Even as cases of female foeticide are on the rise across Maharashtra, the prevailing trend in city orphanages is that couples prefer to adopt a female child. In fact, most orphanage authorities and adoptive parents agree that adopting a girl is not a compromise, but their first choice.
Not only does the trend reflect in number of adoptions, but also in the waiting list that shows more couples wanting to adopt a girl child as compared to boys.
When Sutarwadi residents, Suvarna and Santosh Sutar, were told that their wait for a girl child could stretch for more than a year, but adopting a boy could be faster, they chose to wait.
“I had delivered two sons earlier, but lost both of them. Since the time we got married, we wanted a daughter and when we had a choice, we wanted to adopt a baby girl,” said Suvarna. Her adopted daughter Shragvi is now 19 months old.
While the Sutars consider themselves lucky as they did not have to wait for more than seven months to take their daughter home, some couples like doctor-engineer couple Asawari and Prashant Deshmukh had to wait longer.
The Baner couple adopted their daughter Heera (2) from Sassoon Hospital-run Society of Friends of Sassoon Hospitals (SOFOSH) where the waiting list for girls can run longer. “I do not have any brothers, we are three sisters and my parents are very happy as they know that daughters are more affectionate towards their parents. That is the reason we also wanted our first child to be a girl,” said Deshmukh.
Dipika Maharajsingh, vice-chairperson of SOFOSH, said though cases of abandoning of the female child were on the rise; they did not have enough female babies for adoption as compared to male babies.
“As far as the waiting list is concerned, this year, we have 23 couples waiting for female children as compared to 14 waiting for male children. The trend has been the same for the last couple of years. In 2011, we had 43 families waiting for girls as compared to 37 waiting for boys. Clearly, adoptive parents prefer to adopt girls and while part of it is attributed to counselling by our social workers, it is true that families do not think of girls any less than boys. In fact, they find them more affectionate,” she said.
Even we consider actual adoptions, in 2011, 29 girls were adopted as compared to 27 boys. This year, a total of 12 boys and 13 girls have been adopted by Indian couples so far, added Maharajsingh.
The managing trustee of Renuka Mahajan Trust, Narendra Kharale, also confirmed that the attitude of parents towards adoption of girls is definitely positive.
“Young educated couples, who are ready to wait for months for a girl child, have reversed the age-old belief that boys are preferred in Indian families. Earlier, we would see that they would do it as a compromise or as a second child, but now people adopt girls as their first child,” he said. The fact that girls get married and move away from their families is no longer a barrier for adoptive parents.