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Adoption Policy

 Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013

In order to resolve the difficulties that Irish families who were in the process of adopting from Russia have experienced due to changes in Russian adoption legislation that took place in July 2013, the Government has introduced, and the Oireachtas has approved, the Adoption (Amendment) Act 2013. The purpose of the Act is to extend the period of declarations of eligibility and suitability which apply to the Russian Federation for one year to 31 October 2014 for those prospective adoptive parents who held such declarations on 31 October 2013. The Adoption Authority of Ireland has stated that 23 Prospective Adoptive Parents may be eligible for such an extension.

Adoption Act, 2010

The Adoption Act, 2010, was commenced on 1 November 2010. The commencement of the Act coincided with Ireland's ratification of the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption.

The Hague Convention is a co-operative agreement drawn up to allow countries to mutually support one another in protecting the best interests of children in the intercountry adoption process. It is a minimum set of standards in intercountry adoption in areas such as subsidiarity, consent and financial considerations. It is designed in such a way as to allow for mirrored mechanisms and structures to mutually assure countries of the safety and standard of intercountry adoptions in those countries. With effect from 1 November intercountry adoptions can be effected with other countries which have ratified the Hague Convention or with which Ireland has a bilateral agreement.

The Adoption Authority of Ireland (AAI) performs the function of a Central Authority under the Adoption Act, 2010, in accordance with the Convention. In choosing to deal primarily with Hague countries, the AAI has the mechanism to work collaboratively with equivalent structures in that country. Each Central Authority has the responsibility to oversee standards in respect of those parts of the process taking place within their respective jurisdictions. This mutual arrangement is designed to give the AAI, the Government and, most importantly, those involved in the adoption process assurance as to the standards being set and the oversight of the system. 

Prior to the commencement of this Act, adoption in Ireland was governed by the Adoption Acts 1952, 1964, 1974, 1976, 1988, 1991 and 1998.  These Acts were repealed by the Adoption Act, 2010.

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Adoption Authority of Ireland

The Adoption Authority of Ireland was established on the 1st November 2010. The Adoption Board was replaced by the Adoption Authority of Ireland on this date.

Adoption in Ireland is now regulated by the Adoption Authority of Ireland, which is an independent quasi judicial statutory body appointed by Government. The mission of the Authority is to “work to achieve excellence in adoption and adoption related services, with the best interests of children as our primary consideration.”

The Adoption Authority also is responsible for accrediting agencies to provide a wide range of adoption services.

The Authority posts updated notices in relation to adoption issues in the 'Latest News' section of their website.

Visit Adoption Authority website


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Child and Family Agency

The Child and Family Agency plays an important role in assessing possible adoptive parents and services to people who were adopted or fostered and may wish to trace their birth family.

From November 1st 2010, all adoption applications must be sent to a local Child and Family Agency office. For contact details of your local HSE Adoption Service, visit the Child and Family Agency website.

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Domestic Adoptions

Domestic adoption is where a child is adopted within Ireland, through either a family adoption or a non-family adoption. A domestic adoption involves the transfer, on a permanent basis, of parental rights and duties for children from the birth parent(s) to the adoptive parent(s). It is a permanent legal relationship between the adoptive parent(s) and the child. The child has the same legal rights as if they were born in the adoptive family.

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Intercountry Adoptions from Hague Countries

From the 1st November 2010 anyone wishing to effect an adoption from a Hague country must be satisfied that the adoption is in compliance with the rules set out in the Hague Convention. The key rules to be adhered to are:

  1. The adoption must comply with all the terms and conditions of the Hague Convention 
  2. The agent/agency handling the adoption is properly accredited by the Central Authority of the sending State 
  3. The AAI or a body accredited to do so by the AAI must transmit the Child and Family Agency assessment report to the central authority of the state of origin.
  4. The agent/agency can produce a valid Article 23 Certificate from a competent authority of the sending State in respect of the adoption

The Adoption Authority website contains detaied information on the process which must be followed.
The Hague Convention website has details of the Convention and a list of the Central Authorities, the Accredited Bodies and the Competent Authorities.

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Administrative Arrangements

In accordance with Section 72 of the Act, the Adoption Authority may enter into administrative arrangements with any contracting state concerning the processing of applications for adoptions.  The Adoption Authority website contains details on individual Hague countries.

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Bilateral Agreements

There are currently no bilateral agreements for intercountry adoptions in place.

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Accredited Bodies

The Adoption Act, 2010 allows for the Adoption Authority to delegate certain functions in relation to making arrangements for adoptions to the Child and Family Agency or an accredited body.

Adoption Act 2010 (Accreditation Bodies) Regulations 2010 (SI 524 of 2010) outline the requirements for accreditation.

View Regulations


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Issues Relating to Individual Countries

As information on individual countries becomes available, the Adoption Authority provides updates on the Adoption Authority website.

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Information and Tracing


National Adoption Contact Preference Register

The National Adoption Contact Preference Register has been set up to facilitate contact between adopted people and their natural families

Participation is voluntary and contact through the register will only be initiated where both parties register. The Register allows you to choose what level of contact you wish to have. It includes an option to have no contact with the other party to the adoption if this is your wish.

The Register is maintained by the Adoption Authority of Ireland. Further information may be obtained from the Authority.


Work is underway in relation to the preparation of the Bill, in consultation with the Adoption Authority, to provide for a structured and regulated way of providing access to information and contact for those affected by adoption. It is intended that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will provide for the Adoption Authority to have access to records currently held by a wide range of Information Services, give the Authority an oversight role with regard to the maintenance of adoption records and place the National Contact Preferenct Register on a statutory basis. The Bill will also provide for proactive tracing and reunion services by appropriate bodies for adopted adults, birth mothers and birth families, with the Adoption Authority having the overarching responsibility for the service. The Minister intends to take this legislation through the Houses of the Oireachtas at the earliest opportunity.

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Information on the provision of adoption services can be obtained from the Adoption Authority of Ireland (01) 2309300 or email

For more information on issues relating to adoption policy contact (01) 647 3027 or (01) 647 3162 or email

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