For any adoption which took place abroad to have legal effect in Ireland it must first be registered with the Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI).
In 2010 the law in relation to adoption changed substantially with the Adoption Act 2010. As a result, the AAI will only recognise two types of foreign adoptions which have taken place after 1 November 2010:
1. Intercountry Adoption – this covers circumstances where an adoption takes place abroad and the child is then brought back to the country where the adoptive parents habitually reside.
Example: the adoptive parents reside in Ireland, adopt a child in Belgium and then bring the child to live with them in Ireland.
For this type of adoption to be recognised by the AAI, the following requirements must be met:• The adoption must comply with the definition of ‘foreign adoption’ in Section 1 of the Adoption Act 1991 as it originally read in 1991; and • The adoption must have been carried out in accordance with the 1993 Hague Convention or another agreement between Ireland and the relevant country.
2. Adoption other than an intercountry adoption – this will cover situations where the adoption takes place in the same country in which the adoptive parents were habitually residing at the time of the adoption.
Example: the adoptive parents reside in Spain and adopt a child in Spain.
The AAI will only recognise this type of adoption if: • The adoption complies with the definition of ‘foreign adoption’ in Section 1 of the Adoption Act 1991 as it originally read in 1991; and • The adoptive parents were habitually resident in the country where the adoption took place at the time of the adoption.
To decide whether the adoptive parents were ‘habitually resident’ in the country where the adoption took place, the AAI will look at factors such as:
• The duration and regularity of their residence in that country; • The conditions and reasons for them staying in that country; • Any social connections to that country, for example if they have purchased a home there; and • Any other specific factual circumstances of the case.
For adoptions which took place before 1 November 2010 the requirements are more straightforward – to be recognised by the AAI the adoption must:1. Comply with the definition of ‘foreign adoption’ in Section 1 of the Adoption Act 1991 as amended in 1998; and 2. Have been certified by the competent authority in the country where the adoption took place as being in accordance with the laws of that country.
In all scenarios, the AAI must also be satisfied that recognising the adoption will not be contrary to public policy, for example the adoption of an adult.
If the AAI is satisfied that the foreign adoption meets the relevant requirements, the adoption will be entered onto the Register of Intercompany Adoptions, and it will then have the same legal effect as if the adoption occurred in Ireland.
This entry on the Register of Intercompany Adoptions has the same legal effect as a birth certificate, and depending on the circumstances of the case can be used to apply for an Irish passport or Irish citizenship. Please see our article on Adoption and Irish Citizenship for more information.
If you would like to speak to someone about having a foreign adoption recognised or any other immigration-related matter please feel free to contact our Immigration Law team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are thinking of engaging a lawyer, why not contact us today to see if we can assist? Any of our solicitors will be delighted to speak with you without obligation.