Authority to travel for talks on adoption agreements

The Irish Times – Monday, October 10, 2011

DELEGATIONS FROM the Adoption Authority of Ireland will travel to Mexico, the Philippines and the United States to discuss adoption agreements, the International Adoption Association was told at the weekend.

Geoffrey Shannon, chairman of the authority, told its annual conference it was in advanced discussions with a number of countries party to the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoption after the incorporation of the convention into Irish law last year.

He confirmed the authority was looking at Lithuania and Kazakhstan as prospective countries for adoption into Ireland, and said it would look at other Hague countries that came to the attention of prospective adoptive parents.

Ruth Lennon, association chairwoman, told The Irish Times it was asking Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald to seek bilateral agreements with Russia and Ethiopia, not currently members of the convention, but from which Irish couples have adopted previously. They are unable to adopt siblings from these countries in the absence of such an agreement.

Mr Shannon told the conference that the authority and the Minister have had very positive engagement with Vietnam, and it was very hopeful adoptions from Vietnam will recommence in 2012. They were suspended in May 2009 when the existing bilateral agreement lapsed, and it was not renewed when a report from the UN International Social Service critical of international adoption procedures in Vietnam was published. Vietnam plans to adopt the convention early next year.

Mr Shannon said there was a need for much more research on outcomes for children who are adopted internationally. “If a child spends a lot of time in institutions he or she could have behavioural problems. We have never looked in detail at them. Parents need to be informed of the difficulties they might encounter and receive post-adoption support. We don’t want these children to end up in the childcare system.”