It is the child who has no family of any sort (an orphan) is to be placed in adoption but till such adoption takes place, dwelling of an orphan is called “Orphanage”. So it is logical to think that people should go to orphanage to adopt a child. Well…. it is a huge misconception that many people believe in. Read on to understand the difference between an orphanage and an adoption agency.
Orphanages and adoption agencies are two distinct places working with two different objectives. Orphanages (now under a new law in India called “Juvenile & Justice Act” or JJ Act they are to be called as “Children’s Homes”) are places where they provide care and protection to a child who needs them. These could be taking care of orphans but not necessarily those that have no family of any sort. For example, a child may have lost his/ her parents but may have extended family who is unable/ unwilling to provide the needed care and protection to the child. As long as the child has a family of some sort (although they are unable to care), they are not free for adoption. Orphanages cannot house a child who has no family of any sort
Adoption agencies or placement agencies are places that exclusively deal with placing an orphan child in adoption. For example, if a child is found abandoned in a railway station, once the government makes a determination that the child is abandoned, they are not sent to an orphanage but to an adoption agency. Adoption agency will take the child through several legal steps to declare free for adoption before they actually place them in a home through adoption. The state government normally licenses adoption agencies after they meet certain guidelines.
In Tamilnadu, any new adoption agency is licensed only after they maintain a children’s home (or orphanage) for minimum of three years. In this case, you might see an adoption agency and an orphanage working together in one location or in two different locations. This is required because once the efforts to place a child in adoption are exhausted, the child can be sent to an orphanage for continued care and protection.
Remember: If you or anyone that you know of looking to adopt, the place to visit is not an orphanage but an adoption agency or a placement agency.