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Clarisse and Xavier have not ‘adopted’ Utpal legally but are nevertheless his French ‘parents’, and do everything a ‘parent’ would : loving him unconditionally and being there for him. Nothing proves that better than the story of a cricketer of yesteryear who ‘adopted’ the son of their laundry man, providing all the support he needed to succeed. Succeed he did: his latest gift to his ‘adoptive ‘ parents a swank Mercedes Benz. There were no need of papers and documents to seal the relationship all that was needed was love.

A recent article stated the sad fact that adoptions numbers were decreasing in India. The reason stated is paperwork! Another reason” surrogacy. Indians parents prefer adopting babies under one and will never adopt a differently abled child or a sick one. Adoption agencies have a glut of 3 to 4 years waiting for adoption. These will become 5, 6 and then 7 and one day become 18 year old when the law of the land does not give any further protection.

This reality was brought to light when last week a member of the Child Welfare Committee asked us whether we knew families that would be able to act as foster parents to children of dysfunctional families who are institutionalised. They cannot be adopted as they have natural parents. The conditions in institutions in India are far from the enabling environment a child needs to grow in as children with criminal backgrounds are placed with children from abusive homes. The risk of the child going the wrong way looms large. The children in question were from 1 to 10. Though we promised to try we knew it would be difficult if not impossible. And yet we knew how real the danger was.

Reaching out to a child with or without papers is all about love. As someone said: the adoption process can be challenging but love is instant! There are so many children who need us to open our hearts and let them in.

Yes ‘adopting’ a child will not change the world but for that child the world will change

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