Andrews asks parents to send adoption forms to Russia

The Irish Times – Tuesday, April 13, 2010

MINISTER FOR Children Barry Andrews has called on parents who have adopted children from Russia to provide reports on their welfare to Moscow to remove Ireland from an adoption blacklist.

However, he has insisted that the Government is powerless to compel the Irish parents of adopted children to send post-placement reports to the Russian authorities to help lift the current block on adoptions.

“Under Irish law, when a child is adopted they become as if they are the biological child of a couple and as such they have no obligation to provide reports to anyone,” Mr Andrews told The Irish Times .

“But I would certainly urge any parent that hasn’t complied with providing a post-placement report with the Russians to do so as soon as they can,” he said yesterday.

Last week Russia placed the Republic on its latest adoption blacklist, which also includes the US, Britain and New Zealand. It is also blocking adoption referrals and visas for hundreds of Irish couples currently in the process of adopting children from Russia.

The Russian embassy in Dublin said between 50-70 post-placement reports had not been completed by parents who have already adopted Russian children.

Moscow requires parents who adopt Russian children to send these post-placement reports to the authorities to monitor children’s welfare and to see how they are integrating into the family. All families sign an affidavit with the Russian authorities promising to provide the reports when they adopt a child.

The publication of the new blacklist follows a recent crackdown by the Russian authorities following the deaths of several children adopted by foreign parents.

Last week several Irish couples who are trying to adopt children from Russia were either refused visas to travel to the country or not allowed to register papers to finalise an adoption.

One couple threatened the HSE with legal action citing problems related to the organisation’s failure to deal with the problem of delays to post placement reports.

HSE social workers are required to oversee the drafting of post-placement reports, which must then be sent to the Russian ministry of education and science.

The HSE said it was working closely with the Adoption Board and the Minister for Children to bring a speedy resolution to this complex issue.

Both the HSE and the Minister for Children have been unable to confirm so far how many post-placement reports are delayed.

Mr Andrews said he had not been able to establish that fact, but he said the Government was working very hard to try and remove the Republic from the latest blacklist to enable adoptions from Russia to take place.

“We are particularly sensitive to how tough it is on a person who is over there or is due to go over there very soon or has a referral because they have been through such a long process,” he said.

Mr Andrews said he could not estimate when the current block on adoptions with Russia would be lifted. “I think it would be unhelpful to set timelines and build up false expectations,” he said.

Russia is the most popular country for Irish couples seeking inter-country adoptions, following the Government’s decision to suspend adoptions from Vietnam in January.

In 2008, 117 Irish couples adopted a child from Russia. Some 1,229 children adopted from Russia have been registered on the Adoption Board’s register of foreign adoptions since 1991.