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Report No. 153

The child living with biological parents

5.8. Where a child is living with his biological parents, they would be the best persons to decide whether to give their child in adoption to foreign parents. When the parents decide to give their child in inter-country adoption, there should be following safeguards:1

(1) The biological parents should not be induced or encouraged or even permitted to take a decision in regard to giving of a child in adoption before the birth of the child or within a period of three months from the date of birth of the child.

(2) Proper counselling should be given to the biological parents before a decision about relinquishing the child for adoption is taken.

(3) The counselling should be done by social or child welfare agency to which the child is being surrendered and relinquished.

(4) Before a decision is taken by the biological parents, they should be helped to understand all implications of adoption including the possibility of adoption by foreign parents.

(5) The biological parents should be specifically told that in case of the child is adopted, it would not be possible for them to have any further contact with the child.

(6) The biological parents should not be subjected to any duress in making a decision about relinquishment of the child.

(7) Even after the biological parents have taken a decision to relinquish the child for giving in adoption a further period of about three months should be allowed to them to reconsider their decision.

(8) But once the decision is taken and not reconsidered within a further period of three months, it must be regarded irrevocable.

(9) In order to eliminate any possibility of mischief and to make sure that the child has in fact been surrendered by its biological parents, it is necessary that the social or child welfare agency to which the child is being surrendered by the biological parents, should take from the biological parents, a document of surrender duly signed by the biological parents and attested by at least two responsible persons.

(10) Such surrender document should not only contain the names of the biological parents and their addresses but also information in regard to the birth of the child and its background, health and development.

(11) The procedure for giving the child in adoption to a foreigner can then be initiated without, any further reference to the biological parents by filling an application for appointment of the foreigner as guardian of the child under the Guardians and Wards Act, 1890.

(12) Thereafter, there would be no necessity to consult the biological parents again as to whether they wish to give the child in adoption or they want to take it back.

(13) If the biological parents have stated a preference for the religious upbringing of the child, their wish should as far as possible be respected and given effect accordingly.

(14) However, the biological parents should be informed that the child may be given in adoption even to a foreigner who professes a religion different from that of the biological parents as ultimately the best interest of the child alone should be the sole guiding factor and paramount consideration for giving to the child in adoption to the foreigner.

1. L.K. Pandey v. Union of India, (1984) 2 SCR 826-828 (835, 836, 848).

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