Seeking Health Insurance for Children awaiting Adoption

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Children legally available for adoption invariably come from orphanages, child care institutions and adoption agencies where their care, especially in prenatal and post natal stage is far below from what each child deserves. Some children spend several years in an institution before finding a family.

Despite the ill effects of long term institutional care  on the health, developmental milestones and psychological well being of children confirmed through medical and social research, there is no health insurance available to thousands of children in the orphanages and child care homes. As a result, children suffer in health, develop long term health conditions and many retrograde into special need category where finding a home through adoption becomes near impossible, especially in Indian context. Many children on the border line between a correctable health condition and special need could benefit from medial intervention at the right time.

Take the case of Maya*. She required a cochlear implant which got delayed because of lack of resources. The funds raised by the social workers were not sufficient to provide the required remedy. She now wears a substandard equipment - which often runs out of battery. Her implant keeps hanging from her ear like an appendage - allowing her to hear for a week, and off hearing for following weeks. Inability to hear has affected her speech. A cute bubbly girl, Maya finds herself listed in the Special Needs category shutting off virtually all options of finding a home in India. A simple timely medical intervention could have offered her abilities to hear and speak - not to mention a home. She now languishes in an institution.

Amar* was found on railway tracks without a history of past medical care. He was placed in adoption after a few months without proper health checkup. Even as his  medical examination reported a healthy normal child at the time of placement, his development milestones were delayed, his speech impaired and cognitive ability challenged. An insurance cover could have helped Amar far earlier and better - had it been available.

Through this petition we wish to draw attention and seek remedy for the plight of thousands of children languishing in institutions for want of timely and suitable health care. We cannot undo the deficiencies in health care under the circumstances a child might have been placed with an institution But we can definitely mitigate the risks of further damage by offering health cover so that each child lives up to their potential and is able to find a forever family in adoption.

Currently, all children other than those in perfect health are categorized as "children with special needs" severely limiting their opportunities for adoption. Many of these only require a specific medical intervention. Offering medical cover to such children will help us discover parents who can adopt these children with institutional support to take care of the medical needs of the child, like a surgical procedure or a therapy.

We request Smt Smriti Irani, Hon'ble Minister of Women and Child Development, Government of India, to offer "Adoption Health Insurance" for each child awaiting adoption, till the age of 18 years.

Such an insurance will offer protection to children against child abuse, malnutrition or contagious diseases during their stay at the institution. It will also assure the adopting families that any surprises arising out of adoption or missing genetic record is also taken care of. Most importantly, it will lend a huge boost to legal adoptions, urgently required in our country, especially for children with remediable medical condition.

* Note: Some names have been changed to lend privacy to individuals concerned.