Adoption in Nepal: A New Home, a New Family, a New Life!

Features Issue 30 Aug, 2010
Text by Vaishali Pradhan / Photo: Raj Bhai Suwal, Sangay Amina Bomzan

These words seem so fallacious to day. After meeting some wonderful people who have taken a huge step towards helping such children in need, my outlook has changed. I myself have become stronger; I feel that I can also strive to make a difference in their lives. Adoption can change lives and it has.|

The story of Sangay Amina Bomzan
The journey from a daughter to a mother of four young boys, in just a few months; she got what she had wanted for so long. Sangay Amina Bomzan, Administrator of Handicap International, single and successful, is now a proud mother. ‘Adoption’ was something she never had in her mind, but always loved kids. Right from her early days she dreamt of having five kids. It seems

god heard her prayers and today she is a single mother of four young handsome boys. But this wonderful journey was not as simple as it may sound.

A few days after the horrific landslide in Dhading district, Bomzan and her parents saw these boys on television. Somewhere deep inside she heard a voice and felt a need to do something for them. “We did not have a kid around the house for a long time, so I thought of adopting the youngest of the four”, says Bomzan. “But I was not serious at that time until my parents and my brother all slowly supported my idea”, she adds. Once her mind was made up, there was no looking back.

An entusiastic team of nine people headed towards Dhading. Bomzan was lucky to be accompanied by her brother, aunt and friends, but the trip was not as easy as they had anticipated. It was an arduous journey as they had to walk for two days in order to reach the remote village. Heavy rain beat down on them, leaches would not stop biting, and wide streams had to be crossed, but nothing could deter them. However, bitter disappointment awaited them. She could not meet them there, as they had been moved to Kathmandu.

Bomzan finally met the boys at Bal Mandir, Nepal Children’s Organization at Naxal. Initially, she had only wished to adopt the youngest boy, but after having seen them all, she could not help but change her mind. She firmly decided to adopt all four of them. “I could not even think of separating them as they cared for each other; they were one family,” she says. The adoption procedures began right away. In the mean time, she started familiarizing herself with the boys. Her eyes twinkle with joy as she recalls, “I brought the boys over to the house for Dashain and Tihar. At first they seemed quite nervous about the idea, but soon they were enjoying the environment”.

By January 21st 2002, all adoption procedures were over and the boys came home for good. To start their lives anew the boys were given new names. The eldest one called Mek Bahadur was named Siddharth, Mangal, the middle one became Gautam, the third one called Bhudhe was named Buddha and the youngest one, Aite got the name Maitriya. “I had to change their names as they would now be going to school and they would be among friends. And what better names could I give them than the various names of Lord Buddha”, Bomzan says. The eldest one is in class three at Shridiwa International School. The second and the third go to Tashi Waldrof School in class two and the youngest one will be starting his session this year. “I want them to have their own identity which is why I have not changed their family name; they are still Lepchas. I never taught them to call me “mother’, they call me Nana (Sister in Tamang language). Later in life, if they wish to go back to their village, they are free to do so”, Bomzan states. Asked if she has ever regretted this bold act of hers, she laughs, “Touch wood I have no regrets. Everyone has been supportive and after all, if you look at problems, then problems will surely come, we should just be positive and only positive things will happen.”

Adoption procedures are not easy. A number of criteria have to be fulfilled, based on which a person will be given the right to adopt a child. The Adoption Criteria in detail: (Ref: No.12 A. of the Chapter on Adoption of the country Code (Muluki Ain), His Majesty’s Government)

1. The applicant should be a couple. However, single women can also apply.

2. The age of the applicant should not exceed 50 for a couple, but for a single woman her age should be 35 -50.

3. The couple should have been married at least 4 years.

4. A couple having a child can adopt another one on showing a proof of infertility.

5. There should be an age difference of 30 years between the applicant and the child.

6. The adoption sub committee has full rights to accept or reject the application.

According to the Chapter on Adoption of the country Code (Muluki Ain, His Majesty’s Government) some of the Conditions and Procedures made to provide Nepalese Children to Foreign Nationals for Adoption are:

1. If a foreign national has an offspring, His Majesty’s Government may give acceptance to such foreign national who has a son, to adopt a girl child and who has a daughter, to adopt a boy child. Provided, however, that no acceptance shall be given to such national who has a boy child to adopt a boy child and who has a girl child to adopt a girl child.

