Making the decision to adopt abroad is only the beginning of a long and difficult journey. The Adoption process is complex, and for most applicants takes between 3 and 6 years to complete. It involves a robust assessment process with a suitability assessment conducted by a social worker; the formation of a recommendation which is sent to the Adoption Authority of Ireland, which then makes a decision whether or not to grant the applicant(s) a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability. Only applicants in possession of such a Declaration can apply to adopt a child abroad.
On 1st November 2010 Ireland entered the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. The Adoption Act 2010 is the underlying legislation and pursuant to the Adoption Act 2010 applicants in possession of a valid Declaration may only adopt from:
(1) a country in the Hague Convention; or
(2) a country with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement;
Theoretically there are 80+ countries in Hague but not all of them are sending countries i.e. have children available for adoption.
The Hague Convention safeguards the fundamental rights of children in intercountry adoptions in both their country of birth and the country of adoption. For more information please visit the Hague Convention web site: www.hcch.net
HOW TO APPLY FOR ASSESSMENT:
Under Section 37 of the Adoption Act, anyone who wishes to adopt from abroad must, in all cases, apply to the CFA (formerly HSE) for (i) an assessment of eligibility and suitability and (ii) the issuance by the Adoption Authority of a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability (“Declaration”) in accordance with that assessment.
- Applicants are usually invited to attend to an information meeting provided by the CFA. The information meeting covers the purpose of the home study, discusses countries where applicants can adopt from and the legal aspects of adoption. Only after attending this meeting will applicants will be allowed to submit application and supporting documentation.
- Applicants must attend a Preparation Course, which covers the major issues that arise in inter-country adoption. The scheduling of this course varies from region to region but typically it is conducted fortnightly for 6 sessions.
- Applicants are then allocated a Social Worker. They then have between six and eight interviews, some individually and some together. The applicants are then given the report to (re-)read. In total this amounts to about ten meetings. The report is then forwarded to the placement committee of the HSE. Following a decision (whether negative or positive) the report goes to the Adoption Authority for consideration.
- If the Authority is satisfied that the assessment criteria have been fulfilled, it will issue a Declaration. Pursuant to the Adoption Act of 2010 a Declaration is valid for twenty-four months from the date of issue. The Adoption Authority can at their discretion extend this period for a further period of up to twelve months. So in total a Declaration has a maximum lifespan of 36 months. After that applicants must apply for a brand new reassessment.
The International Adoption Association (IAA) is the leading support organisation for families engaged in intercountry adoption into Ireland. Our membership comprises of couples and sole adopters who are pre-adoptive, going through the assessment process and who are post adoptive.
The International Adoption Association (IAA) is committed to supporting pre and post adoptive parents and their families through the adoption process and the child’s life cycle.
The IAA is an accredited body under the Adoption Act of 2010.