The Bombay High Court recently permitted a US national to adopt a 12-year-old autistic boy and directed the passport office to complete the travel document formalities at his residence, noting that he may have difficulty in travelling and waiting for the same at the Passport Office.
The Court was hearing a foreign adoption petition filed by a 59 year old American national, Debbie Jean Childs, who has been working in India for the past 15 years. She now sought to adopt the autistic boy, Joshua Vishvas Childs, who she had been single-handedly taking care of for the last seven years. She had approached the High Court in view of the Supreme Court Guidelines for intercountry adoption, which require leave of the court to take the child with the adopting parents to their country for taking him/her in adoption.
Giving his seal of approval to the adoption petition, Justice G.S. Patel noted the suitability of the petitioner in view of her profile as well as her work over the years in India. He made sure that all paperwork was in place and observed, “I have seen the home study report and social worker’s assessment report. This report is entirely positive and recommends the adoption of Joshua by Ms Childs. It specifically notes that she alone has cared for Joshua for the last seven years. There is no question of her being unaware of his autism. It is she who has seen him through the last several years with that condition.”
The Court then allowed the petition but noted the difficulties that Joshua might face in traveling till the passport office and waiting for the same. Justice Patel, therefore, directed the Regional Passport Office to complete the requisite procedure at Joshua’s home instead, observing,
“I must note that Joshua is before me even as this order is passed. It seems to me that it will be exceedingly difficult for Joshua to wait in any waiting area while his passport application is being processed. His condition will not permit this. The Regional Passport Office is directed to take the necessary interviews or complete the necessary procedure at the residence where Joshua is more comfortable.
Given that this is a special case, the Protocol Department of the High Court will assist Ms Childs in coordinating with the Regional Passport Office so that the process is smooth. The Prothonotary & Senior Master is requested to instruct the Protocol Staff to coordinate with Ms Childs, the Petitioner institution and the Passport Office.”