New Delhi: When it comes to adopting a child, not many Indians would go for one with special needs. However, the trend is quite the reverse in the case of foreigners who prefer a differently abled child for adoption.

According to Anu J. Singh, member secretary of the Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA), nearly 50 percent children adopted by foreigners in India are kids with special needs.

The trend holds true among non-resident Indians (NRIs) as well, as they are increasingly adopting differently abled children.

"There are lots of children with special needs - they may be physically or mentally challenged, blind...but Indians don't prefer such a child for adoption," Singh the media person.
"If a child is over two years of age or had suffered from tuberculosis earlier - because some kids come from extremely impoverished backgrounds - again people don't want them," she added.

But with foreigners, the trend is quite the opposite, she said.

"Almost 45-50 percent children adopted by foreigners in the last two years itself have been ones with special needs. And not just special needs, they prefer kids who may have been suffering from some disease, like TB, or those with siblings...then they adopt two-three kids together because we don't want to separate siblings," Singh told IANS.

In 2010, for instance, of the 593 children who were placed for inter-country adoption, 281 were with special needs. And this year, until June, of the 333 children adopted, 185 were especially able.

If you look at the NRI statistics, 26 percent children adopted by NRIs in 2010 were with special needs and this year, until June, it has been 33 percent.

The reasons for this trend, Singh said, are mostly philanthropic.

"In a way it's good that most of these special needs children go abroad after being adopted. The facilities available there are much better...and these kids completely blossom with that extra care and tender love," she smiled.

An example of such a case is that of a blind child put up for adoption by CARA about seven years back. While he had no takers here, a foreign couple adopted him and took him back home in the US.

"We have very strict adoption rules under which we regularly check on the child's progress after adoption for at least two years. For inter-country adoption, we have tie-ups with foreign agencies that do the monitoring," Singh said.

"Just recently we got an update of this particular child from his parents - and we were pleasantly surprised at his progress. He was a gifted musician and had performed at school and topped it! And can you imagine, here no one would take him...," she added.

The top five countries for inter-country adoption are the US, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Sweden.

In an attempt to keep the child close to his or her roots, preference is given to NRI couples, Singh said.

In 2010, the total number of adoptions - both in country and inter-country - were 6,286. Until June this year, the total number of adoptions is 3,880.