...regaining identities, histories and rights for adopted people...  

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It is not commonly known that Ireland was a “sending country” long before we began adopting children from other countries.  From the 1940’s until the 1970’s at least 2,000 children were sent from Ireland to the US for adoption.  This exodus of children was not only State sanctioned, the adoptions were deliberately and knowingly omitted from the Adopted Children’s Register and the Adoption Board was purposely exempted from overseeing these adoptions.  There was considerable publicity at the time this practice came to light in 1996 and despite lengthy discussions in Dáil Éireann at that time debating plans to assist Irish adopted people who were sent to America, no progress has ever been made.   

Unless the adopted people concerned stumble upon Adoption Rights Alliance or similar websites, they are left in a position of uncertainty, without any statutory right to information about their origins and they remain excluded from the facilities  put in place (e.g. free online access to Census data) to assist Ireland’s other diaspora in their genealogical quests.  In our experience, the Adoption Board/Authority has always refused to acknowledge or provide assistance to those adopted people who do not appear on the Index to the Adopted Children’s Register.  

Government plans to introduce “Certificates of Irishness” are, to say the least, insulting to our service users who had been sent to America for adoption.  They feel they are excluded from the perks afforded to the other diaspora, while they are not even acknowledged by the regulatory body for adoptions.


“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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