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Irish couples quizzed
over Mexican 'adoption' scam
By Anne-Marie Walsh and Gerard Couzens
Belfast Telegraph, Monday, 16 January 2012
The Republic's department of foreign affairs has refused to say if it
issued adoption visas to 11 Irish couples caught up in a Mexican
"babies for sale" scam.
The couples are being questioned after seven children -- aged from two
months to two years -- were taken from them after police smashed an
international child-smuggling ring. Although they are helping police
with their inquiries, they have not been arrested.
Mexican authorities want to find out how much the couples knew about the
illegal trade after arresting three Mexican women.
The three, who are in their 30s, are accused of buying the infants from
their mothers through newspaper advertisements, before handing the
children over to the couples.
Police say they have not ruled out the possibility of further arrests.
The Adoption Authority of Ireland confirmed last night that prospective
parents must apply for adoption visas from the Irish Department of
Foreign Affairs under official legal procedures.
This is one of the rules that must be followed by those wishing to adopt
along with other regulations set out under the Hague Convention, which
has been ratified by both countries.
When asked about the visa issue last night, a spokesman for the
Department of Foreign Affairs said: "We do not give out that
The Adoption Authority said adoption visas from the Irish authorities
are a mandatory requirement for Mexican adoptions, while parents must
also obtain special clearance certificates after being vetted by the
Chairman Dr Geoffrey Shannon said an "updated notice" issued
by the authority last week warned prospective parents they should
"not enter into any private arrangements with private individuals
or private agencies" to secure a Mexican adoption.
The notice also said children under five should not be proposed for
adoption, bar those with special needs or siblings.
"In terms of red flag issues, our advisory note highlighted that
prospective adoptive parents must state the purpose of their visit when
going to Mexico, and obtain an adoption visa," he said.
He said it "would not be appropriate" to say whether the group
in Mexico had been in touch with the authority, although he confirmed
this is part of official procedure.
However, Susan Lohan of the Adoption Rights Alliance, which represents
adopted people, accused the authority and the Department of Foreign
Affairs of "turning a blind eye" to illegal adoption.
"This shouldn't be a surprise to anybody when there are corrupt
foreign officials and desperate wealthy westerners," she said.
"The really big question is why successive governments and the
authority won't touch this whole area of illegal adoption with a
bargepole. Even the dogs on the street know it goes on.
"It's about finding homes for children, not finding children for
homes. God love those children who will find out in 20 years' time they
were trafficked," Ms Lohan added.
The children rescued at the weekend are now in state care.
The Irish couples, none of whom have been named, were questioned in
Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco, at the
As well as the seven babies seized from them, another two babies were
rescued during a fourth arrest.
The Irish couples said they were living with the children as they had
been told this was part of the process before adoption. It was unclear
last night how, or whether, it was planned to bring the children into
The couples are believed to have been given the babies at a hotel in
Guadalajara and sent to the nearby town of Ajijic.
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|“In all of us there
is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are
and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there
is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting
Alex Haley, Author of Roots