I have received many queries to my office in relation to intercountry adoption, I spoke during the passage of the recent Adoption Bill and look forward to its introduction as part of Irish legislation, hopefully making it easier for Irish parents to adopt abroad.
To ask the Minister for Health and Children when the Adoption Bill will become operational; the countries she expects Ireland to actively engage with in the adoption process; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
The Adoption Bill 2009 was published in January 2009 and completed all stages in the Seanad by May 2009. Second stage was commenced in Dáil Éireann on 18th November 2009 and completed on 21st January 2010. Committee stage commenced on 17th February 2010 and is scheduled to recommence on 2nd March. It is hoped that the Bill will complete its passage through both Houses shortly thereafter. It is my intention to commence the provisions of the Bill as soon as possible after it is enacted.
For an adoption to be registered under the Adoption Bill, once enacted and commenced, it must be effected in a contracting State to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption or in a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement. For non – Hague countries, only those adoptions effected prior to the commencement of the new law, or those effected under the recently announced transitional measures, can be registered on the Register of Inter-Country Adoptions to be established under the Bill.
A list of countries which are signatories to the Hague Convention is available on the Adoption Boards website at www.adoptionboard.ie
To ask the Minister for Health and Children the activity and services provided by the Adoption Board in relation to helping potential parents here adopt internationally; and if she will make a statement on the matter.
Adoption in Ireland is regulated by the Adoption Board which is an independent quasi judicial statutory body appointed by Government. The 1952 Adoption Act established the Adoption Board which has the sole right to grant or refuse to grant adoption orders.
The functions of the Board in relation to an intercountry adoption application are set out in the Adoption Act 1991. The Board has two statutory functions as follows:
1) the issue of declarations of eligibility and suitability in accordance with section 5 of the Adoption Act 1991; and
2) the making of entries in the Register of Foreign Adoptions in accordance with Section 6 of the Adoption Act 1991.
Once enacted and commenced, the Adoption Bill, 2009 provides for the establishment of the Adoption Authority of Ireland. At this time the Authority will become Ireland’s Central Authority for inter-country adoption and will assume a wider range of functions commensurate with those set out for central authorities in the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.