I welcome the Minister of State, Deputy Haughey. It seems I always put Adjournment matters to him and I trust he has good news for all the couples and families waiting to adopt babies from Russia.
I call on the Minister for Health and Children to indicate when the blacklist regarding post-placement records of children adopted into Ireland from Russia will be cleared. This clearance is necessary to allow new adoptions from Russia to proceed for Irish families with referrals for babies. Russia is the second biggest provider of babies to this country. Hundreds of couples are waiting to adopt babies from there.
I have received an e-mail from an agent based in Ireland, representing Irish families, who cannot deliver because of the block resulting from the position on post-placement records. The e-mail relates how a couple with a referral for a baby in Moscow on 15 October and were due to speak to the Moscow ministry of education on 24 November. That would have been their third referral, or offer of a baby, the couple had received. They received an initial referral for a baby in Guatemala in December 2007 but lost the opportunity due to closure in Guatemala, a matter unrelated to the position in Russia. Another referral was arranged for 18 May this year but again they lost out as a result of Ireland being blacklisted because of non-adherence to the agreed protocol on post-placement reports. The entire reason the couple need a second extension is the blacklisting. The timeline runs from the original application made in May 2003 which means they are now waiting six and a half years for a baby. They have been offered this opportunity on three occasions but because of the blacklisting of Ireland by Russia, due to the fact that the HSE has not completed 29 post-placement records, no babies can be adopted from Russia.
How many outstanding post-placement reports remain to be completed? What is the reason for the delay? What is the Minister of State doing about it and what steps is he taking to ensure the blacklist is cleared? When will this matter be sorted out? I can cite many other examples of couples waiting for babies. This is a painful and spiritual journey. I say this from my experience. It is very difficult for a couple to be refused a baby. Each time a couple or family are offered a referral and it does not proceed, part of them goes with it. I hope the Minister of State has good news. I want to know when this matter will be sorted out in order that we can give guidance to Irish families on when it is likely they will have babies in their homes.