Anya, third from left, has found a new home with Ajay Keerthy, his wife Puja Vijaykant, and their son Vivaan, 3, in Dubai. It took the couple more than seven years to adopt her.  Jeffrey Biteng / The National
Anya, third from left, has found a new home with Ajay Keerthy, his wife Puja Vijaykant, and their son Vivaan, 3, in Dubai. It took the couple more than seven years to adopt her. Jeffrey Biteng / The

Parents’ stress of years-long adoption process melts away with hug from little Anya

Bureaucratic and judicial delays in India stretch the adoption process to 18 months for resident prospective parents and twice as long for expats. Puja Vijaykant, who recently adopted a girl, says the red tape should be eased.

DUBAI // Puja Vijaykant scoops her daughter Anya into her arms, and the emotional toll exacted from her by a long adoption process melts away.

It took patience, persistence, hundreds of emails, phone calls and more than seven years for Ms Vijaykant and her husband Ajay Keerthy to adopt a child from their home country.

By sharing their story, they hope to help other Indian expatriates to cope with the bureaucratic and judicial delays. There are 141 Indian expats in the Arabian Gulf who are waiting to adopt children.

“The process needs to be made simpler and needs to have more heart,” Ms Vijaykant said. “Parents can submit whatever documentation or verification is needed, but once parents have seen the child the process should not be prolonged.

“The judiciary needs to play a role to expedite it. We also must get rid of the bureaucracy that needs a stamp here and a seal there, and do away with registered post that takes two to three weeks to come through.”

Ms Vijaykant and her husband adopted 14-month-old Anya from an orphanage in Srikakulam, in southern India. Anya is among 112 children to find a home in the region in the past four years.

Inundated with calls from couples who wish to adopt, Omana Menon, who is licensed by India’s Central Adoption Resource Authority to help couples in the UAE and Arabian Gulf countries adopt Indian children, asks couples to be patient.

“You cannot blame anyone,” she said. “You cannot say the authority is wrong because it’s not an easy thing, they are doing the best they can. Neither can you blame the poor parents. They are getting older and get extremely disturbed the longer it takes.”

The adoption process for Indian expatriates is usually twice as long as the 18-month period for prospective parents in India.

Ms Vijaykant and Mr Keerthy had to wait an extra two years. They had to reapply in 2012 after their original registration in India in 2010 was returned because of their move overseas.

There was a further wait of 16 months from October 2012 because Indian authorities had stopped accepting expatriates’ adoption applications because of a lack of children.

When the adoption process restarted in 2014, it took a year before the couple had a chance to look at children awaiting adoption, and they chose Anya last October.

It took another month for Anya to be placed in the care of grandparents, who live in India.

Then the court order took two months, with the couple travelling back and forth at least five times. The process distressed Vivaan, the couple’s three-year-old son, who woke up crying most nights asking why his sister was not in Dubai.

“The adoption process does not take into account the trauma and stress that the child and parents go through,” Ms Vijaykant said.

Finally, in Dubai last month, Anya was getting to know her new family. She ran to Ms Vijaykant and sat quietly on her lap as Ms Vijaykant explained what it took to bring Anya to the child’s new home.

For Mr Keerthy, it is heart-warming to see Anya play with Vivaan and other children in their Jumeirah Beach Residence community.

“It’s not a fairytale story because settling in takes time,” Mr Keery said.

“The child is used to a different environment so she cries for every little thing, because that’s the way she has got her way in the orphanage.

“The process fatigued us because we had to push so much. It takes a toll on everything. But when I go back home and see her responding to us or when we try getting both kids to bed, I would never want it any other way.”


Criteria for adoption

Rules for -non-resident Indians.

•Prospective adoptive parents should be physically, mentally and emotionally stable, financially capable, motivated to adopt a child and should not have any life-threatening medical condition.

•An adoptive father, irrespective of his marital status and whether or not he has his own biological son or daughter, can adopt a child.

•A single woman is eligible to adopt a child of any gender.

