Seven Mexican babies have been seized from Irish couples after police in Guadalajara smashed an international child-smuggling ring.In light of that information from the Irish Adoption Authority, I have to say it's hard to believe that the prospective adoptive parents thought they were involved with legitimate international adoption. It took me three seconds to find out the process of international adoption in Ireland on Google.
Officials said the couples believed they were following proper adoption channels but that the babies were actually being sold by their mothers. Up to 11 Irish families
were being questioned this weekend in connection with the scam, centred in the Guadalajara region of central Mexico, where four local women have been arrested.
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Three Mexican women, all aged in their early 30s, were subsequently arrested on suspicion of belonging to a child-trafficking gang.
They are suspected of using newspaper advertisements to find expectant mothers who did not want to keep their babies – then buying the infants from the women and handing them over to wealthy foreign couples who travelled to Mexico seeking to adopt.
The Irish couples were reportedly given the babies at a hotel in Guadalajara and sent to the nearby town of Ajijic, a popular retirement destination for Canadian and American expats, to spend a fortnight with the babies while adoption papers were processed.
The processing was done in the neighbouring state of Colima. It is not clear whether suspected gang members intended faking documents or had corrupt local officials in their pay.
The birth mothers are said to have been paid €70 a week plus medical expenses while they were pregnant.
One local paper reported that after the mothers gave birth, the child-trafficking suspects got them to sign a contract permitting them to ‘hire’ their babies for €30 a day over a fortnight for use in photoshoots for publicity contracts.
Instead, the babies were handed over to the foreign couples and the birth mothers were given a copy of the contract, which they used to justify their babies’ absence to friends and neighbours. Mexican authorities said the Guadalajara-based firm Lopez & Lopez Associates was involved in drawing up those contracts. It is not clear whether the mothers knew their babies would be given up permanently or whether they expected them back after the fortnight.
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As the arrests and investigation unfolded during the past few days, Ireland’s Adoption Authority issued a release on Thursday about intercountry adoptions involving Mexico. The Mexican authorities stated that all documentation must be sent by the ‘Adoption Authority of Ireland, or a body accredited by the AAI, to the Federal Central Authority’ – as per the Mexican notice on the Hague Convention website.
The release also pointed out that Irish visa applicants must clearly state the actual purpose of their visit to Mexico and prospective adoptive parents need to obtain an adoption visa.
‘While some individual States within the Federal United States of Mexico may allow for private domestic adoptions outside public entities, there is no provision for private adoptions in the context of intercountry adoption,’ the release said.
‘No children under five years of age should be proposed for intercountry adoption, the only exceptions being children with special needs or sibling groups.
‘On the basis of the foregoing, prospective adoptive parents should not enter into any private arrangements with private individuals or private agencies.’
Still hoping for change
2 days ago