Missionaries of Charity congregation agrees to register all its children's homes with state governments
Sister Mary Prema Pierick (center) and two Missionaries of Charity nuns meet federal minister Maneka Gandhi on Oct. 29. The congregation has agreed to join India's system of baby adoption. (Photo from the Twitter page of Maneka Gandhi)
The Missionaries of Charity (MC) congregation has agreed to resume its service of giving children for adoption.
The congregation founded by St. Teresa of Kolkata, commonly known as Mother Teresa, discontinued giving babies from their orphanages for adoption in October 2015 after disagreeing with a new federal law that allowed single and divorced woman to adopt children.
The congregation has revised its stance and will join the centralized adoption service system set up by the government, said Maneka Gandhi, who heads the Ministry of Women and Child Development.
A delegation of three MC nuns including Sister Mary Prema Pierick met the minister on Oct. 29 and decided that children in its 79 homes can go into family care.
The nuns in a Nov. 2 press release said they had agreed to register all their childcare homes with respective state governments as mandated by the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015.
Gandhi has asked them to undergo registrations of all their homes and link them with specialized adoption agencies who would carry out the placement of children declared legally free for adoption.
Most MC homes for children are already registered and the remaining homes are in the process of completing registration formalities, the release said.
"It is mandatory for every orphanage to get registered with the state government, and children in an orphanage will go for adoption irrespective of the concerns of those who run it," said Sister Clara Animuttil, who runs an orphanage in Madhya Pradesh state.
"Orphanages without registration run the risk of closing down and the government offers no exception to anyone."
After they withdrew from the government adoption system, MC homes offered their orphan babies, such as those of unwed mothers, to the nearest district child welfare center. The center would then offer those babies for adoption.
Sister Prema did not explain why the congregation had revised its stance.
The meeting with Gandhi was the first since her ministry in July ordered all states to carry out inspections of all children's homes run by MC nuns following allegations of the illegal sale of children born to unmarried mothers in a MC-run home in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state.
MC nun Sister Concilia, who ran the Ranchi home, was arrested. She remains in jail after Jharkhand's High Court rejected her bail application on Oct. 30 saying her release may hamper investigations.
Sister Prema said the nuns were praying that the collaboration between the congregation and the ministry "will serve for the good of God's children in need of love and care."
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