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caught up in Mexico adoption scam
By Caroline O’Doherty and Conall Ó Fátharta
Monday, January 16, 2012
THE Department of Foreign Affairs has confirmed it is in contact with a
number of Irish couples caught up in an alleged adoption scam in Mexico.
Eleven couples are believed to be among those being questioned by police
in Guadalajara after reports that local women had sold babies for
placement through private adoption agencies.
Private adoptions of babies to other countries were legal up to last
year, but Mexico introduced tight restrictions on the practice in recent
The Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) issued five warnings while it
tried to clarify the new arrangements.
In a warning issued last June, the AAI said couples interested in
adopting from Mexico should be aware that "difficulties" had
arisen in some cases and urged they should "take particular
A follow-up in September stated: "Prospective adoptive parents who
propose to adopt from Mexico should not enter into any arrangements with
adoption agencies, individual agents or individual birth families until
further clarification has been provided."
It also warned that couples would not have their application for
registration of adoptions from Mexico considered until the situation was
In December, an AAI delegation travelled to meet their Mexican
counterparts and subsequently issued a notice that only one system of
inter-country adoption was now recognised there and it was "public
and statutorily regulated". While a few states were allowing for
private adoptions, these were "domestic adoptions only".
On January 5, the AAI published the legal declaration Mexico had made on
the subject of inter-country adoptions which again stressed all such
adoptions had to be handled centrally through the Mexican Ministry of
Foreign Affairs and that "only such children as have previously
been adopted through Mexican family courts may be transferred outside
Last week, another AAI notice added a further restriction: that no
children under 5 should be proposed for inter-country adoption except in
the case of children with special needs or sibling groups.
Speaking to the Irish Examiner, AAI chairman Geoffrey Shannon said the
group has already "raised a number of red flags in relation to
practices there. We have flagged a number of issues primarily that
prospective adoptive parents not enter private arrangements with
individuals to adopt."
He said the situation will be discussed at the next meeting of the state
The Department of Foreign Affairs said little about the case yesterday,
but it is understood it is trying to verify what channels the Irish
couples went through and how they got caught up in an apparently rogue
operation, given the number of warnings.
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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