India Adoption – Process, Costs and Adoption Agencies

As the second most populous country in the world with over 1.2 billion people, there are many children in India waiting for find their forever families.

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India Adoption Quick Facts

  • Hague Convention Country: Yes
  • Central Adoption Authority: Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA)
  • Average Time to Complete an Adoption: 2-4 years
  • Average Cost for Adoption: $30,000-$40,000
  • Average yearly U.S. Adoptions: 100-150

Who Can Adopt in India?

In order to adopt in India, you must meet the eligibility requirements of India and the Hague Adoption Convention. Below, you will find the criteria for parents who want to adopt in India.

Age

Parents must be at least 25 years old and no older than 45 if they are adopting a child under four.

If the child is between four and eight, the parents must be at least 29 and no older than 50 years old, with a combined age of no more than 100 years.

If the child is over eight years old, parent must be at least 33 and no more than 55, with a combined age of no more than 110 years. These requirements may be waived in special circumstances.

Gender

A single male is not permitted to adopt a female child.

Health

Parents must be in good health and have no disease, mental condition, or physical condition that would prevent them from providing proper care to a child.

Marital Status

If married, couples must be married for at least two years before they can adopt in India. Same-sex couples are prohibited from adopting.

Employment

Parents must meet the CARA definition of financial capability. Speak to an adoption professional for details on financial requirements.

Number of Children

Adoptive families must have fewer than four children in order to adopt a child in India.

Who Can be Adopted in India?

Because India is party to the Hague Adoption Convention, a child must meet the Convention’s requirements for an eligible child as well as the following requirements in India:

  • The child has been determined to be free for adoption by a Child Welfare Committee (CWC)
  • The child is 18 years of age or younger (Note: In most cases, the child must be under 16 at the time parents apply to adopt the child, according to the Hague Convention)

India also strongly encourages keeping sibling groups together. If you are interested in adopting a Tibetan child, you will need to consult the Indian Ministry of External Affairs instead of CARA.

India Adoption Process

In addition to meeting the Hague Convention guidelines, you must follow the adoption process in compliance with Indian law. Read the sections below to learn how to adopt in India.

How long does it take to adopt from India?

For most families, the adoption process takes between two and four years. The largest contributing factor to the adoption process in India is the wait for a child referral. Parents can potentially reduce their wait times by being open to special needs adoptions or adopting a boy.

How Do I Find an Adoption Professional?

Your adoption agency must be enlisted with CARA and Hague-accredited as per the Universal Accreditation Act. See some of the agencies listed below to learn more about who can help your with your India adoption:

How Do I Become Eligible for Adoption?

First, you must apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to be approved by the United States to adopt. If you are adopting from a Hague Convention country such as India, you will do this by filling out Form I-800A. You will also need to include a home study, fingerprints, and a background check. Once USCIS has approved your information, it will be sent on to CARA for approval in India.

Once you have been deemed eligible to adopt by both countries, you will begin the wait for a referral. On average, this will take from six to eighteen months.

What Do I Do Once I Receive a Referral?

CARA will contact your adoption service provider with a proposed match, to which you must reply within 96 hours. If you feel that you are unable to provide for the needs of a particular child, you may decline a referral. If you accept the referral, your adoption professional will contact the central authority in India.

Once you accept a referral, the next step is to apply again to USCIS, this time for your child’s immigration eligibility. To do this, you will send them the Form I-800, which USCIS will use to make sure the child meets the definition of a Hague Convention adoptee.

Next, you must submit an immigrant visa application to India’s central authority, who will approve the application if all requirements are met. The time between getting a referral and gaining the necessary approval is usually around seven to eleven months, after which time you will be ready to travel and meet your child.

How Do I Complete the Adoption?

After you have completed the above steps, you will be ready to travel to India to adopt your child. Usually, only one trip is required and typically lasts two to four weeks. During this time, you will finalize your child’s adoption and wait for approval on any outstanding documents.

Before you return home, you will need to apply for a U.S. birth certificate and Indian passport for your child. You will also need to attend a visa interview with the U.S. Embassy to finalize your visa application. When you have received all of the above documents for your child, you will be ready to return home and begin life as a family.

Financing Your India Adoption

The average total cost of adoption in India is between $30,000 and $40,000, although some families to pay significantly more or less. This will include expenses such as:

  • Adoption agency fees
  • Foreign program fees
  • Travel expenses
  • Home study costs
  • Documentation and application fees
  • Third party costs

These expenses are paid not all at once, but over the course of the adoption journey. Many agencies and independent organizations offer loans and grants to help families achieve their dreams of adoption. If you have questions about financial aid, consult an adoption professional.

India Adoption Travel Tips

While you travel in India, it is important to know what to expect so you can prepare for your big trip. In addition to practicing general safety, here are just a few suggestions to help you in your travels:

  • If you are near the Indian coastline, take caution when getting in or near the water, and look for any warnings that may be posted. The water at the coastline has a strong and potentially dangerous undertow, and lifeguards are scarce.
  • India offers opportunities for wildlife safaris. If you choose to participate in one, always keep a safe distance from animals and do some research to determine if guides are trained and licensed.
  • Travelers with disabilities may have trouble in some areas, as accessibility is limited in many areas. If you need travel accommodations with accessibility modifications, the Dehli metro system is the most reliable option.

U.S. Embassy in India

Whenever you travel abroad, you should have the U.S. Embassy contact information on hand in the event of an emergency. Below, you can find how to contact the U.S. Embassy in New Dehli:

Address: Shantipath, Chanakyapuri, New Delhi – 110021, India

Phone #: +(91) (11) 2419-8000

Email: acsnd@state.gov