The Indian program is stable and well managed by the Central Authority for Adoption in India. It has a long history of placing children with loving families, and regularly updates the rules and procedures to improve the program. Every effort is made to place children with parents of Indian heritage-first, followed by foreign adoptive parents.
Adoption in India is governed by the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), which works closely with local Indian state governments. The state governments regulate and monitor the orphanages approved for international adoption and adoption service providers licensed in their region.
India requires Prospective Adoptive Parents (PAPs) to apply for adoption through their current country of residence.
IAN is able to assist U.S. residents with an adoption from India.
PAPs residing outside the U.S. must contact the Central Adoption Authority in their current country of residence for assistance.
The U.S. Department of State requires adoptive parents to be U.S. citizens in order to immigrate a child to the United States through the intercounty adoption process.
For married PAPs, only one parent must be a U.S. citizen.
Single adoptive parents must be U.S. citizens.
Non-U.S. citizens can refer to the U.S. Department of State.
The composite age of the PAPs is determined on the date of registration with CARA. The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents should not be less than 25 years.
Age of the Child
Maximum Composite Age of Married PAPs
Maximum age of Single PAPs
Up to 2 years
Above 2 and up to 4 years
Above 4 and up to 8 years
Above 8 and up to 18 years
Both single parents and married couples may adopt.
A married couple must be married for a minimum of two years to be found eligible to adopt.
A single man can only adopt a male child.
India does not accept common-law marriages or live-in partners.
Families must meet income requirements as outlined by USCIS. The homestudy of the family must demonstrate the financial stability of the family.
Adoptive parents should have good health and should not be suffering from any mental or physical condition which may prevent them from taking care of the child or any condition that may not allow for a normal life expectancy.
Adoptive parents of Indian heritage can apply for the adoption of a child who is considered "healthy", but children who are considered healthy may still have minor needs, such as low birth weight, malnourishment, developmental delays, anemia, past medical issues, etc. The wait time for children considered healthy is usually long. Contact IAN for information on wait times.
Foreign families and families with 2 or more children are required to adopt a child with special needs. Adult children or children living outside of the home are included in your total for consideration.
Adoptive parents cannot have been convicted of a crime.
Children In Need
Children become available for adoption in India for many reasons. Sometimes it is due to extreme economic hardship on the part of the birth parents, the social stigma of being a single parent in India, the special need of the child, and many more. Children are from a wide range of India’s diverse cultural and religious backgrounds.
Children in need of families range from 1-15 years old.
While gender preference can be indicated by Adoptive Parents, parents are strongly encouraged to be open to a child of either gender.
The majoity of children available for adoption from India are considered to have special needs. These needs may be medical, physical, and/or developmental. They vary from minor/correctable to more severe.
Adoption Process and Timeline
Timeframes will vary per adoption. The average can be from 18-24 months from starting your adoption journey to when you complete your adoption and bring your child home.
Choose an Adoption Agency
Choose an accredited Adoption Service Provider (ASP) who is licensed as an Accredited Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA) in India. IAN is licensed as both.
Apply to be found eligible to adopt
First complete an approved home study. You will have to hire an external agency if you do not reside in Colorado. IAN will be able to provide you recommendations. If you reside in Colorado, IAN will be your home study agency as well. (2-3 months)
After home study approval, apply for U.S. Immigration approval. (3-4 months)
Register through CARA and receive an approval. (2-4 months)
Accept Child Referral
PAPs will receive one child referral at a time. India allows PAPs up to 30 days to consider a potential referral and decide whether to accept. The referral must be accepted within the given time period.
Obtain Necessary Approvals to Immigrate the Child into the U.S.
No Objection Certificate from CARA
Indian District Magistrate Approval
Child's Birth Certificate
Get Ready to Travel
Take custody of the child in their resident state
Go through a medical appointment in Delhi
Go through a Visa appointment at U.S. Embassy in Delhi
Bring the child home to the U.S.
After you receive a Visa in the child's name, you will be able to bring the child home.
Post Adoption Visits and Reports
There is a requirement from India to submit Post Adoption reports at regular intervals. Visit "Post Adoption" to learn more.
Prospective adoptive parents are required to travel to India to take custody of the adopted child. At least one trip of 10-14 days is required, although some regions may require two trips.
It can vary from $35,000 to $45,000. Not all the costs will necessarily apply and all fees can change at any time. To receive IAN's India fee agreement and schedule, click on "Contact a Coordinator" and fill out the contact form.
Ready to start or have questions? Our coordinators are here to help!
Issues written adoption order to SAA and uploads onto CARINGS
Can I adopt more than one child at a time?
India allows the adoption of 1 child at a time, unless the children are siblings. Sibling groups are available for adoption from India, though at least one child may be older.
What languages do the children speak?
While India recognizes 22 official languages, common languages include: Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Tamil, Telugu, and Urdu.
What information will I receive when I receive my referral?
Prospective adoptive parents will receive a Medical Examination Report, Child Study Report, and photo for any potential referral. These reports will include the child’s name, date of birth, location, medical, social, and developmental information. If the PAPs are interested in learning more about the child, IAN is able to contact the orphanage to obtain additional information which may include test reports, photos and videos.
Do Indian citizens living in the US or individuals of Indian descent receive priority?
Yes, CARA gives priority to adoptive parents who have NRI (non-resident Indian) or OCI (overseas citizen of India) status.
*In order to qualify as NRI an adoptive parent must be an Indian citizen with a current Indian passport. In order to qualify as OCI and adoptive parent must hold an OCI card.
*At least one adoptive parent must be a U.S. citizen in order to adopt from India.
Can PAPs who are not of Indian heritage adopt from India?
Yes, India allows “foreign” adoptive parents to adopt, however, their wait for referral will be longer than PAPs who have NRI or OCI status.
Where can I find more information about the adoption regulations in India?
You can always review the full and updated guidelines on CARA's website which can be found here. Look under “Act & Regulations” to download the current Adoption Regulations.