Hanafin clarifies new arrangements for adoption from Russian Federation
Following her recent visit to Russia to meet with the Russian authorities with responsibility for adoption Ms Mary Hanafin T.D. Minister of State with responsibility for children wishes to clarify the situation for Irish couples planning to adopt a child from Russia.
The Russian Government has recently changed its laws in regard to adoption. The key aspects in regard to intercountry adoption are as follows:
- All foreign agencies operating in the territory of the Russian Federation must be accredited by the Interdepartmental Commission on the Adoption of Children Who Are Citizens of the Russian Federation By Foreign Citizens;
- Under the accreditation arrangements, the non-commercial foreign agency must be licensed by a competent state body in its home country;
- Accreditation of non-commercial foreign agencies is restricted to organisations which have been involved in the adoption of children in their home country for not less than five years at the time of applying for accreditation.
- Candidates who wish to adopt a child must be resident in the country where the foreign agency is located.
Following her meeting with the Minister of Education, Mr. Fillipov, the Minister understands the main impact of the new laws for Irish couples is that they will no longer be able to use third country agencies to assist them in concluding adoptions in the Russian Federation. A native Irish agency could assist such couples. At present the following issues arise :-
- There are no existing Irish adoption agencies providing mediation services to couples wishing to adopt abroad. Adoption Societies are registered by the Adoption Board under the Adoption Act 1952. However, existing legislation does not make any provision for the mediation of intercountry adoption and this issue is being addressed in the forthcoming Bill on the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption.
- New agencies which are set up in the future to mediate adoptions would have to be operating within Ireland for five years in order to be eligible for accreditation by the Russian Federation.
The Minister understands that it will be possible for individual couples to continue to adopt from the Russian Federation if they act independently and work directly through the federal authorities in the various regions of the Federation or the Ministry of Education in Moscow.
Minister Hanafin said:
“In my meetings I emphasised to the Russian authorities the strong State role in the assessment of couples; the rigour of our assessment process; the rights of adopted children under Irish law; the State’s commitment to the principles of the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and the intention to introduce legislation to ratify the Convention as quickly as possible.
The Russian Federation’s new requirements are to be welcomed as they are intended to protect the best interests of children and to ensure high standards in the intercountry adoption process. In addition, I welcome the indication by the Russian authorities that they intend to sign the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption and bring forward legislation to ratify the Convention.”
While in Russia the Minister took the opportunity to visit a baby-house and an orphanage and appreciates the value of providing a permanent home for these children. Russia is becoming one of the most popular countries from which Irish couples are adopting. In 1998 and 1999 respectively there were 53 and 74 Russian children adopted into Ireland. The Minister is conscious of the positive experience that many couples have had and she is investigating ways in which couples can be assisted to adopt from Russia under the new regulations.
The Minister has asked the Adoption Board to prepare an information note for prospective adopters on the new arrangements and this will be available shortly.