Kolkata: Missionaries of Charity has confirmed that it has closed its adoption services in India over objections to the country’s new adoption rules. From August 15 this year, the group founded by Nobel Laureate Mother Teresa 65 years ago has stopped giving children for adoption.
In a statement, the Missionaries of Charity said, “If we were to continue with the work set up by Mother Teresa, complying with all the provisions would be very difficult for us.” The provisions referred to are new guidelines issues by Women and Child Development Ministry headed by Maneka Gandhi.
“Decision was taken two months ago to voluntarily give up our recognized status to run adoption centers,” the group said. The Missionaries of Charity have licensed to run 19 adoption agencies.
There have been speculation that Missionaries of Charity is opposed to adoption by single parents, gays or lesbians. However single parents were allowed to adopt even according to the 2011 guidelines and there is no mention of gays and lesbians in either the 2011 or the 2015 guidelines.
The new guidelines, however, have put the whole adoption process online and centralised it under the Central Adoption Resource Authority or CARA, the nodal body for adoption under Maneka Gandhi’s ministry. The major difference between the 2011 and 2015 guideline is, CARA will offer four to six children to prospective parents to choose from.
In the earlier system, an adoption agency could offer only one child at a time for adoption in most cases. If the prospective parents were not keen on that particular child, they could refuse and wait for another child to be offered. That could take years or months.
The Missionaries may not be happy with the “choice” being offered by CARA under new guidelines. But that has not been made clear in its statement.
However, a sister has been quoted earlier this week saying, “offering a choice turns children into commodities and not a gift.”
Some reports have also cited complaints from single parents – one from Bihar and another from Assam – who wished to adopt but were refused by the Missionaries of Charity. They reported the matter to the Ministry. This, however, could not be independently confirmed.