The responsibility for facilitating intercountry adoption applications lies with the Adoption Authority, in its capacity as an independent, quasi judicial body established under the Adoption Act 2010. As such it is not open to me to intervene in individual cases. The Republic of India has ratified the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, as such it is not necessary to have a bilateral agreement with India. As a contracting state under the Hague Convention, the Adoption Act 2010 provides that adoptions by Irish prospective adoptive parents may be made subject to Irish and Indian requirements being satisfied in line with relevant laws and the provisions of the Hague Convention. It is a matter for contacting states whether they wish to impose restrictions on whether and how intercountry adoptions of citizens of that State may be effected.
I recently facilitated a meeting between the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in order to provide prospective adopters up to date information on the status of adoptions from India. At this meeting the Adoption Authority advised that there remains a general moratorium by the Indian Central Authority (CARA) on India accepting adoption applications from other countries other than in special circumstances. The Authority has recently received an announcement from CARA that India is currently accepting packs from non-resident Indian prospective adoptive parents for the adoption of Indian children (“normal” category). This means that India remains closed to non-Indian prospective adoptive parents at this time in respect of what it terms “normal” categories of children. The Adoption Authority understands that CARA is accepting applications in respect of children which are termed "special needs", which includes children over five years of age and sibling groups. The Authority is currently attempting to establish from CARA a possible time frame for the acceptance of application packs in the “normal” category from non-Indian nationals.
The Adoption Authority has advised it is their position that it is necessary to have an Irish registered accredited body to facilitate intercountry adoptions from India in order to safeguard the process for the child and the adoptive parents. The Authority has recently decided to delegate its functions under Articles 15, 16 and 17 of the Hague Convention to Helping Hands Adoption Mediation Agency with regard to adoptions from India. Helping Hands is awaiting approval by CARA in order to proceed in this regard. I have arranged a follow-up meeting with the Irish India Support Group and the Adoption Authority in May in order to update the group on progress made.