As per the new decision made by the Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry, women over the age of forty, who are financially stable and independent will be given preference for adoption over couples. Central Adoption Research Agency (CARA) passed this resolution considering the growing number of single women adopting and raising a child on their own.

A ministry official told Indian Express, “The move was proposed by WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi after considering the many representations she got from such women. Adoption requests are processed by keeping the child’s best interests in mind and if a financially independent woman, with a stable income, wants to adopt a child, it very well falls within this criteria.”

There is a huge gap between the kids legally applicable for adoption and the parents willing to adopt. While there are 2000 children, willing parents are nearly 16,000.

This move will help women jump these long queues and get an adoption faster than the usual procedure. “On an average, we get 1,000 new applicants every month, while we are able to place only 300 children for adoption. The present waiting period for an aspiring (adoptive) parent is about 15 months,” he added.

According to CARA, there has been an increase in the number of single mothers coming for adoption in the last few years. This decision is of importance since surrogacy is only available to couples who are infertile. It thus removes the possibility of a single parent having their own child.

“Many no longer look upon it as taboo for a single unmarried woman to raise a child on her own. What came up during our committee discussions is the fact that single women often do not have the kind of support system that couples find in each other, or in their families. So when they are clear and committed to raising a child single-handedly, we need to encourage them and make it easier for them,” Avinash Kumar, from CARA said.

As per the current adoption rules, couples, single men and women, NRIs and foreign nationals are applicable for adopting a child. However, single men are restricted to adopting only male children while women do not have such a condition. CARA, maintains the list of all adults who have signed for adopting, along with the children that are up for adoption.

Apart from gender, age too plays a role. Single parents can adopt a child under the age of four if they are 45-year-old or less. Those up to 50 years between 5-8 and those up to 55 years old can adopt children in the age group of 9 to 18 with adoption being disallowed after that. For couples, their total age is taken into consideration.

 Also Read: Harvard Study Shows A Man’s Age Also Affects Fertility

Jagriti is an intern with SheThePeople.TV