Mexican adoptions not affected

CAROL COULTER, Legal Affairs Editor

Mon, Jan 30, 2012

THERE IS as yet no evidence that uncompleted adoptions from Mexico will be affected by recent events in the country in which 11 Irish couples have been questioned in connection with illegal adoptions, according to the chairman of the Adoption Authority.

Geoffrey Shannon told The Irish Times there was ongoing contact with Mexican authorities in relation to 18 adoptions currently in train from Mexico, but stressed this was routine under the Hague Convention on intercountry adoption, to which both Ireland and Mexico are signatories.

“There is co-operation in relation to a number of adoptions that are outstanding,” he said. “This is normal under the Hague process.”

Since the incorporation of the convention into Irish law, the entire process of intercountry adoption, and not just the issuing of declarations of suitability, is now regulated and arranged between the central authorities of the sending and the receiving countries. In Ireland the central authority is the Adoption Authority.

Mr Shannon said at its last meeting the authority had agreed to send a delegation to India to put in place an administration agreement on intercountry adoption with that country’s central authority.

India, also a Hague Convention state, is now one of the main countries internationally from which children are adopted.

“This will be significant in terms of the numbers available for adoption,” Mr Shannon said.

Meanwhile, Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said the majority of adoptions prior to the 2010 Act had been from non-Hague countries, with 160 from Russia in 2007, a number which fell to 118 in 2010. There were 75 adoptions from Ethiopia that year, and this fell to 48 in 2011. There were 136 adoptions from Vietnam in 2009, falling to 10 in 2010 and none last year.

Vietnam has recently signed the convention, and it is expected that adoptions from that country can resume when an administration agreement is signed. Ms Fitzgerald and Mr Shannon recently visited Vietnam to progress such an agreement.

Ms Fitzgerald said it was hoped to have agreement with the central authority in Washington soon so adoptions from Florida could be agreed.