Adoption Couples Set To Have More Choice Abroad

Irish couples hoping to adopt children from abroad may soon have two more places to choose from — but only if the countries can overcome key legal barriers.

The Adoption Board is currently examining the adoption laws of Rwanda and Ethiopia to determine if they meet the requirements for recognition in Ireland.

The examination of the two countries was undertaken as part of the preparation to ratify the Hague Convention on Inter-county Adoption.

Inheritance rights in Ethopia — that allow children to claim inheritance from their birth parents even if they are living in a different country — is one of the major legal barriers in opening up the country to inter-county adoption.

Under the new legislation, all countries involved in Inter-county adoption with Ireland have to have legislation that is on par with Ireland.

According to the registrar of the Adoption Board, Kiernan Gildea, until legal “obstacles” like this are dealt with, Irish couples will not have the option to adopt from these countries.

In a statement, the Adoption Board said that “in the circumstances” it “has decided as a precautionary measure to suspend the granting of Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability until investigations are complete”.

The matter is, however, being dealt with as a “matter of priority”, but the board must take time to assess the situation and “ensure that all activities are undertaken with the best interests of the child”.

“We do not have a timescale for the competition of the project at this point, however it will be sooner rather than later,” said Mr Gildea.

“Over the last year in the run up to the Hague Convention we have reviewed 10 countries and unfortunately Rwanda and Ethiopia had some legal concerns.

“We want to be sure that our decision is in line with our statutory responsibilities and also an appropriate one for the children at the centre of it.”