Thursday 22 February 2018

Cost of foreign adoptions set to fall

Irish people who faced bills of thousands of euros when adopting a child from abroad are expected to see a fall in costs, according to the head of a new mediation agency.

Shane Downer, chief executive of Arc Adoption, said the average fees up to now for processing applications have been around €15,000.

These largely cover the paperwork and bureaucracy and do not include costs such as air fares.

However, he said he hopes to make the processing more affordable, although the full financial estimates have yet to be finalised.

The not-for-profit organisation is the first to get accreditation from the Adoption Authority since new legislation on adoption was brought in last November following Ireland's ratification of the Hague Convention, a child protection agreement.

It will act as a go-between for people in Ireland who want to adopt and authorities in the foreign country.

He said the agency has agreements already to act with adoption authorities in Bulgaria. It also has an agreement with China where it can help Irish people who want to adopt a special needs baby.

He hopes to expand the number of countries the agency can act in to around five and has indicated to the Adoption Authority that it will work with Vietnam if adoptions from that country are re-opened with Ireland.

The new organisation will not become involved in giving 'humanitarian' aid to an institution from where the individual child is being adopted, he added.

These controversial payments are now outlawed and were highlighted in a report into adoptions in Vietnam in particular.

It was claimed that the larger the 'humanitarian aid' donation the greater the number of children allocated for a particular agency.

Agencies who were competing for children believed the number who are available for adoption should be linked to the amount they pay the residential centres in Vietnam.

He said the new agency can become involved in humanitarian projects but they will be divorced from the adoption process.

Around 400 Irish couples and single people were passed for adoption last year.

Arc Adoption has submitted a list of 16 potential countries they would like to work with if given permission by the Adoption Authority. These countries include Mexico, India, Kenya and Columbia.

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