Press Release

Minister Hanafin meets Thai Adoption Authorities

Minister Mary Hanafin, T.D., Minister for Children, today (12 April 2001) met the Thai Adoption Authorities in order to develop the good relations which exist between Ireland and Thailand in respect of Adoption. The Minister welcomed the Deputy Director General of the Thai Department of Public Welfare, who is in Ireland to meet the Adoption Board and adopted Thai children and their families.

The Minister said “Adoption from abroad has received some very negative coverage in the media. It is therefore particularly satisfactory to be able to point to the positive arrangements which the Adoption Board have with Thailand.” The current arrangements involve the Adoption Board sending applications of Irish couples directly to a central Government authority in Thailand. This process has been in operation since mid 1999. The primary beneficiaries are the children adopted into Ireland and there are also considerable benefits for the Irish couples. There is a clear and transparent system, which reduces the difficulties which would otherwise arise for couples travelling to an unknown country’the Minister pointed out.

Up to the end of 2000 a total of 25 adoptions from Thailand had been registered by the Adoption Board.

Minister Hanafin praised the work of the Thai Adoption Group in Ireland which provides support to parents and helps them to maintain links with the culture of Thailand. ‘While these children become members of an Irish family, it is important to remember that they have another cultural birthright and it is heartening to see the work done by parents to develop the children’s knowledge and understanding of Thailand.

On a broader front the Minister welcomed the figures provided by the Health Boards which indicate that despite increasing demand there has been a continuing drop in waiting times for assessment for intercountry adoption. “The increased investment in staffing, support services and training is leading to a more sympathetic service which supports couples while ensuring a high standard assessment.”