I recently travelled to Moscow, accompanied by Dr Geoffrey Shannon, Chair of the Adoption Authority of Ireland, in order to discuss at a diplomatic level issues in relation to the potential for a bilateral agreement with Russia. During my visit I met with my counter part, Minister Dmitry Livanov, Minister of Education and Science of the Russian Federation. This meeting was productive and allowed for an exchange of views on the possibility of Ireland entering into a bilateral agreement on intercountry adoption with Russia. I emphasised the success of over 1600 Russian/ Irish adoptions and the Irish Government’s willingness to find solutions to address the constitutional difficulties in relation to post placement reporting, which the current draft agreement presents.
The Russian authorities acknowledged the satisfactory outcomes for Russian children adopted in Ireland and expressed a willingness to conclude an agreement with Ireland which will be subject to the approval of the Russian parliament. My Department, together with the AAI, will continue efforts to develop proposals in this regard with a view to a possible visit by Russian officials to Ireland in the coming months. I also met with Mr Pavel Astakhov, the Russian Commissioner for Children’s Rights. The Commissioner highlighted the sensitivity of adoption and described the changes in adoption within Russia, with more emphasis on Russian families fostering and adopting children.
I am hopeful that progress can be made in relation to the development of a bilateral agreement with Russia under Section 73 of the Adoption Act 2010. In any event I intend to address the current uncertainty for parents around the future of intercountry adoption from Russia.