Woman adopts child abandoned outside temple

family law

A woman living in the UK has now twice adopted a girl who was found abandoned outside a Delhi temple as an infant.

In a recently published judgment from November 2016, Mrs Justice Theis explained that girl, ‘X’, had been given an estimated date of birth due to the circumstances she was found in back in 2008. Despite extensive efforts, the authorities in India were unable to track down her birth family.

She had originally been housed in a local orphanage before the woman, ‘Ms S’, decided to give her a home. In 2012, when X was around six years old, Ms S legally adopted her and the two lived together in India from March of that year until October when they moved to the United Kingdom.

Although the adoption was “clearly legitimately obtained and secured in India”, it was not officially recognised by the UK. This was because when it took place, India was not yet on the designated countries list set out in the Adoption and Children Act 2002. Adoptions made in nations on this list are given automatic recognition here. Although India has since been added, this did not retroactively apply to adoptions prior to the change. As a result Ms S was not technically X’s parent in this country and therefore had to adopt her for a second time.

Mrs Justice Theis described X as “a confident vibrant, articulate, sensitive and gentle young girl” who “greatly wishes this adoption order to be made”. Because of the child’s “background, age, maturity and her residence with the applicant” her opinion carried “considerable weight”, the Judge added, before approving the order.

The beginning of X’s life was very similar to that of a girl from neighbouring Nepal who became the focus of an adoption dispute last year after the British couple who took her in broke up.

Read Re X in full here.

Photo of Delhi, India, by Colin Tsoi via Flickr under a Creative Commons licence.

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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