Bombay High Court Allows US Couple To Adopt Abandoned Siblings

Bombay High Court Allows US Couple To Adopt Abandoned Siblings

Bombay High Court permitted the US-based couple to adopt the two abandoned kids.

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court has cleared the decks for adoption of two minor children, who were abandoned by their biological mother in 2012, by a US-based couple.

The children's adoption was held up since 2013, as the biological mother, after initially abandoning them, sought their custody when the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) put the kids up for adoption by a Canada-based couple of Indian origin.

In 2014, the High Court stayed the adoption process and allowed the biological mother to take her children. But, when the mother failed to do so and did not even meet them after the High Court order, the CWC once again approached the High Court and sought permission to allow adoption by another couple, who were based in the United States.

Justice Gautam Patel, on April 27, after perusing the facts of the case and interviewing the minor children - a boy, 9, and a girl, 7 - permitted the US-based couple to adopt them.

"I have before me today what I can only describe as an utterly heart-rending situation. There are two minors who have, for the better part of their childhood, been footballed between their birth mother, one agency, another agency, been once previously placed for adoption only to see that possible dream evaporate and have now been suggested for adoption again. Their bond with their mother, if it existed, was broken," the court said.

"It is difficult to even begin to imagine the kind of trauma these young children must have suffered. After all they were not abandoned at birth, but at the ages of five and three, when they must have had at least some degree of awareness," Justice Patel said.

"Sufficient liberty was given to the birth mother even at the cost of the welfare of the children, and certainly to the disappointment and trauma caused to the previous adoptive parents, who travelled frequently to India to bond with these children. She squandered that opportunity. I will not permit this to be repeated," he said.

The judge noted that while the mother may have abandoned the children in dire circumstances the first time, the court had at the cost of the first adoptive parents and at the cost of the welfare of the children given the mother another chance.

"Why did she not take it? Why did she never meet the children after December 2014? We may never know and it is now for the best, and certainly for the best for these two children, that it stays that way for all time. To reverse the April 2015 order of the high court forfeiting the mother's rights on the children would be to subject them to a horror they have done nothing to deserve," the court said.

The court also took note of the home study of the US-based couple, who are the proposed adopters, and said both the husband and wife have had a stable childhood and are well settled in their lives.

The boy, who was born in December 2007, and his sister, born in January 2009, were abandoned by their mother and found on December 31, 2012, by police at Ulhasnagar in neighbouring Thane district.

They were taken to the Child Welfare Committee which put them up for adoption.

A Canada-based couple of Indian origin expressed the desire to the CWC to adopt the children, following which an Inter-Country Foreign Adoption Petition was filed in the High Court.

However, the children's biological mother approached the CWC seeking their custody. The same was informed to the High Court which put the adoption process on hold in November 2014, and directed the DNA tests to be conducted.

After the DNA tests confirmed that the woman was the biological mother of the children, the High Court in December 2014 allowed her to take the children's custody from the Children of the World India Trust, where the two were kept.

In April 2015, the trust approached the High Court and informed it that since December 2014, the biological mother had not taken the children back and not even met them once.

The High Court then passed an order forfeiting the mother's rights on the children, and said it would hear the trust's petition seeking permission for the US-based couple to adopt the children.

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