Anne Ferris welcomes adoption tracing legislation

Wicklow TD Anne Ferris has welcomed the news that the Adoption (Information and Tracing) Bill will be discussed by Cabinet this week. “I congratulate Minister Reilly on getting the heads of this Bill through his Department and to the point where it is finally coming out onto the light of day” said Deputy Ferris. “The Bill still has a journey ahead before it becomes enacted but there are enough people in Leinster House with strong feelings about this subject to insist that the Bill gets to legislative stage within the term of this Government. I particularly want to acknowledge the work of Joan Burton and her staff in their relentless pursuit of this legislation behind the scenes.

“I look forward to reading the draft legislation but I am already pleased to hear that one of the key recommendation of Labour’s policy document on adoption tracing has been included, namely that any initial reluctance or fear held by a natural parent will not prevent an adult adopted child having access to information about their birth identity. I co-authored Labour’s adoption policy with my colleague Ivana Bacik and the recommendation to grant identity information in all situations reflects my deep personal belief that most parents and children of adoption in their hearts want to be known to one another. Access to birth information will facilitate this to happen. I know from personal experience that meeting an adult child for the first time is a terrifying prospect for both parties.

“For the small percentage of parents and children who feel unable at first to take that daunting step to meet one another, I have every trust that the parties involved will be respectful of each another’s feelings. If my adopted daughter hadn’t wanted to meet me I would have been heartbroken but I would have respected her privacy without the requirement of any legislative obstacle. I believe that wherever people just aren’t physically ready to meet, a personal veto on meeting can be raised on a purely trust basis. But in all situations the parties should be given the information necessary to identify one another and for adopted people to be able to identify themselves.

“It’s a year ago this week since I told my own personal story, in the Dail Chamber, of meeting my adult sister for the first time in a Dublin hotel. During that debate, Minister Reilly committed to the finalisation of long awaited adoption tracing legislation. This week we will be closer to that objective. For tens of thousands of people this is an emotional step towards knowing their bloodline and birth family. As Oireachtas members we have a collective responsibility to ensure that this legislative process is concluded without further delay and that we reach a place where no Irish person ever again has their identity suppressed against their will.”

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