Sherin Mathews, the 3-year-old Indian girl who was adopted by Indian parents in Texas, United States (US) and was found dead on Sunday, was "adjusting well" with the family, authorities in India said.
The CEO of Central Adoption Resource Authority (CARA) Deepak Kumar told TNM that the American adoption agency Holt International had submitted four follow-up reports on Sherin since July last year.
Sherin was adopted from Bihar in July, 2016 and had been adjusting well with her adoptee parents, the official said.
Jagriti Chandra first reported for Press Trust of India (PTI) that CARA received four follow-up reports- on September 17, 2016, October 21, 2016 and then January 11 and July 13 this year.
According to the report, although Sherin was "secure and comfortable" at her new home but the parents found it "increasingly difficult to feed the child."
Describing Sherin as a child with "pleasant disposition," the social worker who visited the family, noted: "Eating has become more and more challenging for the family. She likes to eat food outside but not at home".
In order to avoid more serious long term eating concerns, several strategies including additional meals were to be provided to the child, the report stated.
According to CARA guidelines, the foreign agency should report the progress of the adopted child for two years from the date of arrival of the adopted child in the receiving country. In the first year, the follow-up has to be on a quarterly basis and on six monthly basis in the second year.
Confirming the information to TNM, Deepak Kumar said that CARA had been satisfactory with the follow-up reports from the American adoption agency.
And what happens to adopted children (overseas) after the second year? Deepak Kumar said that the foreign adoption agency has the provision of organizing annual meet ups.
Dismissing the need for further follow-ups, Deepak said:
"What is the need of following up on these cases after the 2nd year? The follow-ups are done to make sure that the child is adjusting in the new surroundings and if there are issues, it becomes evident in the first year itself. Moreover, an adopted child has the same status as a biological child and if the settlement is proper, then why disturb the privacy of the family?"
Asked about CARA's response to the death of the child, Deepak said that it was up to the US government to investigate the case and bring it to a logical conclusion.
"According to the Hague Convention, US is bound to give us an update on the developments in the case. As far as there is no laxity reported in the investigation carried out by the US, there is no requirement for the Indian government to intervene," he said.
At least 600 children are given up for adoption to NRI/ overseas parents a year, through the 200-odd registered foreign adoption agencies. According to the official, the maximum number of children are sent to US and France. In the US, there are 27 foreign adoption agencies that are registered with CARA.