Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) is a central government body created by Ministry of Women & Child Development; Government of India who has been given authority to adopt. It works as the nodal body for monitoring and regulating in-country & inter-country adoption of Indian children. CARA is appointed as the Central Authority to adopt which looks into the matters related to inter-country adoptions in compliance with the rules & regulations of the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, 1993, approved by Government of India in the year 2003. It mainly deals with adoption of orphan, deserted and surrendered children via its recognized adoption agencies located in various parts of India. CARA was established in 1990 and is a statutory body which comes under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015.


Adoption is the procedure by which an orphaned, deserted, surrendered child becomes the legitimate child of his adoptive parents with all the rights & responsibilities that are linked with a biological child.

The following are the rudimentary principles in the legitimate adoption of children from India:

During any adoption placement, it’s the child whose interests would be of utmost importance.

Preference shall be given to the adoptive parents who are Indian citizens, and more desirably in the child’s own socio-cultural environment, as far as possible.

All the adoptions should be registered on the CARA and Guidance System and the secrecy of the same shall be kept intact by it.

Along with CARA, there are other agencies that have authority to adopt which manages matters related to adoptions in India. They are as follows:

  • State Adoption Resource Agency (SARA): It is a body within the state territory to monitor, regulate & promote adoption and non-institutional care in accordance with CARA.
  • Specialized Adoption Agency (SAA): These are the agencies that have authority to adopt under the State Government for the placement of children in adoption.
  • Authorized Foreign Adoption Agency (AFAA): It is a child welfare agency that is recognized by CARA on the basis of suggestions of a foreign country’s statutory body or government department for all matters pertaining to the adoption of an Indian child by a citizen of that nation.
  • District Child Protection Unit (DCPU): It is a unit set up by the state government at the district level for recognizing orphaned, surrendered and abandoned children in the district. It also gets them proclaimed legally free for adoption by the children welfare committees.


There are specific criteria that the potential adoptive parents must adhere to in order to be qualified for adopting a child in India legally. They are:

  • The adoptive parents must be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable of maintaining adoptive child, motivated to adopt a child, and they should not be suffering from any life-threatening or terminal medical condition.
  • If the adoptive parents fulfil all other criteria for adoption, they can adopt no matter what their marital status is and whether they already have a child of their own.
  • A single female can adopt a male or a female child.
  • A female child cannot be adopted by a single male.
  • If a couple adopts a child, the approval of both partners is essential. Also, the couple should have been in a stable marital relation for least two years.
  • The Couples who have more than four offspring are not considered for an adoption. The minimum age difference between the child and either of the potential adoptive parents must be at least 25 years.


  • Latest family photograph or photograph of the couple or adoptive parents or person adopting a child.
  • PAN Card of the potential adoptive parents
  • Birth certificate of the potential adoptive parents
  • Proof of residence documents i.e., Aadhar card or voter card or passport or recent electricity bill or telephone bill.
  • Proof of income documents i.e., last year pay slip or income certificate issued by government or income tax return
  • Medical Certificate from a certified doctor confirming that the potential adoptive parents do not have any chronic, contagious or terminal disease and they are healthy enough to adopt and in case of married couple, they need to upload Medical Certificate of both the spouses
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce Deed from the competent court and Death certificate of spouse if there is single adoptive parent (only if applicable).
  • Two reference letters from relatives or acquaintances to root for adoption.
  • Consent of the older children (more than 5 years old) in the adoptive family.

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