Adopting from India

Barker's India Adoption Program is open to Indian and non-Indian Heritage families.

Families seeking to adopt a child from India must be, at a minimum, open to a child or sibling group up to four years of age. Families may indicate preferences for younger children depending upon the ages of the prospective adoptive parents. At least one parent must be a United States citizen. 

India currently offers two adoption programs. 

Heritage Program

The Heritage Program is open to families with one Indian passport holder (NRI) or Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) cardholder. In this program, families are given priority in adopting children without identified specialized needs. OCI and NRI prospective parents are eligible to adopt a child considered overall healthy, though families should note that wait times tend to be longer in this program. NRI and OCI families may wait in the Heritage and Non-Heritage program simultaneously.

Non-Heritage Program

The Non-Heritage Program is open to families of most backgrounds who are open to "Waiting Children," or children in India with moderate to significant identified specialized needs. Children of all ages need families through this program, though especially children over the age of 8.  Large sibling groups of 3+ children are also in need of families through this program. 

Learn More About Parent Eligibility for Adopting in India:

CITIZENSHIP: At least one parent must be a United States citizen.

MARRIAGE: Heterosexual married couples with 2 years of stable marriage. Single females may be eligible, and single males may be eligible to adopt waiting children (children with specialized needs).

AGE: Parents must be at least 25 years old and there must be a 25 year age difference between the child and the youngest parent.  When calculating eligibility for married couples, the years, months, and days of age must be added together in order to determine eligibility.


SPECIAL CONSIDERATIONS: Domestic families in India and Indian Passport Holder (NRI) families are given priority.  OCI cardholders are given the same priority as NRI families.

EXISTING CHILDREN: Families cannot have more than 1 child already in the home. An exception allows families with two or more children to adopt a child with special needs.

HISTORY: All adopting parents must show good moral character with no criminal history. All adopting parents are required to complete a psychological evaluation.

Apply Now!

In-Service Family Resources: Current Barker families can access updates, documents and instructions by clicking this button and entering your assigned password. Access Resources


Children Waiting in India

In India, children waiting for adoption are in an orphanage group home setting while waiting for a permanent loving family. All children matched through the India Program are legally free for adoption per India's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) Adoption. 

View More Details:

AGE AT REFERRAL & PLACEMENT: Children in need of families through this program range in age from 6 months to 17 years, including children with needs ranging from minor to significant and sibling groups.

CARE IN COUNTRY: Children reside in orphanages.

BIRTH PARENTS: Children typically come into care because they are lost or abandoned.  In the unusual case that children are surrendered for adoption by their birth parents, there is still no background available on the birth parent.  As a result, limited to no background information is available from the time before a child came into care.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Referrals presented include limited medical information (but allow families to ask for a doctor visit), relinquishment history, limited development information, and a photo of a child.

GENDER: Families can request specific biological sex but need to be aware of delays when doing so.

COMMON NEEDS: Heritage program: mild developmental delays, malnutrition, minor/correctable issues, impacts of institutional care, potential abuse, and neglect history.  Children matched through the traditional program are considered overall healthy with the potential for normal growth and development.  Waiting Child (Non-Heritage) Program: Moderate to significant specialized needs, including all of the above listed.  Common needs seen are HIV+, developmental delays, developmental disabilities, missing limbs, hearing/vision issues, and cerebral palsy.

The Process

Before applying, all prospective adoptive parents are encouraged to participate in a free adoption information meeting. Ask Barker's adoption experts questions to help you determine if this program is the best fit for you and your family. Learn more about adopting from India, including the adoption process, eligibility requirements, and common needs of the children waiting. For families wanting a more in-depth meeting before making a decision, Barker offers pre-adoption consultations with our program director. 

Find a Free Information Meeting   Schedule a Pre-Adoption Consultation

Once you are ready to move forward, the first step is to apply and start your pre-adoption training and home study. Once you submit your adoption dossier and CARA approves your case, our program staff works with you to identify a child who would be an appropriate match. The timeline for this process will vary depending on which track you are using. However, it may be shorter for families who are open to matches from the special needs list.

Learn More About The Process:

  1. Submit an adoption application to Barker.

  2. Complete the pre-adoption group, the on-line training, and the home study.

  3. Complete and submit an adoption dossier for India.

  4. Traditional Program:  Receive a referral of a child approximately 3.5-4 years after the dossier is sent to India (traditional program). This timeline is highly variable and has lengthened and shortened over the years. 

    Waiting Child Program:  Match with a child approximately 6-18 months after dossier is sent to India.  This timeline is highly variable and most heavily dependent on the age and medical needs a family is open to.  More open families will wait shorter periods, while families with more limited openness will wait 18+ months for a successful match.

  5. Once a referral has been accepted, travel to India approximately 7-12 months after referral acceptance. This timeline may be expedited for children with significant special needs. Parents may have the opportunity to foster after NOC, with approval from the orphanage.

  6. Stay in India for approximately one to two weeks. While some situations allow for just one parent to travel, we strongly encourage both parents to travel. Other cases may require both parents to travel and may also require additional time in country. When adopting as a couple, both parents are required to travel for custody. Other cases may require additional time in country. 

  7. Return home to the United States with your child. Your child automatically becomes a U.S. citizen upon entering the United States.

  8. Send a copy of your child’s Certificate of Citizenship to Barker once received.

Your social worker will guide and support you through this important time. Your social worker will visit with you within the first month, during the third, sixth, ninth, twelfth, eighteenth, and twenty-fourth months after you return from India.

How Much Does it Cost to Adopt From India?

View estimated costs and fees for adopting from India and using our home study services:

Full Service Clients (training, placement, home study, and post-placement supervision): $13,200 + International Fee: $12,000-13,000

Placement Services Only Clients: $8,600 + International Fee: $12,000-13,000

Travel Fees: Approximately $4,500 - $7,000 per person

Full Fee Agreements:  Barker Adoption Foundation Fee Agreements by Program

Apply Now!


Working with Barker


Barker has a long history of working cooperatively with the Indian government's Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) and with orphanages throughout the country. Barker's staff have significant international adoption experience, are passionate about helping children, and will guide you through every step of the process. And our services don't stop at placement. Working with Barker means you will have life-long and ongoing opportunities to be a special part of the Barker adoption community of adoptive families.


If you have questions about the children or the process of adopting from India, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.
We are eager to talk to you!

Email the Barker Adoption Foundation

info [at] (Email Us)