Tuesday Dec 6, 2022
Tuesday Dec 6, 2022

Has adopting a child got easier for Nepalese?

A look at the current national directive and policies for adoption in Nepal

2022 May 02, 7:38, Kathmandu
Photo : representative image/stockvault
The Government of Nepal recognizes Nepal Children’s Organization (NCO) as the only official body to process adoption in Nepal. Although, both Nepali and foreign citizens are allowed to adopt from the NCO, the prioritization of foreign citizens over Nepali citizens in regards to adopting a child is a matter of serious discussion.
In conversation with Nepal News, Bidhya Neupane the director NCO says, “Even though Nepali citizens are free to apply for adoption, the selection process that application will go through is very strict, that is to ensure the wellbeing of the child they desire to adopt from us.”
 “In NCO we provide children with good nutrition, quality education and take care of their necessities, we want to make sure that those adopting a child from us can provide better a better life for them. Foreign donors are financially stable and the children they take from us will have higher chances of having a better quality of life under their guardianship,” she adds.
This has been an issue that many childless Nepali couples have to face. To adopt a child in Nepal is a long, arduous process which disappoints many genuine couples who seek to adopt a child and start a family. Many give up in disappointment. With greater economic opportunities, Nepalis are more affluent and open to global influences. In the modern day transformation of outlook to life, values and evolving cultural practices, many couples would like to adopt a child but find the legal process and permissions very difficult to navigate.

Photo : Representative image/ wikimedia commons
Photo : Representative image/ wikimedia commons

“Adopting a child for Nepali citizens has been made convenient in the recent days; this is due to several unfortunate incidents of bondage labor, slavery, organ transplantation and sexual abuse of Nepali children adopted by foreign nationals. The policy regarding inter – country adoption in Nepal has been made much stricter, and the permission to adopt a child is not easily granted to foreign nationals in the present time. However Nepali citizens can certainly adopt a child if they are eligible do so under the Civil Code of Nepal and have fulfilled all the legal requirements,” says advocate Shalik Ram Sapkota the former Vice president of Nepal Bar Association and Chief Executive officer (CEO) at Lawyers Think Ink Nepal.

About the allegations put on the NCO for taking in financial benefits through giving children to international clients, Neupane says, “We do not sell children from our organization, we keep records of every child registered with us and we only give children up for adoption to international sponsors, the foreign embassies get involved in the process as well.”

Headed by the Queen of Nepal in the past, Bal Mandir is seeking to reestablish its former glory and reputation with international donors under the leadership of Neupane. “The old administration misused our assets for their own gains for a long time, but we are now trying to rechannel the possessions we have for the welfare of the children we have with us,” she also discloses.

Section 69 of the Civil Code of Nepal, 2017 states, if a person accepts a son or daughter of another person as his or her son or daughter, such a son or a daughter shall be deemed to be an adopted son or daughter.

“In the case of a married man or woman applying for adoption of a minor, it is required that both the husband and wife agree on adopting the child. This is to ensure the child adopted receives full care and love,” says advocate Shalik Ram Sapkota. “Also a 25 year age gap must exist between the adoptive person and the adopted son or daughter, except in the case that the adopted son or daughter is a blood relative to the adoptive person,” he adds.

Photo : Representative image / wikimedia commons
Photo : Representative image / wikimedia commons

While the practice of legally adopting a child is a modern day phenomenon for Nepal, adoption is rooted in Nepal’s ancient religious culture. “It is allowed in fact desired in the Hindu religion to adopt a son (Dharmaputra) and daughter (Dharmaputri) for a married couple who are not able to conceive for a long period of time. Before religiously adopting the son or daughter as one’s (Dharmaputra) adopted son or (Dharmaputri) adopted daughter, a religious ceremony dedicated to worship Lord Satya Narayan and Lord Shiva should be held. After the completion of the religious ceremony both the adoptive parents and adopted son or daughter are required to fulfill the religious duties of parent and offspring respectively,” says Pandit Nawraj Khatiwada, of the Pashupatinath Temple in Kathmandu. He further adds, “In the past, the children were selected on the basis of their ethnicity but now even that it is no longer applicable, parents’ of one ethnicity adopt a child belonging to a different ethnicity in religious ceremonies these days.”

Orphans and voluntarily abandoned children can be adopted in Nepal. Moreover, the children who are found unclaimed by the police are also legally available for adoption in the country. “Only the children who are given an orphan certificate by the district administration office are eligible to be adopted,” says advocate Sapkota.

Based on the current national directive for adoption in Nepal, below are some important policies regarding adoption mandated by the Government of Nepal.

Who are eligible to adopt a child ?

A married couple, who have not been able to conceive for ten years of their marriage, are allowed to adopt a son or daughter in Nepal. As for unmarried individuals, they should be at least 45 years in age to be able to adopt a child.

People who are denied the right to adopt

People who do not have the financial capacity to afford maintenance, health care, education, sports and entertainment of a child are not allowed to adopt in Nepal. People suffering from mental health illnesses and those convicted by the court for any criminal offense are also not allowed to adopt under Nepal’s law.

How can Nepali citizens apply for adoption?

If a Nepali citizen is desirous of adopting a child, he or she should make a petition to the respective district court of his/her residence, in fulfillment of all the legal requirements. After receiving the petition, the district court will inquire on the eligibility of the applicant/s to adopt a child, as per national adoption policy and if found eligible, issue an order granting the permission to adopt a child to the respective applicant/s.


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