Hundreds of parents in
limbo on adoptions
By Dearbhail McDonald,
Irish Independent, Friday January 15 2010
HUNDREDS of parents
were last night thrown into legal limbo as the Government announced that
it will not renew negotiations for a bi-lateral adoption agreement with
The cabinet decision to
suspend adoptions indefinitely followed two disturbing reports
surrounding the adoption of abandoned and orphaned babies from the
south-east Asian country.
The decision, reached
at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, will provide clarity to some parents
who have been waiting for months to see if the Irish Government would
renew its agreement.
But it provides a
dilemma for thousands of parents seeking to adopt babies from abroad as
six out of 10 babies adopted from foreign countries are sourced in
In recent months,
Children's Minister Barry Andrews received two significant reports
regarding child welfare, protection and adoption in Vietnam that led his
department to suspend adoption negotiations between the two nations.
Last night Mr Andrews
said that he was "acutely aware of the disappointment that will be
adoptive parents that I have met in recent weeks have above all else
asked for certainty and an end to the speculation about the Government's
intentions," he said.
adoption with Vietnam will be suspended until Hague ratification is
completed in both countries."
The Irish Independent
has also learned that the Government was unlikely to support or sanction
the adoption of 20 babies whose prospective Irish parents were already
at an advanced stage of the process.
These are a small
cohort of adoptions that the Vietnamese authorities had agreed could go
ahead despite the lapsing last May of a bilateral agreement on adoption
between the two countries.
Fine Gael has asked the
Government to introduce an interim adoption agreement to allow couples
already cleared for the process to adopt Vietnamese children.
Irish parents can apply
to adopt from 85 countries whose laws are compatible with Irish laws.
Apart from Vietnam, the
biggest source countries to Ireland are Russia, Ethiopia and China. Some
400 inter-country adoptions take place each year.
Vietnam is expected to
ratify the Hague Convention, the main international statute governing
international adoptions, next year.
Ireland signed the
Hague Convention in 1993 and is expected to ratify it next March.
chief executive of Helping Hands -- which had been criticised by a
United Nations-commissioned report -- said the mediation agency was at
"an utter loss" as it had worked tirelessly with Irish
families adopting from Vietnam, as well as those
"on-the-ground" in Vietnam.
continually pointed out to the Irish government our concerns with the
process and what points needed to be addressed in order to improve
standards," she said.
- Dearbhail McDonald,
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