•A single man is not eligible to adopt a girl.

•In the case of a couple, the consent of both spouses is required.

•No child shall be given in adoption unless the couple has at least two years in a stable marital relationship.

•The minimum age difference between the child and either of the prospective adoptive parents should not be less than 25 years.

•The parent’s age on the date of registration shall be considered to apply for children of different age groups.

•For a child up to the age of four years, the maximum combined age of parents allowed is 90 and of a single adoptive parent 45.

•For four to eight-year-olds, the maximum combined age of parents allowed is 100 and a single parent 50; while from eight to 18 years of age, the age for both parents can be 110 years or a single parent can be 55 years.

•Couples with more than four children will not be considered for adoption.

•To simplify procedures, federal guidelines in 2015 mandate that instead of parents contacting different state adoption agencies, there is direct communication via an online system.

•Couples select the state, male or female child, normal or child with disability, on the Central Adoption Resource Authority portal before being offered options of six children and are then directed to agencies.

•Parents can register on the Child Adoption Resource Information and Guidance System online.

Source: Central Adoption Resource Authority, Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India.

Match info:

Real Betis v Sevilla, 10.45pm (UAE)

Ballon d’Or shortlists


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Sam Kerr (Austria/Chelsea), Ellen White (England/Manchester City), Nilla Fischer (Sweden/Linkopings), Amandine Henry (France/Lyon), Lucy Bronze(England/Lyon), Alex Morgan (USA/Orlando Pride), Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands/Arsenal), Dzsenifer Marozsan (Germany/Lyon), Pernille Harder (Denmark/Wolfsburg), Sarah Bouhaddi (France/Lyon), Megan Rapinoe (USA/Reign FC), Lieke Martens (Netherlands/Barcelona), Sari van Veenendal (Netherlands/Atletico Madrid), Wendie Renard (France/Lyon), Rose Lavelle(USA/Washington Spirit), Marta (Brazil/Orlando Pride), Ada Hegerberg (Norway/Lyon), Kosovare Asllani (Sweden/CD Tacon), Sofia Jakobsson (Sweden/CD Tacon), Tobin Heath (USA/Portland Thorns)




UAE’s remaining fixtures in World Cup qualification R2
Oct 8: Malaysia (h)
Oct 13: Indonesia (a)
Nov 12: Thailand (h)
Nov 17: Vietnam (h)



Rating: 4/5

Produced by: Poetic License Motion Pictures; RSVP Movies

Director: Ritesh Batra

Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Sanya Malhotra, Farrukh Jaffar, Deepak Chauhan, Vijay Raaz

The specs

Engine: four-litre V6 and 3.5-litre V6 twin-turbo

Transmission: six-speed and 10-speed

Power: 271 and 409 horsepower

Torque: 385 and 650Nm

Price: from Dh229,900 to Dh355,000


Fixtures for Round 15 (all times UAE)

Inter Milan v AS Roma (11.45pm)
Atalanta v Verona (6pm)
Udinese v Napoli (9pm)
Lazio v Juventus (11.45pm)
Lecce v Genoa (3.30pm)
Sassuolo v Cagliari (6pm)
SPAL v Brescia (6pm)
Torino v Fiorentina (6pm)
Sampdoria v Parma (9pm)
Bologna v AC Milan (11.45pm)

The biog

Favourite book: Animal Farm by George Orwell

Favourite music: Classical

Hobbies: Reading and writing




Company name: Spare

Started: March 2018

Co-founders: Dalal Alrayes and Saurabh Shah

Based: UAE

Sector: FinTech

Investment: Own savings. Going for first round of fund-raising in March 2019

The stats and facts

1.9 million women are at risk of developing cervical cancer in the UAE

80% of people, females and males, will get human papillomavirus (HPV) once in their lifetime

Out of more than 100 types of HPV, 14 strains are cancer-causing

99.9% of cervical cancers are caused by the virus

A five-year survival rate of close to 96% can be achieved with regular screenings for cervical cancer detection

Women aged 25 to 29 should get a Pap smear every three years

Women aged 30 to 65 should do a Pap smear and HPV test every five years

Children aged 13 and above should get the HPV vaccine

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 


6.30pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (Dirt) 1,400m. Winner: Rio Angie, Pat Dobbs (jockey), Doug Watson (trainer).

