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Irish couples caught up in illegal adoption operation in Mexico

RONAN McGREEVY

Irish Times, Tue, Jan 24, 2012

THE BOARD of the Adoption Authority of Ireland is to meet today to discuss the issue of Irish couples who have been caught up in an adoption scam in Mexico.

Eleven couples have become unwittingly embroiled in a suspected illegal adoption ring. The board, with five members, has the ultimate approval on all adoptions in Ireland, both from Ireland and abroad.

Adoption Authority chairman Geoffrey Shannon said he did not wish to discuss the individual cases involved. However, he reiterated that the only adoptions recognised in Ireland are those approved of by State agencies in individual countries.

In November 2010, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption came into force in Ireland. Mexico is also a signatory. “We are uncompromising in ensuring that international standards are met,” Mr Shannon said, “because the Hague convention since November 1st is the instrument that regulates inter-country adoption.”

He said adoption was founded on two principles: that it was in the best interest of the children and that the children were given up for adoption by their parents as an act of free will, with no money changing hands.

According to an Associated Press report in Mexico, nine people have been detained, including two suspected leaders of the scam, but no one has been charged. Ten children have been turned over to state officials who suspect they were being groomed for illegal adoptions.

The Irish couples have all been questioned by Mexican police but none were detained and most have returned to Ireland.

One teenage mother who was interviewed said her nine-month-old baby girl was taken by a woman who paid her $755 and said the child would be used for an anti-abortion photo shoot and returned within a fortnight.

The child was left in the care of an Irish couple in a resort town called Ajijic. The couple were given the impression that they would be adopting the child.

2012 The Irish Times

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