Adoptions from abroad fall under strict new regime
THE number of Irish people who have successfully adopted a child abroad has plummeted following restrictions introduced in recent years.
Figures reveal that foreign adoptions fell from 307 in 2009 to 117 in 2012 and only seven have been ratified so far this year.
The drop is linked to the ratification by Ireland of the Hague Convention, which came into effect in November 2010 and closed off a number of countries where Irish people were traditionally adopting children.
Prospective parents have been confined to countries which had also ratified the Hague Convention – but discussions are under way and are expected to expand the selection which have agreements with Ireland.
Arrangements have been secured since with Vietnam and the United States and this should open up some new options for adoptions.
A spokeswoman for Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald (pictured above) said that inter-country adoption continues to be a complex and changing area.
"Many countries with which Ireland traditionally had intercountry adoption relationships have amended their legislation and procedures in line with the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption in order to ensure the welfare and protection of children underpins the process," the spokeswoman said.
The department has worked with the Adoption Authority to strengthen co-operation with countries from which Irish couples have traditionally adopted.
"The minister has travelled to Vietnam, India and Russia with a view to exploring the potential for greater co-operation.
"Administrative arrangements have been effected by the Adoption Authority of Ireland with Vietnam, and now the USA.
"The Indian authorities have outlined their willingness to allow for inter-country adoption to Ireland and referrals from Bulgaria have begun."
Referring to countries outside the Hague Convention, she said the department is currently examining the development of a bilateral agreement on inter-country adoption with Russia.
All adoptions of children from foreign countries by Irish people have to be ratified by the Adoption Authority, and this will not be done unless it is satisfied it has all been above board according to the new laws.
It comes as the Adoption Authority is refusing to ratify the cases of 20 children who were adopted in Mexico by Irish families.
The authority says the adoptions cannot be recognised because they do not comply with the provisions of the Hague Convention.
It has left these families in limbo and one of the families who adopted a little girl has brought High Court proceedings against the authority and the State.
They are saying the child was adopted before Ireland ratified the Hague Convention and refusal to ratify the adoption is in breach of their rights under the Constitution.
The Adoption Authority said it raised the issue with the Mexican authorities in December 2011.
In recent years it has issued warnings to Irish people not to enter into any private arrangements in relation to adopting a child from Mexico.