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There are 14 times more Irish people looking to adopt than there are children available

However the Children’s Rights Alliance has warned that Ireland must not adopt from countries not inside The Hague recommendations.

Image: adoption via Shutterstock

POLITICIANS HEARD TODAY that there are 14 times more Irish people looking to adopt than there are children available.

The discussion at today’s Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children centred on the number of couples looking to adopt, which far exceeds the number of children.

Witnesses at the committee were giving evidence about Ireland’s relationship with other countries in terms of adoption. Current legislation only allows for adoptions between certain nations, restricting the number of children that can be adopted into the country.

The Children’s Rights Alliance argued that Ireland must continue to work within The Hague convention countries as adoptions outside of these countries can be perceived as ‘corrupt’.

Maria Corbett from the Alliance said The Hague sets out the minimum requirements for countries that children are being adopted from.

If we go outside these countries, we cannot trust their procedures.

“They can be involved in child trafficking and even deception of parents for profit.”

She said, “I understand the pain of parents and I don’t want to stigmatise children currently living in Ireland who have been adopted from Vietnam or Russia but we are not able to trust policies in non-Hague countries.”

“We have to resist the emotional request from families to move outside of Hague.”

Trish Connolly from the International Adoption Association told the committee, “I have a nine-year-old at home. She can hear the radio, she can watch Prime Time.

On the way into school she asked me, ‘Mummy was I stolen? Mummy how much did you pay for me?’.

Irish experiences

TD Clare Daly said there’s no doubt that many of the children who left Irish institutions and were adopted by Americans went into loving homes but that is not the issue.

“The issue is what happens down the line as every child will want to find out about their birth parents.”

Susan Lohan from Adoption Rights Alliance highlighted that we have no idea how these countries will deal with people who come back looking for records.

“If you respect children’s rights we cannot entertain working with countries outside The Hague.

We know all too well that adoption can be corrupted.

Restrictive 

Coming from a different perspective, Ruth Lennon from the International Adoption Association said that the Adoption Act is too restrictive.

“Just over 18 million children worldwide have lost both their parents.

There are still 100,000 children languishing in institutions worldwide.

She added, “We’re concerned intercountry adoption has no direction.”

During his testimony, Kiernan Gildea from the Adoption Authority of Ireland said that there are at least 14 times more couples wanting to adopt children than there are children available in Ireland.

He said that most prospective parents want to adopt young and healthy infants.

However he added that older children and children with disabilities remain in orphanages.

“There is no doubt that there are children available in Ethiopia but they don’t have the infrastructure in place, they have said no to a bilateral agreement.

What can we do in that situation, we can’t force them.

He also added that the number of children available for adoption is decreasing worldwide.

Read: Children’s minister commits to ending the ‘trauma’ caused by current adoption laws>

Read: Mum receives surprise adoption papers from daughter she took in 10 years ago>

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