On the occasion of World Adoption Day, on November 9, Pune-based journalist and adoptive parent Kalyani Sardesai announced the launch of her book Child Of My Heart: A comprehensive Guide to Adoption in India. Published by Litreasure Publishers, the book is slated to be a one-stop guide for all questions pertaining to adoption.
“Having been through the process under the current centralized system of adoption, there were a lot of questions I had along the way,” says Sardesai. “Sure, there was information available online, the availability of adoption support groups as well as hand-holding from my mentoring child care institution, but as a reporter, I thought it would be a good idea to simplify and collate the relevant information in a book with a focus on Indian references. This is because while some aspects are universal to adoption, others are specific to us.”
“Given that unlike other parents, you don’t have nine months on hand to prepare, it certainly helps to have some notion of what to expect when you’re adopting,” says Chetan Joshii, CEO, Literature Publishers.
Adoption in India currently happens only under the aegis of the Centralized Adoption Resource Authority, a statutory body of the Ministry of Women and Child Development under the Government of India. Established under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, CARA is responsible for monitoring and regulating adoptions both within and outside India. This has both, pros and cons as the current system seem to have brought down the number of adoptions, whilst simultaneously bringing in objectivity and transparency to the process. “For parents, this has assorted repercussions. Hence, the book,” says Joshii.
From the paperwork and technicalities to the rationale behind the centralized adoption process, to the questions that are seemingly unique to adoptive homes, this book hopes to go the distance in bringing greater clarity to one’s understanding of the phenomenon of adoption. Also, keeping in mind that adoption is a lifelong process, that the journey of a family and child only begins at the end of a tedious and seemingly endless wait, there is a detailed section dedicated to the voices of adoptive parents and adoptees, featuring in-depth interviews with various individuals and parents. One section looks at adoption as depicted in popular culture and folklore, as this definitely influences our understanding of the process and the outcome. Another section is devoted to the writings of several activists and child care experts. These ought to help in understanding one’s child better at different stages of the parent-child journey.
That said, the book goes beyond the purview of both Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPS) and adoptees to examine Indian society and its myriad contradictions. Our prejudices reveal as much about us as our strengths. To that extent, it hopes to be a resource book for budding social workers, lawyers and journalists and help them form an understanding of why things work the way they do. Especially given the fact that while there are millions of abandoned children in India, not every child is legally free for adoption.
Unlike earlier times, the JJ Act does not leave much room for parents’ personal preferences in terms of either looks or background; there is no endless parading of children waiting to get chosen. However, the stringent requirements of the process mean only a limited number of adoptions can take place every year.
However, the question then arises: Where does that leave the rest of India’s vulnerable/abandoned and orphaned children? Paradoxically though, it is just as imperative to look at the grotesque reality that ‘manufactures’ orphans to put them up for adoption.
Amongst other objectives, it analyzes the Indian outlook towards adopted parents and children, even as it seeks to demystify the seemingly gargantuan and long-drawn process, explain the scenario against which it works, and hopefully, dispel a few inaccurate notions about adoption.
“On a personal level, this work is the logical culmination of my journey so far: as a journalist who has written on child rights, and as a thoroughly fulfilled adoptive parent, whose pride in her beautiful child is second to none,” rounds off Sardesai.
Priced at Rs.499/-, the book is available on Amazon and Book Ganga.
Incidentally, all the proceeds from the book will go to a childcare institution.
About the author: Kalyani Sardesai started her career as a journalist in 2000 and has worked with major media houses like The Indian Express, DNA, and The Times of India. With degrees in journalism, literature, and advertising, she has been a freelancer since 2013 and wears multiple hats as an ad copywriter, scriptwriter, and corporate trainer.