Press Release

Lenihan in London for talks over suspension of adoptions from Belarus

Mr Brian Lenihan TD, Minister for Children, has today (24 July 2002) expressed satisfaction following a meeting with the Belarussian adoption authorities. The Minister was in London yesterday for talks with Ms Olga Karaban, Director of the National Adoption Centre, Republic of Belarus concerning the lifting of the suspension of adoptions to Ireland by the Belarussians.

“I am very concerned about the distress and difficulties that the suspension is causing Irish applicants. I am hopeful that my meeting with the Belarussian authorities has been a positive step towards resolving these difficulties,” said the Minster.

The Adoption Boardentered into a working arrangement with Belarus in 1999 to facilitate the adoption of children from Belarus to Ireland. This arrangement had recently been suspended by the Belarussian Authorities pending the completion of a number of outstanding post placement reports and co-coordinating arrangements in Belarus to assist Irish couples. As a consequence of the suspension no adoptions are taking place at present.

Since 1999 over 43 children have been adopted from Belarus to Ireland. The Minister added that he had already raised the matter with the Irish Adoption Board and was assured that the Board was actively pursuing the matter with the National Adoption Centre in Belarus with a view to lifting the suspension. The Minister informed Ms Karaban that the Adoption Board has introduced a new procedure for monitoring the timely preparation and transmission of post placement reports to Belarus.

“I am pleased to learn from the Adoption Board that all outstanding post placement reports have now been completed and are en route to Belarus,” said the Minister.

Post placement reports enable sending countries to evaluate how children are settling into families in receiving countries. Belarus requires a post placement report every six months for a period of three years form the date of the adoption. Minister Lenihan stated that “It is important that Ireland fulfil its obligation to the Belarussian Authorities in relation to the timely preparation and transmission of these reports.”