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Adoption is for children, not adults

Irish Examiner Letters, Monday, March 28, 2011

ALTHOUGH Bulgaria has signed the Hague Convention for the Protection of Children in Intercountry Adoption (Irish Examiner, March 25) and therefore Irish couples are within their rights under Irish law to seek adoptions from there, we fear that in the effort to find "available" children to adopt, that the principles of Hague are often forgotten about.
The Hague Convention quite rightly sees intercountry adoption as a measure of last resort that can only happen after every other avenue has been explored to ensure the child can remain within his/her country of origin.

Other countries, including Ireland, could learn a lot from the Japanese who have recently told Americans to cease making requests to adopt their children who may have been orphaned after the recent devastating earthquake and tsunami.

In Japan, where "stranger" adoption is a rare thing, children are mostly raised within the extended family to ensure that ties to their blood relatives are not severed.

The profound respect of the Japanese for family young and old has to be admired.

It emerged recently that the Adoption Authority of Ireland sent a delegation to the US to discuss adoptions from there. As there is undoubtedly no shortage of prospective adopters in the US, we are at a loss to understand why there is a necessity for the US to be a so-called "sending" country.

This point is even more poignant when it is considered that over 2,000 Irish children were secretly exported for adoption to the US from the 1950s.

We are concerned that Ireland as a nation is neglecting the intended purpose of adoption as a service for children, rather than a service to fulfil the wants of adults.

When so many Irish children are in desperate need of homes through the foster care system, we must ask why there is a necessity to travel far and wide to adopt children from other countries.

Claire McGettrick and Susan Lohan
Adoption Rights Alliance
Co Dublin


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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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