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CARA has re-opened the 'non-special needs/healthy child' category to new applicants. However this category is only open to non resident Indians at this time. An NRI (in adoption terms) is an Indian citizen holding an Indian passport. Couples with one spouse that has a US passport and one spouse that has an Indian passport are eligible for this category. OCI couples are not eligible for this category.
The special needs category which includes all waiting children up to the age of 13 years remains open to all applicants.
Bay Area Adoption Services is privileged to have received a non-expiring certificate of enlistment by CARA for international adoptions from India. Through our full service India program, BAAS assists clients with all the necessary steps for completing an adoption from India. This includes: conducting the homestudy, guidance with dossier preparation, coordination with the assigned RIPA, pre and post referral counseling, post placement visits, and re-adopt services.
BAAS does not assist with relative adoptions, or with US citizens residing in India that wish to adopt. At this time we provide services to families that reside within the BAAS licensing area in Northern California. If you wish to see which counties BAAS works in, please check the legal requirements under How to Adopt on our website.
Eligibility Requirements for Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPS)
At least one spouse must be a US citizen.
Couples must be married for a minimum of 2 years.
Couples with a combined maximum age of 90, are eligible to apply for a child up to 3 years of age. Individual age of PAPS should be between 25 and 50.
Couples between the ages of 25 to 55 years with a combined maximum age of 105 years, are eligible to adopt a child between the ages of 3 to 12 years.
PAPS with NRI and OCI status are in the preferred category and wait times may be slightly shorter.
Single women are eligible to adopt and must be between 25 and 50 years of age.
Same sex couples are not eligible.
Non-Indian couples and single women are also eligible to adopt from India.
PAPS must be financially stable with the ability to comfortably support a child.
PAPS with a history of substance abuse, criminal background, unstable relationships, serious medical illnesses and unstable mental health, will not be considered by Indian orphanages.
Role of CARA in India adoptions
In January 2012, India intercountry adoptions became centralized by CARA (Central Adoption Resource Authority), a department of the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
CARA maintains a central database of all available children in India. RIPAS (Recognized Indian Placement Agencies) must register all children residing with them, into the CARA database.
On completion of their homestudy, PAPS will be registered (by BAAS) with CARA.
Based on the availability of children CARA will select and assign the PAPS to a RIPA. PAPS may indicate a State preference that will be considered during RIPA selection.
The assigned RIPA will receive the PAPS dossier and match the PAPS with a child.
The RIPAS will take on the primary role from child matching through the completion of the adoption process
CARA will remain involved in a regulatory capacity during the entire process.
Types of Children available
Male and female children are available and PAPS may indicate a gender preference.
PAPS may indicate a preference for a single child, twins, or sibling groups.
Based on age eligibility, PAPS may request a young child up to 3 years of age or an older child between 5 to 12 years of age.
CARA includes children with minor and resolved needs in the category of healthy children. Therefore all PAPS including those with NRI/OCI status must be open to considering a child with minor and/or resolved needs. This must be clearly stated in the homestudy.
Special needs children are those with moderate to severe needs. CARA has included twins, siblings, and older children above the age of 5 years in this category as they may be harder to place.
As per current CARA regulations, a RIPA must place 80% of their children domestically. For the 20% that can be placed in intercountry adoptions, preference is given to NRI/OCI couples. Younger couples and childless couples are considered first, followed by couples with one child. Couples with 2 or more children are likely to be considered for children in the special needs category. Non-Indian couples and singles must be open to children in the special needs category.
Children residing in RIPAS include both abandoned and relinquished children. Unwed mothers, teenage pregnancies, poverty, and death of a spouse are some of the common reasons for relinquishment and abandonment of children in India. The children are generally well cared for in the orphanages and receive regular medical care.
Fees and Expenses
Application, homestudy, and administrative fee $4,300
India program fee of $7,000 (paid in 2 installments)
Six post placement visits and re-adopt services $2,800
Dossier preparation expenses (notary, apostil, and photocopying of documents) are around $1,200
CARA approved RIPA fees for child expenses $5,000
CIS fees, Pre- visa medical exam and visa processing fees about $1,800
Airfare, domestic travel, hotel and food costs - not estimated as they vary.
India Court related expenses
A Bond of Rs.60, 000 (about $1,500) paid to the India court (which will be returned with interest) when certain conditions outlined by the India courts are met.
A financial investment in the name of the child within 6 months of adoption in the amount of Rs.2 lakhs (about $5,000) to satisfy India court requirements.
Travel and In-country stay
Families must be prepared to make upto 2 trips. As all families will be completing a finalized adoption in-country, the Courts require the PAPS to be present at the court hearing. PAPS will appear in court with their child and may return to the US after the court hearing. PAPS will need to travel a second time after the passport is issued, to receive their child and complete visa requirements. The in-country stay for each trip will be around 10 to 14 days.
If the PAPS have the ability to stay in India for an extended period of time, they may take their child into foster care (after the court appearance) and stay in-country with their child, through the remainder of the process which could take between 3 to 6 months. In this case only one trip would be required.
Overview of the Adoption Process
Complete your homestudy with BAAS
Receive your I800A ( Provisional approval from immigration)
PAPS registered with CARA
CARA assigns a RIPA
Send dossier to RIPA and wait for a referral.
Accept referral and apply for I800 approval (child specific approval from immigration)
Wait for Article 5 to be issued by the US Government to CARA
Wait to receive NOC from CARA
Case is filed (by the RIPA lawyer) in the India courts
PAPS make first trip to India for court appearance.
PAPS can return home after the court hearing or decide to stay back and take the child into foster care.
Wait to receive written order from Judge
Wait to receive child's passport
PAPS make second trip to India to receive their child
Travel with child to New Delhi for pre-visa medical exam
Attend the visa interview with your child
Return to USA
Complete 6 post placement visits over two years
Readopt your child (optional) through the CA courts.
For further details on the India program please contact the BAAS office 650-964-3800 or India Program Director, Sharmeela Shah at 408-605-8510.