Thirty orphanages in India run by the Missionaries of Charity, the religious congregation established by Mother Teresa, have closed their adoption services after changes in the law have made it easier for divorced and single people to adopt.
“We have voluntarily given up our recognised status to run adoption centres,” the Missionaries of Charity said in a statement.
“This decision was arrived at soon after we received the new ‘Guidelines Governing Adoption of Children, 2015’ issued under a notification from the union ministry of women and child development.”
According to the Women and Child Development Ministry, only 2,500 orphans were adopted in 2014 out of an estimated 16 to 30 million. In response to the huge number of orphans, bureaucratic obstacles and child trafficking, the Indian government has made it a legal requirement for orphanages to submit records to a central database that helps match prospective parents with children, making it easier for divorced and single people to adopt.
Maneka Gandhi, head of the Women and Child Development Ministry, said the Missionaries of Charity have “cited ideological issues” with the adoption guidelines and that “they do not want to come under a uniform secular agenda.”
Sister Amala of Nirmala Shishu Bhawan, a New Delhi orphanage run by the Missionaries of Charity, said: “We have already shut our adoption services, because we believe our children may not receive real love. We do not wish to give children to single parents or divorced people.
“It is not a religious rule but a human rule. Children need both parents, male and female. That is only natural, isn’t it?”