Warning over illegal private adoptions from Mexico


THE CHAIRMAN of the Adoption Authority of Ireland has warned prospective adoptive parents not to enter into any private arrangements in Mexico.

Geoffrey Shannon said while some individual states within Mexico allow private adoption, none sanction private inter-country adoption.

The warning comes after Mexican police said they were planning to question 11 Irish couples following the discovery of an international child-smuggling ring. Seven babies were taken away from the couples after the arrest of three local women accused of buying them from their mothers. Another two babies were removed from a mother accused of selling them.

The babies, aged between two and two years and eight months, have been put into care. Local papers reported the birth mothers were paid €70 a week plus medical expenses while pregnant.

The Irish couples are expected to be questioned in Guadalajara, the capital of the Mexican state of Jalisco. State attorney Tomas Coronado said some of the Irish couples had the babies with them because they were told living with them “was part of the process they needed to go through to adopt”.

No formal accusations have been made against the Irish couples, and investigators said they wanted to determine if they were duped into thinking they were taking part in a lawful process.

Mexico is a signatory to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption.

Mr Shannon stressed he could not make any comment on the individual applicants in the case.

A delegation from the authority had travelled to Mexico on December 9th, he said, and discussed issues related to the adoption process and accreditation with their counterparts in the Mexican National Central Authority.

There had been “anecdotal evidence” about private international adoptions and the authority wanted to be “proactive” and establish administrative arrangements for prospective adoptive parents from Ireland.

The Mexican authorities had stated there was only one system of intercountry adoption within Mexico: a public and statutorily regulated system. No children under five should be proposed for intercountry adoption, with the exception of children with special needs. And all documentation for intercountry adoption must be sent by the Irish authority to the Federal Central Authority.

“Our position is very clear. Prospective adoptive parents should not enter into any private arrangements to effect an adoption in Mexico,” said Mr Shannon. He said since the authority was established in November 2010, it had issued advisories including about Mexico. Its approach has always been that adoptions in any jurisdiction should be arranged “central authority to central authority”.

“Private adoptions generally should be avoided,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Department of Foreign Affairs said yesterday the Irish Embassy in Mexico was in contact with a representative from the group and with a lawyer representing the group.