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Couples adopt more daughters than sons in Kerala
By Sanu George, Indo-Asian News Service

October 10, 2004

Amid concerns about the abysmal status of the girl child in most parts of the country, couples in Kerala are bucking the trend and adopting more daughters than sons, figures for the state indicate. According to the Voluntary Coordinating Agency for Adoption (VCA), 1,521 girl children have been adopted against 1,224 male children in the 10 years from 1993-94 till now. Figures for the last three years reveal that in 2001-02, 109 boys and 140 girls were adopted. The following years maintained the trend -- 107 boys and 138 girls were adopted in 2002-03 and the figures for 2003-04 were 117 boys and 137 girls. The reasons for this encouraging trend are many in a state with the highest sex ratio and the best development indices in the country. One reason, said Meenu Kuruvilla, project coordinator for VCA - the body that oversees adoption in the state and comes under the Central Adoptions Resource Agency - is the perception that daughters are more attached to parents than sons. In Kerala, there are 15 placement agencies under VCA where childless couples can register for children to be adopted.

"Currently, there are 150 couples on the waiting list and on an average it takes six months for a couple to get a child adopted. We conduct stringent checks before a couple can adopt a child," said Kuruvilla, adding that on an average 25 adoptions a month take place in the state. With adoptions on the increase, a new association, the Kerala Adoptive Families Organisation, has been set up. "About 1,500 members have joined this association. We have approached the state government for enacting laws to make adoption more scientific and legal," said Raju M. Kurian, president of the Thiruvananthapuram chapter of the organisation.

 At the moment, all Hindu adopted children get full rights after the age of 18 because they come under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act. However, Christian and Muslim families follow the Guardian and Wards Act, which is not so liberal towards adopted children. "We expect the state government to take measures in this aspect in the new law that is being framed," said Kurian.

Lida Jacob, social welfare secretary in the Kerala government, said adoption was losing its stigma and the process had become more transparent thanks to changes in the legal system. "Today the government and NGOs work together. There has to be a strong drive against illegal adoptions that take place through state hospitals," said Jacob.

URL:- http://in.news.yahoo.com/041010/43/2h7ud.html