The Irish Times – Saturday, April 10, 2010
Blacklisting reflects child welfare fears | 10/04/2010
JAMIE SMYTH, Social Affairs Correspondent
SEVERAL HUNDRED Irish couples attempting to adopt children in Russia could be blocked from completing the process following Moscow’s decision to put the Republic on a new “adoption blacklist”.
This week, Russian authorities stopped accepting adoption referrals from Irish applicants and the embassy in Dublin is refusing visas to couples because the Republic is blacklisted. Oleg Bikmametov, a diplomat at the Russian embassy, said yesterday a block had been placed due to a failure by some Irish adoptive parents to provide post-placement reports on children they adopted.
He said Russia was unhappy because 50-70 families had not completed the reports, despite promising they would when completing their adoptions. Moscow requires all parents who adopt Russian children to send post-placement reports to the authorities to monitor their welfare and how they are integrating into the family. It has recently tightened up its monitoring of adoption following the deaths of several children adopted by international parents.
The Russian blacklist names several Health Service Executive (HSE) regions where adoptive parents have failed to provide reports, and the Adoption Board as failing to comply with its standards. Other countries such as Canada, the US and Germany have also been placed on the new blacklist, although it is not clear if adoptions are being blocked for couples in these states.
Several prospective adoptive parents who contacted The Irish Times yesterday about the updated blacklist criticised the HSE. They said it was responsible for providing social workers to oversee the completion of post-placement reports and to follow up with couples after they adopt.
Stephen Brennan, a solicitor in Dublin who is trying to adopt a boy in Russia, wrote to the HSE yesterday threatening legal action over its failures in the matter. The HSE said it would not be in a position to comment until next week as information was not immediately available.
The Department of Health and Children confirmed it has been contacted this week by several couples facing difficulties finalising adoptions. It said it was working with the Russian embassy to ensure the matter was dealt with in a timely fashion.
Russia is the most popular country for Irish couples seeking inter-country adoptions, following the Government’s decision to suspend adoptions from Vietnam in January. Some 1,229 children adopted in Russia have been registered on the Adoption Board’s register of foreign adoptions since 1991.
In 2008, 117 Irish couples adopted a child in Russia.