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Officials investigate US adoptions

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 29, 2011

A DELEGATION from the Adoption Authority have visited the US to examine "a number of concerns" about adoptions between Ireland and the US, in particular from Florida.
Florida is the most popular state for Irish people who wish to adopt children from the US. Five children have been adopted from there this year. However, issues have been raised about adoption practices in the state for some time.

In particular, these have centred on the circumstances around the securing of consent from natural mothers to the adoption, and the issue of subsidiarity — where adoption is examined only after all other options for the care of the child within his or her country of origin have been explored.

The delegation, headed by Adoption Authority chairman Geoffrey Shannon, met with officials from the US State Department last Friday. In a statement, the authority described the meeting as "informative and highly productive".

In response to a recent Dáil question, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald reiterated that the authority had to satisfy itself that all adoptions into the country were compatible with Irish adoption law as well as with the Hague Convention.

"In this regard, there are a number of critical and crucial aspects of routine adoption practice and procedure within the state of Florida which need to be examined by the Adoption Authority," she said.

"It is noteworthy that these aspects appear to be common to virtually all inter-country adoptions by Irish adopters from that jurisdiction."

Adoptions from Vietnam are expected to resume in the near future following the country’s ratification of the Hague Convention.

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

The US had suspended adoptions from Vietnam in September 2008 after it uncovered evidence of baby selling and "baby farming".

The Irish Examiner understands Ireland’s decision was also influenced by similar "serious concerns".

A recent delegation from the Oireachtas foreign affairs committee to Ethiopia, as well as individual TDs have also raised the issue of forging a bilateral agreement on adoption in Ethiopia.

However, concerns about Ethiopia have been raised notably by the US State Department, amidst reports of direct recruitment of children from birth parents by adoption service providers.

This appeared in the printed version of the Irish Examiner Tuesday, November 29, 2011

 

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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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