Life Family

Tuesday 28 January 2020

Foreign adoptions to Ireland rise again

Vietnam and China now the biggest source of children for Irish couples

There were 160 inter-country adoptions registered in Ireland last year. Photo Credit : Stock/Getty Images
There were 160 inter-country adoptions registered in Ireland last year. Photo Credit : Stock/Getty Images
Eilish O'Regan

Eilish O'Regan

The number of Irish people successfully adopting a child from abroad is on the rise again, it emerged yesterday.

There were 160 inter-country adoptions registered here last year - 82 of which were processed under 2010 legislation, which introduced tighter restrictions.

Click to view full size graphic
Click to view full size graphic

The updated legislation on adoption had contributed to a slow-down in foreign adoptions as a result of several countries being closed off to Irish people.

The latest figures show Vietnam, which was shut to prospective parents for a number of years, has re-emerged as the most popular country for adoptions to Ireland.

It accounted for 31 of the children who became part of a new family in Ireland. Another 15 children were adopted from China and 11 from Mexico, according to the annual report of the Adoption Authority.

Eight were adopted from Bulgaria, six from the USA and five from the UK.

A small number of children were registered from Cambodia, Lithuania, Thailand and two from Russia.


Other new parents who had a foreign adoption last year were couples and single people who had been given a certificate of eligibility under the old legislation.

Children who are available for adoption abroad now tend to be older and many also have special needs.

The authority said another 86 people, who had gone through assessment, were given a certificate of eligibility last year.

There were 92 orders to adopt children domestically within Ireland last year - the majority were made in stepfamilies.

Some 13 children who were in foster care were adopted by their family. The rest included children who were adopted within an extended family.

Adoption Authority chief executive Patricia Carey noted last year was "productive" due to the passing of the Children and Family Relationships Act which addressed anomalies in family law.

It allows for a range of parenting options, including guardianship and rights for grandparents and other relatives.

"It heralds one of the most significant changes in family law in a generation," she said.

Other legislation on contact and tracing has yet to be published and is not due before the end of the year.

In the meantime, the Adoption Authority has a voluntary contact register which allows adopted adults and birth parents to provide their details indicating they would be willing to be contacted.


More than 11,000 names are registered and 670 reunions have been facilitated in the last decade.

Ms Carey said the authority was encouraging birth parents to register because to date, statistically more adopted people had put forward their names. The register remained a critical tool in enabling agreed contact between adopted and birth relatives.

Last year, 2,622 applications to join the register were received.

Irish Independent

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