Irish couples could gain from Russian ban on American adoptions

Irish Minister for Children and Youth Affairs Frances Fitzgerald

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald has travelled to Moscow to fast-track talks on an adoption deal between Ireland and Russia – after US citizens were banned from adopting Russian children.

The Irish Minister is to meet with senior officials in Moscow to advance the possibility of an adoption agreement between Ireland and Russia.

Fitzgerald will meet with Russia’s Minister of Education and Science Dmitry Livanov and other officials in the Russian Duma.

The Irish Independent reports that the move could give hope to thousands of would-be adoptive couples in Ireland.

The paper reports that the talks come just weeks after Russia’s President Vladimir Putin signed a law banning US citizens from adopting Russian children.

Russia is the second largest source country for Irish adoptions. Already more than 1,600 Irish-based couples have adopted children from Russia.

Minister Fitzgerald travelled to Moscow with Dr Geoffrey Shannon, chairman of the Adoption Authority of Ireland.

A bilateral agreement could provide a welcome boost for many more families wishing to adopt.

But the Irish Independent has learnt that a major legal stumbling block is Moscow’s insistence that any child adopted by Irish couples would retain their Russian citizenship.

The paper says this presents a problem under Irish law as children adopted into a ‘constitutional family’ become Irish children for the purposes of Irish law.

The Russian authorities are also insisting on post-placement reports for any child adopted by Irish couples.

Fitzgerald told the paper that her meeting with Livanov will give her an opportunity to ‘clarify’ the degree to which negotiation of a bilateral agreement can address the concerns of both countries and meet the requirements of our respective legal systems.