7.05pm: Handicap Dh170,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Trenchard, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

7.40pm: Maiden Dh165,000 (D) 1,600m. Winner: Mulfit, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

8.15pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 1,200m. Winner: Waady, Dane O’Neill, Doug Watson.

8.50pm: Handicap Dh210,000 (D) 2,000m. Winner: Tried And True, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

9.25pm:Handicap Dh185,000 (D) 1,400m. Winner: Midnight Sands, Pat Dobbs, Doug Watson.

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Name: Hassan Mohsen Elhais

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Ms Davison came to Dubai from Kerala after her marriage in 1996 when she was 21-years-old

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Favourite quote: Failing to prepare is preparing to fail

Favourite place to Travel to: Vienna

Favourite cuisine: Italian food

Favourite Movie : Scent of a Woman



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Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
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All times UAE (+4 GMT)

Friday, September 29
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Second practice: 11am - 12.30pm

Saturday, September 30
Qualifying: 1pm - 2pm

Sunday, October 1
Race: 11am - 1pm

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Founders: Mike Dawson, Varuna Singh, and Benita Rowe

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Sector: Education technology

Size: Five employees

Investment: $100,000 from the ExpoLive Innovation Grant programme in 2018 and an initial $30,000 pre-seed investment from the Turn8 Accelerator in 2014. Most of the projects are government funded.

Partners/incubators: Turn8 Accelerator; In5 Innovation Centre; Expo Live Innovation Impact Grant Programme; Dubai Future Accelerators; FHI 360; VSO and Consult and Coach for a Cause (C3)

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors
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Power: 261hp at 5,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-4,000rpm
Transmission: 7-speed dual-clutch auto
Fuel consumption: 10.5L/100km
On sale: Now
Price: From Dh129,999 (VX Luxury); from Dh149,999 (VX Black Gold)

The biog

Family: He is the youngest of five brothers, of whom two are dentists. 

Celebrities he worked on: Fabio Canavaro, Lojain Omran, RedOne, Saber Al Rabai.

Where he works: Liberty Dental Clinic 

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through and

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Transmission: 10-speed auto
Power: 410hp
Torque: 495Nm
Price: starts from Dh495,000 (Dh610,000 for the F-Sport launch edition tested)
On sale: now


Director: Sudha Kongara Prasad

Starring: Akshay Kumar, Radhika Madan, Paresh Rawal

Rating: 2/5


England 241-3 (20 ovs)

Malan 130 no, Morgan 91

New Zealand 165 all out (16.5ovs)

Southee 39, Parkinson 4-47

England win by 76 runs

Series level at 2-2


Company name: Klipit

Started: 2022

Founders: Venkat Reddy, Mohammed Al Bulooki, Bilal Merchant, Asif Ahmed, Ovais Merchant

Based: Dubai, UAE

Industry: Digital receipts, finance, blockchain

Funding: $4 million

Investors: Privately/self-funded

The years Ramadan fell in May






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Rating: 3.5/5


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Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5


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Co-founders: Arto Bendiken and Talal Thabet
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: AI
Number of employees: 41
Funding: About $1.7 million
Investors: Self, family and friends


Android Alpha

Android Beta

Android Cupcake

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Android 10 (Quince Tart*)

Android 11 (Red Velvet Cake*)

Android 12 (Snow Cone*)

Android 13 (Tiramisu*)

Android 14 (Upside Down Cake*)

Android 15 (Vanilla Ice Cream*)

* internal codenames


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Power: 235hp
Torque: 350Nm
Transmission: Nine-speed automatic
Price: From Dh167,500 ($45,000)
On sale: Now


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

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Rating: 4/5

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part one: how cars came to the UAE


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