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Adoption abroad must be checked

Irish Independent Letters, 30th November 2009

We are not at all surprised to see the subject of inter-country adoption embroiled yet again in controversy.

The Unicef report into adoptions from Vietnam (Irish Independent, November 24) is to be welcomed and it has not come soon enough. We concur with the report's recommendation that all countries should ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and we have called on the Government to dissolve all bilateral agreements with countries that have not signed up to the convention.

It is time for the Irish Government to act responsibly and take heed of the obvious warning signs. Following criticisms of the Irish-based agency 'Helping Hands' in the UNICEF report, it has been revealed that the agency, which brokers adoptions from Vietnam, is under investigation by the Adoption Board for charging fees to prospective adopters, which were then paid onto local officials responsible for running the "orphanages".

When the agency was first established, adopted people complained about its opaque nature, but these concerns were not acted upon by the Adoption Board.

Will the board now establish whether any children have been wrongfully taken away from their families in Vietnam as result of the actions of this agency?

It must always be remembered that adoption should always be about finding homes for children, not children for homes. People who are in a position to offer a home to a child should also investigate the possibility of long-term fostering.

Claire McGettrick
Adoption Rights Alliance,
Malahide, 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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