Ferris proposes changes to adoption laws

Wicklow TD Anne Ferris has published a Bill to allow adoptive parents and close blood relatives greater access to an adopted child.

At present, once a child is adopted, section 58 of the Adoption Act 2010 extinguishes all rights of the natural parents and their relatives, such as grandparents.

Deputy Ferris’s new Bill proposes to change this situation to allow the natural parent or relative to either agree measures to facilitate ongoing access to the child, either with the Adoption Authority in advance of an adoption, or with the adopters afterwards.

There is also a provision in the Bill to allow a natural parent to apply to the courts to seek access.

“This is about the needs of the adopted child. I have had personal experience of the laws as they stand and they are too inflexible to address the special emotional needs of many adopted children,” Deputy Ferris said.

“More and more society is learning of the emotional damage that can be caused to children and adults by the severing of natural families. This is not to underestimate the happiness and security that an adopted child can have within their adopted family. But the experience of many adoptees in adulthood is a sense of loss for the family they didn’t grow up with.

“Modern Irish family structures are becoming more flexible and many children are flourishing in families that no longer follow the traditional model. An adopted child growing up knowing about his or her two mothers should become as normal as the childhood of a classmate who has parents and step-parents. The most important thing is that the child feels loved by its extended family, whatever form that family may take.”

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