Written by Smriti Gupta
“Ma’am, these children will not get adopted”, was the exasperated reply from a child shelter employee as our team conducted a ground survey of child shelters, adoption agencies, and child welfare government bodies in a district in 2019. As approved by the Women and Child Development Commissioner, our charter was to find out why lakhs of children in shelters across India were not coming into the legal adoption pool. And we kept getting the same answer again and again about the older kids – no one wanted to put the effort to make them legally adoptable because they didn’t think the children would get adopted.
Every time we heard this reply, it was a punch to the gut, but it didn’t deter us. Our team at WAIC has always firmly believed that every eligible abandoned or orphaned child has a right to become legally adoptable and reach a permanent family. So we kept going. Thanks to the opportunity given to us by local, State, and Central governments, the faith placed in us by our donors, the cooperation of child shelters and adoption agencies, and the unparalleled hard work of our social workers, we have been able to work on children’s cases in 20+ districts so far to get the eligible children declared legally adoptable. Many of those children, including the older ones, have been getting adopted!
Arjun* is one of these children. He came to the shelter when he was about 5 years old. He was not made legally adoptable because a distant relative was available via phone. No one bothered to find out about Arjun’s legal guardianship status, and he languished in the shelter for 10 years. WAIC social worker picked up Arjun’s case in December 2021. The social worker found out that Arjun had an aunt who was willing to surrender the child legally. Arjun was also keen on getting adopted. It took 6 months to complete Arjun’s paperwork – considering the complications in the case, not an easy feat by any means. Finally, Arjun was declared legally adoptable by his district’s Child Welfare Committee in June 2022. Last month, we received the news that Arjun had been placed in pre-adoption foster care with a family. We know the first few months will be emotionally hard as Arjun settles into his new family. We also know that with the right mindset and consistent effort by the adoptive family, Arjun will settle, he will bond, and he will have a forever family. From the entire team at WAIC, our deepest love and positive wishes to Arjun and his new family.
We depend on your donations to help children like Arjun find forever families. Please donate here: https://waic.in/donate/
*Child’s name has been changed, and the district name has not been mentioned to protect the child’s privacy.
*Images shown are for illustration purposes only.