Change Adoption Leave Act (No Minimum Age Criteria of adopted child)
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We applied for adoption in Feb 2017 and brought our 4.5 months old daughter home in Jan 2019! It took a two year long wait for us to have our baby. Our happiness as parents was short lived once I realized that as a mother I am not eligible for 12 weeks leave as prescribed by the amended Maternity Benefit Act of 2017 simply because my child is over 3 months! My organization allowed me a fully paid 6 weeks leave which I very much appreciated. However, it is so unfair to not be able to spend time connecting with your baby. I have to return to work leaving my baby who I could only spend very limited time connecting with, under the care of a nanny and my mom. It is heart breaking to have waited (in our case) 13 long years for a child only to have gotten a beautiful baby and not spend even a month and half cherishing her like any other mother would! I do not have an option and need to return to work but for future adoptive parents I am inclined to have this act amended to remove the age criteria of the adopted child. The child matters not the age of the child. Parents need time to emotionally bond and so does the child to be able to adjust to its new environment and people around it! The act means that no adoptive parents can take leave since it is simply impossible to legally adopt a baby less than 3 months of age and you will see below why.
My petition is to urge CARA and relevant government bodies to amend this act to remove the age criteria. Reasons are while The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act, 2017 provisions for a 12 weeks of adoption leave for adoptive mothers. The Act clearly discriminates between adoptive and natural parents. When in fact the need to be with the child should be equal for any parent, natural or adoptive. Also, here's the catch - the amended Act says that only a woman who is adopting a child under the age of three months can avail this 12 weeks leave. India’s adoption system works at a pace whereby the time parents can take children home, they are often older than three months. There are also hundreds of older children awaiting adoption. There is no provision in the law for adoptive parents of older children to have any time-off with their kids. Under the current system of adoption, it is rare for a child under three months of age to be adopted owing to the levels of procedures that are detailed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015.
I urge you to support this petition in order to give adoptive parents equal right to parenting just like natural parents would want to raise their baby with love, care and need bonding time.
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