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No adoptions from abroad since new law was passed

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Monday, January 23, 2012

None of the almost 200 couples approved to adopt under the new Adoption Act have managed to bring a child back to Ireland.

Under the act, which came into force in Nov 2010, Irish people can only adopt from countries that have ratified the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption or with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement.

Responding to a parliamentary question, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said, although no intercountry adoptions had been registered by parents declared suitable to adopt under the new act, this was due to a number of factors.

"It should be noted that waiting times between the sending of an application pack and the actual completion of an adoption in sending countries may vary greatly and may extend to as much as three years or more in some cases."

"Furthermore, some jurisdictions require a two stage process which entails post-placement reports being submitted during an initial period of guardianship before an adoption is approved and finalised," she said.

The Adoption Authority has issued 178 declarations of eligibility and suitability to people wishing to adopt from abroad since the introduction of the new act.

Meanwhile, Ms Fitzgerald has also confirmed that an adoption agency accredited to work with Vietnam should be in place at the start of February.

Ireland ceased adopting children from Vietnam after it chose not to resume its bilateral agreement in May 2009 following concerns in Unicef’s International Social Services report.

The US had suspended adoptions from Vietnam in 2008 after it uncovered evidence of baby selling and "baby farming". It is believed Ireland’s decision was influenced by similar concerns.

The suspension remains in place until "fundamental reforms are in place to ensure a transparent child welfare system that has the best interests of the children as its first priority", the state department has 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." 

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