Tuesday, 24 March 2015
Children and Family Relationships Bill 2015: Second Stage
That may be, but his point was that he grew up with a mother and father. When he went to his father to explain that he was gay, the father found it very difficult to take, while his mother was very sympathetic. He was of the opinion that every child would be better having a mother and a father. That has certainly influenced me to think in a way that I might not otherwise have thought. Professor Ray Kinsella has argued that the legislation would promote arrangements where children are intentionally denied either a mother or a father. Whether that is correct, I do not know.
I got a letter only this morning. I am not going to read the entire letter but I can offer a flavour of it:
We are writing to ask your help with a proposal regarding fostering and adoption. In 1989 my husband and I long-term fostered two brothers who were three years old and one year and eight months old when they came to us. We have no other children. They are still with us at age 29 and 28. When they were small we asked several times to adopt them but their birth mother would not give consent. Now that they are adults we still wish to adopt them and the boys themselves also wish it. As far as I understand, it is not possible for an adult to adopt another adult in Ireland at present.Perhaps the Minister could handle the matter privately rather than in the Chamber but the letter continues: "It is done in other countries, the United States being one." Specifically, their proposal is that long-term foster parents be allowed to adopt their adult foster children:
We feel that it would ensure that they are full members of the family, especially in terms of inheritance rights, decisions on elder care, and, I am sure, the many other aspects that would emerge. This seems to us infinitely more than just the situation which now prevails.I do not know the situation, but the last sentence was, "So with change in the air because of the upcoming children's Bill we are hoping that there is still some time that you can help us." They gave their names, addresses and telephone numbers. I will give the Minister the letter and she can follow it up. It seems to me that this Bill needs a lot of debate. I regret that we will have a short time to deal with it, but that is our fault. The Minister will welcome a good debate on this. There was a good debate in the other House; let us make sure we have a good debate here.