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Times of India
17 May 2010
By Seethalakshmi S
Bangalore, India

Short Cut To Adoption
Some hospitals selling babies for a price
Couples waiting for adoption have now found an easier route to get their bundle of joy. They book their request with a hospital which, in turn, happily sells an abandoned child for a price.

The Karnataka Child Protection Commission has been receiving complaints about hospitals illegally selling children for adoption, while the Adoption Coordination Agency (ACA) has stopped getting children from hospitals.

The agency, which is the official body for finally placing children for adoption, has asked the government to book hospitals for trafficking if children are given away without following procedures and legalities as per the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act, 1956.

“Not just that, families/parents who take children directly from hospitals can be booked for kidnapping. Even if it is family adoption, it must be cleared by the Child Welfare Committees. Every rule must be followed,” says ACA chairperson Aloma Lobo.

KCPC chairperson Nina Nayak has written to the health and women and child welfare departments to ensure that hospitals compulsorily surrender abandoned children to adoption agencies. “We have been receiving complaints about nursing homes and hospitals involved in illegally handing over new–born babies of unwed mothers to couples wanting to adopt children.”

A nursing home in Hanumanthnagar is said to have demanded Rs 20,000 from a registered agency to hand over an abandoned baby. Shockingly, when the agency visited the hospital, the child was missing and the hospital said it didn’t have any child.

Again, last month, a hitech hospital in Udupi had kept 19 children for over a year. A week after they were questioned, all children had left the hospital. On investigation, the commission found that one of the hospital authorities had floated an NGO to place the children for adoption. “During inquiry, they confessed that mothers who preferred not to take lowweight birth children or children born out of wedlock often sold them to the hospital for huge sums of money,” says Nina Nayak.

Often, the long waiting period – ranging from one to two years before the entire adoption process is over – is what forces parents to take the short–cut. “But it is dangerous to take away a child without clearing the legalities and due process. If the parents discover that the child is HIV+, they will dump it. It’s more difficult for the child in the later years... It’s time the government viewed all this seriously,” Aloma says.

WHAT THE RULE BOOK SAYS
As per guidelines of Central Adoption Research Agency (CARA) and Supreme Court order of 1999, as soon as an abandoned or destitute child is found by an agency/nursing home/hospital/police or anyone else, a report should be lodged with the police station along with photo of the child.

The deputy commissioner must be informed, who, in turn, must immediately inform the nearest recognized adoption agency. The IGP should instruct every police station within his jurisdiction to undertake an inquiry immediately for tracing the parent of the child and the inquiry must be completed in one month.

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