Fine Gael TD for Mayo, Michelle Mulherin, has today (Tuesday) welcomed confirmation from the Department of Children and Youth Affairs that significant progress has been made towards establishing a bi-lateral agreement with Russia, which will give recognition to adoptions of Russian children by Irish people once the current transitional arrangements between the two countries end in October 2013.
“I raised this issue with the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Frances Fitzgerald, after a number of prospective adoptive parents in Mayo expressed their concerns to me about what would happen when the current arrangements between Ireland and Russia end next year.
“Ireland automatically recognises adoptions with countries which have ratified the Hague Convention, which offers safeguards to children being adopted across international borders. Russia, however, has not signed the Hague Convention, and is not expected to do so anytime soon.
“Under the Adoption Act 2010, adoptions from Russia are examined and recognised by the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) under transitional arrangements that expire in October 2013. After that point, adoptions from there will only be possible under a bi-lateral agreement between the two countries.
“As a result of talks between the AAI and its Russian counterpart, a draft bi-lateral agreement has been negotiated and it has been referred to the Office of the Attorney General for comment. It should be noted that any change to the law will need to meet the minimum standards set out in the Hague Convention and, in order to ensure that there are no delays, Minister Fitzgerald has asked the AAI to hold further exploratory talks.
“I am pleased that progress is being made on this issue. As foreign adoptions can take many months and present many emotional highs and lows for people, it is important for the sake of the children involved and for the adoptive parents who invest so much time, money and emotion that adequate legal protection and full recognition is in place.”