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GETTING STARTED


1. Making the decision to Adopt

2. Financing your adoption

3. Selecting an Orphanage

4. Why not to Adopt Privately

5. Do's and Don'ts of Adopting from Pakistan

 


1. Making the decision to adopt

Choosing adoption is a path that many families follow for various reasons. Every situation is unique, and whether adoption is the right option for you, is an entirely personal decision. So, the question is, how do you get to the decision to adopt?

Most families are led to adoption due to infertility, problems conceiving children naturally, and a desire to have a family in spite of it. Some couples are able to have biological children but they want to provide a home to a child who is already in the world, rather than bring another one into this world. Some have had their lives touched by adoption, and want to give back by adopting a child and providing him or her with a loving home and future. The best thing to do when you start to explore if adoption is right for you, is to read and research every aspect of this subject. Taking the time to understand what adoption is, how the process works, what is involved in terms of time, finances and potential impacts to your life, will help you make an educated and informed decision, and you will be more comfortable with your choice once you have selected the path that is right for you.

In arriving at the decision to adopt, it is important for the couple to talk extensively, to explore their feelings regarding taking on a child with whom they would have no biological connection. They have to explore their own feelings, and also take into account how their support network, their family and friends, would receive an adopted child. It is important to address any concerns and issues in your research leading up to the decision. Research, collect your facts, investigate all your options, explore your feelings, even those of loss at your inability to conceive (if infertility is what led you to consider adoption), mourn the loss of the biological child you will never have, find out how you feel about adoption, reach out and learn from the experience of other adoptive parents, discuss, talk, listen, share! Understand what it means to have a child who does not share the same genetic make-up as you, does not look like you, and about whom you may not have much more information. Especially in the case of adoption from Pakistan, most children available for adoption are abandoned at birth, and there is no information on the birth parents, no medical or family history, or evidence of adequate nutrition and pre-natal care. It is a journey of faith!

Even after you have decided that adoption is the right choice for your family, there are a lot more questions that need answers. We hope this website will take you through the process step-by-step and you will get a clear idea of what to expect from your adoption process in Pakistan.

Prospective adopters in UK need to contact their Local Authority Adoption and Fostering Team and discuss their plans to adopt a child from Pakistan. A letter needs to be sent to the team confirming their interest in adopting from abroad. A social worker will then visit to discuss what is involved in the process and provide further information. If the social worker feels the prospective adopters are not ready due to personal circumstance, they will suggest not starting the adoption process as yet. The social worker may also refer them to the Inter-country Adoption Centre (IAC) for a Consultation Day to help with making a decision.

The IAC offer one-day Consultation Days for prospective inter-country adopters. The sessions are led by Inter-country Adoption Centre staff together with experienced inter-country adopters. The day offers an informal setting in which to explore the procedures, issues and challenges involved in inter-country adoption in the company of other prospective adopters.

 

2. Financing your adoption

The main costs involved in inter-country adoption is as follows:

Home Study Assessment: Fees vary between Local Authorities, but on average £3000 - £5000.

Notarisation of documents: up to £19 per document

Flights and Living costs in Pakistan for 4- 8 months: vary by individual
Visa for the child: £260

Solicitor fees for adopting child in the UK: £1000 - £1500

Other costs in Pakistan will be solicitor fees for guardianship order, Medical examination and reports.

Please note the costs can vary depending on individual circumstances.

 

3. Selecting an Orphanage

The first thing that families wishing to adopt from Pakistan must consider when selecting an orphanage is the credibility of the organization. Unfortunately, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of child abduction and child trafficking cases every year and many of these children end up on the "black market". An orphanage should NEVER ask you for money in exchange for a child or ask you to do anything "under the radar". No exceptions. In fact, it is a good idea to avoid making any sort of donation to an orphanage, no matter how innocuous, before and during the adoption process to avoid the appearance of any conflict of interest. Once the adoption is complete, you can give to your heart's content, and we certainly hope you will!

UK immigration authorities are well aware of the child trafficking issues in Pakistan and the issue of the orphanages reputations is an especially imperative one as it could potentially pose problems with immigration proceedings. It is recommended that families try to limit the orphanages to ones that families living abroad, especially in the UK, have successfully adopted from in the past. This will serve as a good indication that the organization has been deemed reputable by UK immigration authorities, although authorities do not formally "approve of" or "disapprove of" of any NGOs in Pakistan. Please note that all the orphanages/organizations listed on this website have been used by families living abroad (for a list of orphanages, please click here). If you do decide to work with an orphanage not listed on this website, please research the organization as thoroughly as possible.

