Adoption body sent delegation to US

The Irish Times   – Friday, February 25, 2011
CAROL COULTER, Legal Affairs Editor

THE ADOPTION Authority of Ireland (AAI) sent a delegation to the US last week to discuss inter-country adoption with officials there.

The delegation was headed by its chairman, Geoffrey Shannon.

It is understood there is an increased level of interest from Irish couples in adopting from the US.

Inter-country adoptions are regulated internationally by the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption, which was ratified by Ireland last November with the enactment of the Adoption Act 2010. This provides a framework under which such adoptions take place, and is based on the principle that valid and informed consent is obtained from the child’s mother, that inter-country adoption is a third option after adoption within the child’s family and domestic adoption, and that the adoption is free from monetary incentive.

The Act also permits adoption into Ireland from states with which there is a bilateral agreement.

Last week the Irish officials met representatives of the State Department, which is the central authority on inter-country adoption for the US under the Hague convention, along with an expert on child law in the US and two adoption agencies involved in inter-country adoption.

According to the Adoption Authority of Ireland website, issues discussed included the principle of subsidiarity, meaning that inter-country adoption is a third option for children outside their birth families; the accreditation process for bodies involved in adoption; and the process for handling outgoing adoption cases under the Hague Convention.

The authority came into being last November on the enactment of the Adoption Act, replacing the Adoption Board and expanding the remit of the previous body to include the accreditation of bodies involved in adoption, as well as operating as the Irish central authority in inter-country adoption.

Since its establishment the authority has registered the International Adoption Association (Ireland) as an accredited body for providing information, advice and counselling to prospective adoptors, and Arc Adoption Limited as an accredited body for making arrangements in relation to an adoption.

The Irish authority will also shortly visit Bulgaria to examine establishing a framework for inter-country adoption from that country.

Bulgaria has ratified the Hague convention.