child to be adopted. After the clearance from the JWBs they have to file a case before the district judge under the Foster Care Agreement Bond for parenthood ofthe child to be adopted.
However, with none of the JWBs in the districts working except Cuttack, the parents have no other way but to apply to the district collector, who is the final authority in such matters. But with the district collector busy with supervising his district, such works remain pending.
As usual, the cases are lost among myriad other cases and take time for disposal. “The process is painfully slow. Slower even for the parents from outside the country,” said Sailabala Behera of Basundhara, a home for destitute women, and one of the five agencies in the State accrediated by CARA. The other four are Manojmanjari Sishubhavan in Keonjhar, Subhadra Mahtab Seva Sadan in G Udaygiri and Nilachal Seva Pratisthan in Puri.
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The adoption record is also very poor. Last year only 65 were adopted, while in States like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh more than a thousand children get adopted every year. However, State Council for Child Welfare secretary Sabitri Sahooclaims that adoptions have actually increased in the recent years.
“But in Orissa, the parents would like to adopt a new-born or at best one-year-old child. The child has to be a male and fair,” said Sahoo. Marwaris are very particular about male child, she added.
the South Indians don’t mind adopting female child. A deformed child is an absolute `no’ with the Indians, but the foreigners don’t have any such considerations.
Commissioner-cum-secretary in the woman and child development department Tarun Kanti Mishra, however, said that the State Government wouldn’t encourage individual adoption and instead go for community-based rehabilitation. “It would be our last option,” he declared.
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