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Adoption Bill ‘ignores tracing rights’

By Conall O Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Friday, March 12, 2010

THE Adoption Bill ignores the information and tracing rights of more than 42,000 adopted people and their families, a new coalition of adoption and children’s rights groups has claimed.

The coalition is made of up of the Adoption Rights Alliance, Barnardos, Adoption Loss-Natural Parents Network of Ireland, Know My Own and the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies.

The new grouping criticised the bill as being focused almost exclusively on inter-country adoption, while the information and tracing rights of adopted people have been ignored.

During an extensive consultation process in 2003 by then Minister for Children Brian Lenihan, the right to information and tracing services was widely accepted.

Despite such an acknowledgement, the Coalition claim current minister Barry Andrews has failed to implement the suggestions from the consultation process or to provide any coherent rationale for the failure to amend the legislation to include such rights.

Claire McGettrick of the Adoption Rights Alliance said the lack of a legislative basis for tracing and information was extremely disappointing for adopted people and their natural families.

"An estimated 10,000 adopted people and their natural families have registered with the Adoption Board and other agencies seeking information about each other.

"The lack of a legislative basis for both adoption agencies that provide information and tracing services and the National Adoption Contact Preference Register will not guarantee that these services will continue and is extremely unsatisfactory for everyone affected by adoption," she said.

This view was mirrored by Sheila Gallagher of the Council of Irish Adoption Agencies.

"The lack of a legislative basis for services that are currently operational is unacceptable. This has a direct impact on service provision, the net effect being lengthy waiting times for adopted people and their natural families. This is particularly unfair in the context of ageing natural parents and the basic right of equity of access to services for all parties to an adoption," she said.

Adopted people in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have had the right to their birth certificates and adoption files since the 1970s.

However, such rights do not currently exist in Ireland and are not included in the Adoption Bill.

Director of advocacy at Barnardos Norah Gibbons called on Mr Andrews to amend the legislation so tracing and information rights for adopted people and their natural parents are catered for.

"The voice of the child was not heard when the decisions around their adoption were made.

"We must now redress that wrong. It is crucial that as adults their voices are not silenced.

"The Adoption Bill must be amended to include information and tracing rights for adopted people and their natural families," she said.


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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 loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 



 

 

 

 

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