Bengaluru, April 12: Almost 10 years ago, Sunny P (name changed on request) was adopted by a Bengaluru couple from an orphanage in Puducherry. The childless couple brought Sunny, who was then just three years old, to the city and raised him with great care and affection.
However, Sunny's adoptive mother died four years ago. In 2015, his adoptive father got remarried. That was when the teenager's life took a U-turn. According to a complaint lodged at the Childline, Bengaluru, by one of Sunny's neighbours, the boy was physically abused by his new mother on a daily basis.
Childline is a country-wide NGO which helps children in times of emergency, through its toll free number 1098.
"After we received the complaint, we spoke to Sunny over phone. He narrated his harrowing experience to us. According to Sunny his father is a good man. He still loves Sunny a lot. However, his new mother physically abuses him on a daily basis. In fact, it was one of the neighbours who informed us about Sunny's plight," says Nagasimha G Rao, nodal coordinator of Childline, Bengaluru.
Since it is a tricky case, Childline is adopting a wait and watch policy, instead of taking any immediate step.
"It's a complex case. We know the boy is facing harassment in his adoptive house. However, we can't take any immediate action. We are closely monitoring the situation. We are planning to first have a dialogue with the adoptive parents, before deciding on the next step," adds Rao.
In order to protect the identity of the child, OneIndia is not revealing any detail about Sunny's foster parents. As per information available with the Childline, Sunny's adoptive father is a rich man and the family's house is located in a posh residential area of the city. Currently, Sunny is studying in a popular private school in Bengaluru.
The activists, working in the field of child rights, say they are facing moral dilemma, as Sunny's case is unusual.
"Thus we can't rescue the child immediately and put him in a boy's home, run by the government. All these years, Sunny has been leading a normal life with access to good education. He is a bright student too. Once we rescue him, we have to put him in the custody of a boy's home. It will hamper his education. We don't want that to happen to him," says Nagamani, another member of Childline.
"Since we are closely observing the case, we are hoping to solve it soon," adds Nagamani.
Although there is no official statistics regarding the status of adopted children in the country, members of Childline say more than fifty percent of such children are abandoned by their adoptive parents.
"There are thousands of kids in several orphanages and children homes waiting to be adopted. There are also many childless couples who want to adopt children. The Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) has come up with strict guidelines. However, they are flouted on a regular basis, as several illegal adoption centres have mushroomed across the country," says Nagamani.
Activists rue the fact that children with disabilities and older children never find a home. "Most of the prospective adoptive parents are very choosy. They never adopt disabled kids. They always want fair and beautiful kids. At times, shockingly, many couples want to adopt children belonging to their caste," laments a child rights activist.