Tuesday, September 03, 2013
An agreement to allow Irish couples to adopt from the USA is expected to be signed in Washington today.
The Irish Examiner understands that a delegation headed by children’s minister Frances Fitzgerald and Adoption Authority chairman Geoffrey Shannon travelled to Washington at the weekend for the signing of the deal. The wording of the final draft document for the agreement was agreed between the two countries in April. Under that wording, it was agreed that Irish couples will only have their adoptions recognised here if a number of provisions are satisfied:
A relevant authority in the US provides a letter showing why the child could not be timely placed with suitable prospective adoptive parents in the US, detailing what steps have been taken to support this finding;
The appropriate consent is given after the child has reached six weeks of age;
A relevant authority in the US has confirmed in writing that a US state court order placing the child with prospective adoptive parents in the US was not issued before the AAI approved the placement;
Full informed consent has been granted by the biological mother and/or father or institution with lawful authority over the child;
Where identification of the biological father is possible, that the father of the child was offered the opportunity to participate in the adoption hearing, was counselled in that regard, and was informed of the consequences of the adoption;
Where identification of the biological father is not possible, that reasonable steps have been taken to ascertain his identity.
ARC Adoption agency has been accredited to work in the USA by the AAI since Jun 2012. It is expected that, following the signing of the above agreement, ARC will provide mediation services for those wishing to adopt from the US.
The agreement is the culmination of a process going back over two years. A number of AAI delegations have met with representatives of the US state department since the Adoption Act came into force in late 2010.
Irish couples adopted 19 US children in 2012.