MUMBAI, India – After ending adoption services in India three years ago, Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity are set to return to the practice.
The Catholic religious order stopped doing adoptions after new government guidelines allowed single, divorced, and separated individuals to adopt. The Missionaries of Charity insisted children only go to families headed by married couples.
On Monday, India’s Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi said she met with Sister Mary Prema Pierick, the head of the order, and made an agreement to resume adoptions.
In a tweet, Gandhi said she wanted to work with the Missionaries of Charity on the issue, since the order runs 79 care homes, and she wanted the children resident in these facilities to go into family care.
The agreement was inevitable, since new legislation passed in 2015 said resident care facilities for children had to register form links with the closest adoption agency. Most of the homes run by the Missionaries of Charity have already registered, and the rest are in the process.
Government officials wanted the Missionaries of Charity to return to running their own adoption services, both because of the high level of standards at the order’s care facilities and the global recognition that their connection to Mother Teresa gave the religious congregation.
Many of the facilities say they are proud of their tradition of placing children into new homes.
“At our home Shishu Bhavan … Mother Teresa began adoptions in 1965 as a way to prevent abortions. At Shishu Bhavan around 7,000 babies have been adopted,” Sister Maria Joseph told Crux.
The Sishu Bhavan home is in the Vile Parle neighborhood of Mumbai.
The latest meeting between the government minister and head of the religious order is also a sign of the end of tensions following a child trafficking scandal at the order’s care facility in Ranchi.
In July, two women affiliated with the order, one a religious sister and the other a lay employee, were arrested and charged with trying to sell a baby for adoption.