Do you know this?

There are approximately 18000 parents registered with CARA, while the number of children in the Government's adoption pool is less 1800.

Friday, November 09, 2007

My comments on the CARA conference

It is indeed a pleasant experience to have attended an International conference on adoption in New Delhi hosted by CARA. It was conducted with lot of fanfare and organized in an orderly manner. I wouldn’t be truthful if I don’t tell you that I came away with a mixture of feelings from New Delhi. It is a mixture of excitement and disappointment.

I will begin with the excitement. CARA certainly looked more progressive in organizing such a conference after a gap of four years and having the sincerity to accept sincere suggestions to make adoptions better. CARA officials were there for the entire length of the conference to interact with the participants. I personally had the experience to ask lot of questions during the plenary sessions and in informal gatherings.

My disappointment was that the sessions were poorly timed. If you look at the plenary session schedules, in both days of sessions, foreigners presented all morning sessions when the participants are fresh and more likely to attend in full strength and the Indians presented the afternoon sessions when participants are less inclined to attend in full strength. Topics as important as “Promoting domestic adoptions” which is the mandate of CARA, was the last topic where the presenter was only left to present for the time that is left at the mercy of preceding presenters.

I personally felt that there were some topics that were unnecessary and that time could have been used wisely to discuss more important topic such as “New draft guidelines”. I somehow got a feeling at this conference that it is primarily to discuss about the issues pertaining to inter-country adoptions and not issues pertaining to domestic adoptions.

While preparing for this presentation, I had learnt a great deal about the status of domestic adoptions. For the poor show of domestic adoptions, no one to be held responsible but CARA for it’s halfhearted efforts. For example, I’ve learnt that domestic adoptions are more expensive (121% of India’s per capita income) than inter-country adoptions (8.3% of American per capita income) and it has no logical reasoning to justify.

CARA needs to keep the momentum of this conference to bring about the significant changes in the field of adoption. If CARA ignores their mandate to come up with strategies that specifically promote domestic adoptions, it’s a matter of time before it becomes an irrelevant organization and Indians lose faith. CARA could also consider hosting a similar conference specifically on domestic adoptions.

Last but not the least, I must say thank you to CARA for inviting me. I personally talked to several CARA officials to let them know of my personal commitment to work along with them. Building partnerships is the need of the hour because our common goal is to find a home for an orphaned child.

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