Another consideration when selecting an orphanage is the time you will have to wait to get a referral for a child as referral times vary from agency to agency. If you want to adopt a child as quickly as possible, as many families do, it is a good idea to apply to as many orphanages as possible (for a list of reputable orphanages, please click here). Applying at several orphanages will increase the likelihood that you will get your child sooner than you if you had just applied at just one or two. The Bilquis Edhi Adoption Centre typically gets the largest number of infants due to their "Jhoola" program (see article on "Adoption from Pakistan" for more details) and, therefore, tends to have a shorter referral time (about 4 months) than most other agencies. It is important to note, however, that the Edhi Foundation has, in the past, required a three-month waiting period between the time of the placement of the child and when they relinquish release forms that allow parents to proceed with gaining guardianship, but more recent adoptions have involved shorter waiting periods. This is something to consider if there is a strong time constraint on staying in Pakistan for an extended period of time. If, on the other hand, you have sometime before you would like to adopt, you can apply at any of the other organizations listed on this website, but you should realize that it can take up to two years to get a referral from some agencies such as SOS Children's Village and Kashana-e-Itfal-o-Naunihal which typically receive fewer infants.

The age of the child you wish to adopt may also play a role in which orphanages you decide to work with. As previously mentioned, the Bilquis Edhi Adoption Centre tends to get the largest number of infants due to their "Jhoola" program so it would be a very good choice for families seeking to adopt an infant. SOS Children's Village and Kashana-e-Itfal-o-Naunihal also place newborn infants for adoption. Edhi Foundation and SOS Childrens Village typically do not place older children in their system up for adoption, so you may wish to contact the other agencies listed on this website directly if you wish to adopt an older child.

Edhi Foundation has many children with special needs. These children may be available for adoption to families wishing to provide a loving and caring home to these kids.

It is highly recommended that families living abroad and wishing to adopt from Pakistan, work with a reputable orphanage or NGO and not attempt to adopt privately through a doctor, hospital or relative as this has proven to be increasingly difficult in conjunction with UK immigration policies (see "Why Not to Adopt Privately").

4. Why not to Adopt Privately

Adoption is a beautiful thing. For many couples like us, it is the only way to parenthood. The joy you get from holding your child in your arms is indescribable. The reward is worth all the hardships and the headaches. The journey to adopt is not an easy one, especially from Pakistan and especially if you adopt privately, through a relative or hospital rather than through a recognized orphanage or social welfare organization/NGO. I will talk about the issues a bit later. The fastest and the easiest way to adopt from Pakistan, is from a reputable orphanage. You can find the list of these orphanages on this website.

There are several reasons why UK High Commission gives you a hard time if you adopt privately from Pakistan. The main reason is suspicion of the rule of law in Pakistan. It is a sad truth that today in Pakistan any legal document can be easily obtained if you know the right people or thru rishwaat (bribe). For UK High Commission a legal document from Pakistan is simply a rubber stamp, a formality at best. They trust that once a child is handed over from an orphanage, his/her status as an orphan is verifiable.

Another reason for denial is that most hospitals or private parties are not associated with social services organizations, orphanages, or NGO's (non-governmental organizations). Most private parties do not have the means to ensure the credibility of prospective adoptive parents before handing over a child to them. It is the job of social services or orphanages. The proper process is to notify the local police and to get the guardianship through the Pakistani court. A private party simply does not have the legal right to hand over a child to someone they think can take good care of the child.

Another reason for denial is the fact that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of cases of child abduction and child trafficking from our part of the world. As deplorable and inhumane as the practice is, it happens more often than we think. UK High Commission wants to make sure that is not the case. You will have to prove your case that your child is truly an orphan.

A child adopted from any other source raises a red flag. According to the High Commission, almost all the cases where a child is obtained privately are rejected. As UK citizens they are bound by law to help other UK citizens. So they will investigate thoroughly. If they find any holes, your case will be rejected. In some cases charges can be filed against you if they see any wrong doing on your part. So be very careful. They will give you options. Most of them are not very practical. One was to stay in Pakistan with child. Another was to go to another country and get adoptive rights and then bring the child to UK. And the last is to challenge their denial by hiring a lawyer in UK. A challenge can take up to six months.

