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More children being adopted within Nepal than by foreigners

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Kathmandu, September 26, 2016: The number of Nepali children being adopted by couples within the of country is higher than  those being adopted by foreign couples.

Under the law, couples who do not have children of their own can adopt orphan children or children living in dire circumstances, after completing the necessary legal procedures. Couples with children of their own cannot adopt.

At a time when the number of foreigners adopting Nepali children is decreasing, the number of Nepali couples adopting has become significant in the last five years, said Mahendra Prasad Shrestha, chairman of the Inter-Country Adoption Management Development  Board (ICAMDB).

In the last fiscal year, 62 children were adopted by couples within the country, while only three children were adopted by foreigners. This year, 10 applications for adoptions have been received from foreigners.

“The number of childlren being sent abroad through adoption has decreased after we formulated stricter adoption rules six years ago,” said Shrestha. “The new rules discourage organizations working for children from sending children abroad with big amounts of money changing hands,” he added.

There used to be 45 registered child care homes through which adoptions could be effected. After the new rules came into effect, the care homes have declined to just 15.

Under the new rules, the children to be adopted have to be verified, permission should be taken from the district administration office and the matching committee, and transparent records should be kept on the procedures and fees charged.

A foreign national wishing to a dopt a child in Nepal has to pay US$ 8000 of which $5,000 goes to the child care home and $3000 is for the processing fee. The rules for Nepali couples who wish to adopt are easier compared to those for foreign couples.

Amomg the criteria to be met, the adopting couple should have been married for more than four years, they should be 35 to 55 years of age, the adaptating country should have provisions for granting citizenship, and the couple should have income of least US$ 30,000 per year.

They should also produce a health report to prove that they are physically and mentally fit to take care of the adopted child. It is also  mandatory for them to own their own home. There should also be a psycho-social report to show that couple are capable from all points of view for adopting a child .

Adopting families are not allowed to select the child for adoption beforehand. However, they can choose the gender. A matching committee puts the children on a list and the adopters take the child by roll number, according to ICAMDB.

The government has allowed orphans to be adopted through set procedures.  Twins are not separated. Orphans are certified as such by the district administration office. “The DAO neither rejects a file nor grants certication of orphanhood. They intentionaly delay matters. That is the biggest problem,” said officials at the Ministry of Women, Children and Social Welfare (MoWCSW).

A glimpse of adoptions 
Fiscal year      Number of  children adopted  inside country        Number adopted abroad
2066/2067          50                                                                             NA
2067/2068         48                                                                             58
2068/2069         57                                                                             24
2069/2070         86                                                                             7
2070/2071         74                                                                             3
2071/2072         62                                                                             3
total                  377                                                                          95

By Gyanu Sapkota