05 September 2010 By Susan Mitchell
Difficulties with intercountry adoptions from Russia have resurfaced, with fears mounting that hundreds of Irish couples could be blocked from completing their adoptions.
It is understood that the Russian authorities have stopped adoptions. Prospective adopters are being told that Russia is no longer accepting referrals from Ireland.
Russian authorities have consistently claimed they have not received post-placement reports from Ireland. These reports detail how adopted children have integrated into their Irish families.
Oleg Bikmametov, a diplomat at the Russian embassy in Dublin, said ‘‘the ball was in the court of Irish’’ officials.
He was unable to clarify whether all Health Service Executive (HSE) areas had been blacklisted, or whether all Russian regions had stopped processing adoptions from Ireland.
The HSE has been heavily criticised for failing to ensure post-placement reports are carried out, but there appear to be administrative problems at the Russian embassy, which sends the reports to Russia.
A spokesman for the Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs said it was awaiting details of an audit of post-placement adoption reports that the Russian embassy had said it would carry out. In April, Minister for Children Barry Andrews said his information from the HSE was that more than half of the reports listed by the Russian authorities as outstanding had been completed by adoptive parents and forwarded to the Russian embassy in Dublin.
Oleg Oleynikov, who helps facilitate intercountry adoptions from Russia, said parents, the HSE and the embassy were to blame.
He said the updated Russian blacklist named the HSE and the Adoption Board as failing to comply with its standards. Other countries have also been placed on the blacklist, he said.
‘‘The situation is not unique to Ireland, but other countries are doing things to solve the issue. I understand that nobody has contacted the Ministry for Education directly, apart from the Irish embassy, which made a few simple enquiries,“ said Oleynikov.
Oleynikov has facilitated adoptions from Russia to Ireland since 1998.He said he had 25 couples on his books who had been given referrals for children in Russia. Out of those, 12 couples had already travelled to Russia and met the children.
Oleynikov said his clients were extremely concerned. Kiernan Gildea, registrar at the Adoption Authority of Ireland, said the authority had no direct contact with Russian authorities as there was no bilateral agreement between the two countries.