Based on the harrowing experience and countless sleepless nights some of our members went through, our advice and recommendation to all is DO NOT ADOPT PRIVATELY from Pakistan. Adopting a child from Pakistan via a reputable orphanage is a long process in itself. You do not want the added headache and the anxiety that comes from wondering if you will be able to bring your child home at all. All adoption journeys should end on a happy note. Please do not get your family in limbo; steer clear of private adoption.

 

5. Do's and Don'ts of Adopting from Pakistan

DO's

1. Research and explore all your options about where you can adopt from, what is the number of children available for adoption, how established the process is, and what kind of support you can expect for paperwork.
2. Complete your home study, and have it approved by your local authority, who will then send your papers to the Department for Children Schools and Families . Ensure you have received confirmation of your eligibility to adopt from the Department for Children Schools and Families and that your papers have been sent to the agency you have chosen to adopt from in Pakistan.
3. Consider the in-country process and time required as you weigh your options and make your plans. BE PATIENT the adoption process is very lengthy and from commencing it to being placed with a child can take 1-3 years. Enjoy the time getting ready for the baby and doing things that you know will be very difficult to do when the baby comes.
4. Be VERY FLEXIBLE when it comes to timeframes regarding paperwork in Pakistan. It typically takes 3-6 months for the in-country process once a child is released for paperwork.
5. Take into account the time from application to placement, and the time from placement to bringing the child home when you make your choice of which orphanage to work with.
6. Have a back-up plan and identify a local contact in Pakistan who can act on your behalf if need be. Obtain their contact info. and provide it to the agency you are working with so they can be called when a child is available for you.
7. Work with an adoption lawyer of repute who understands the process well and will guide you through the steps. You can engage the same lawyer to prepare the power of attorney for you, in case you need to designate someone to act on your behalf.
8. Take at least 1-2 months for the child's adjustment after returning home, allow yourself and the child to get acquainted with each other and develop a positive bond before sending the child to day care or other provider. This is especially important if you are adopting an older child.
9. Get your NICOP made BEFORE you go to Pakistan to adopt a child, it can take 4-8 weeks in Pakistan, 3-6 months if you apply in the US through your consulate. The last thing you want to do in Pakistan is to sit around waiting for your NICOP to come through so you can get the paperwork for the child going!
10. Speak to your GP and health visitor before you go to Pakistan and meet with him/her to discuss your future situation with the child.
11. Make copies of all your adoption documents and leave them with someone you trust on the home front just in case you lose some of the paperwork and need to get it re-created. The copies will come in handy if you ever find yourself in that situation. This includes passports, pre-adoption approvals, birth and marriage certificates, and all other paperwork.
12. Keep all your paperwork in your carry-on bag and NEVER part with it despite what the airline says. If you have to check in the bag, take your paperwork and valuables out before turning the bag over to them.
13. Keep in touch with this group http://groups.yahoo.com/group/pakistanadoption/ and ask any questions that come up, we are here as a resource.

DON'T s

1. Adopt a child privately, without going through a reputable and well known agency/orphanage such as Edhi, SOS or Kashana (especially if you are US or UK based).
2. Expect things to work EXACTLY the way you planned them, they won't.
3. Go to Pakistan without identifying all your contacts, have a list of emergency contact numbers and emails with several people both at home and in Pakistan.
4. Expect Edhi or other organization to just call you with a referral, keep in touch with them on a regular basis. In Pakistan the diligence with which you pursue things goes further than anything else! The more aggressively you pursue things, the better your odds of quick turnaround.
5. Accept a referral of a child till you get a medical check-up on the child and have satisfied yourself that everything is okay. You must send a medical report and information about your child to your Local Authority so that they can approve the match between you and the child.
6. Sit back and let others tell you "not to worry" because you are the best advocate for your case, others can help but you have to be your own facilitator and case worker in Pakistan to move things forward with your adoption.
7. Fall off the face of the earth once you go to Pakistan to adopt your baby, let us know how things are moving for you, if at all possible!
8. Forget to notify your local authority within 14 days of your return to the UK with your child. You also need to finalize your adoption formally through the UK courts, since adoption is not complete in Pakistan, only guardianship is granted through the court.

 

 
 
     
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DISCLAIMER: All listings, information, links, and personal opinions on this web site are collected and compiled by an informal group of individuals and provided as a community service to people planning to adopt a child from Pakistan. The information may not be current or accurate nor is it intended to be an endorsement for any agency, organization, individual etc. You may use this site solely at your own risk. This website assumes no liability for any damages resulting from the use of any information on this site. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be copied or transmitted in any form without the written permission of the group.

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