2. Twins and children from one family may be given to one and the same family provided if one and the same person desires to adopt the twins or two children of one family, give acceptance to adopt them as adopted son or daughter accordingly.

3. No acceptance to adopt Nepali children as adopted son / daughter shall be given to any foreign national unless there is a minimum difference of the age as mentioned below: -

(a) the difference in age between the adopted boy / girl child and the adoptive foreign national shall be twenty-five years in minimum.

(b) In case the foreign national who has adopted boy / girl child has offspring of his own, the age of the adopted boy / girl child shall be less than that of his offspring.

4. Children to be allowed to give for adoption as adopted son / daughter: His Majesty’s Government may give approval to a foreign national to adopt the following children only:

(a) Orphan children,

(b) Any children whose parents, mother or guardian has wished, at their own will, to give them for adoption.

A number of documents must also be submitted along with the application.

1. Detailed letter explaining the reason for adoption.

2. Consent from concerned authority to adopt child from abroad

3. At least five recommendation letters from high authorities.

4. Marriage certificate, infertility report, medical certificate (including mental)

5. Character certificate, Bank certificate, List of properties, Tax Clearance.

6. Photocopies of citizenship and passport.

For details check the web site for Bal mandir. Nepal Children’s Organization (Bal Mandir) pledges to be a Home for every child. Bal Mandir, a child-right-welfare social organization was founded under the patronage of her Majesty the Queen Mother. Since its establishment it has been working in the field of well-being of the homeless, parentless and abandoned children. Presently NCO is running 10 children’s homes with about 550 children aged between 0-22 years and has 75 district committees and more than 3852 voluntary members across the country. NCO arranges a service of in-country and inter-country child adoptions in accordance with the law of Nepal, considering that it is the right of every child to grow up with his/her parent. Website:

Two renowned personalities who have in some way been involved in the adoption procedures in Nepal graciously gave their time for an interview with ECS. Deepak Raj Sapkota, the present Executive Director of Central Child Welfare Board worked for Nepal Children Organization for eight long years where he was one of the active members of the Adoption committee there. Sanu Prajapati Maharjan, a representative of N.A.A.A (Nucleo Assistenza Adozione E Affido), an Adoption and Foster family aid group has been working in close relations with the Italian Embassy, making it easier for Italian families to adopt children from Nepal.

Maria and Leonardo

An Italian couple, Maria and Leonardo had a mutual understanding three years back. They decided to adopt a child. Following the procedures of the Italian government, the couple registered themselves at N.A.A.A (an Adoption and Foster family aid group). For them it was age no bar, sex no bar and it did not matter which country the child was from. N.A.A.A suggested they adopt a girl child from Nepal and for them it was an instant yes. Procedures began and in mid October Maria and Leonardo visited Nepal for the first time. They met Kavita, a little girl. Sweet dusky face, twinkling eyes, Maria could not control her feelings. “I was so happy to see her. The feeling was awesome”, says Maria. Back in Italy the lengthy procedures began. Back and forth to the office of N.A.A.A was tiring, but nevertheless in the end it was rewarding. Six months later, the Italian couple returned to Nepal and this time to make Kavita their own.

I met Maria and Leonardo at the Shangri-la hotel over breakfast. Leonardo and Maria were sitting together with Kavita their little daughter. Kavita was extremely happy; she kept giving her cute smiles, which lightened up the entire place. “I am very happy. I like my parents and I want to go out with them”, says Kavita. (Translated from Nepali). The parents too were very excited. “We do not have our own children so we wanted to adopt a child and we are extremely delighted to have Kavita. Nepal is a country rich in culture and heritage and I want to learn about the various cultures so that I can teach Kavita about it”, says Maria. Both Leonardo and Maria want Kavita to grow in an atmosphere where she can get complete knowledge about Italy, its culture and people, yet not forget her own language, her culture and her own people. “We will be her guardian and take good care of her, but in the end it is entirely her choice. If she wishes to return to Nepal, we will not disagree and may be we will come along too”, Maria concludes.