The Act represents a significant shift in the policy underpinning adoption in Ireland.
Originally, adoption was viewed as a way of providing marital families for non-marital children, 'rescuing them' from what was long considered the stigma of 'illegitimacy'. The 2017 Act signals a sea-change in this regard, allowing, as it does, the adoption of children born inside marriage, and allowing cohabiting couples to adopt jointly.
Who can adopt Prior to the 2017 Act, only married couples (including those of the same sex) could jointly adopt children. Unless the circumstances were extreme, children couldonly be adopted if they were orphans or born outside marriage.Previously, a child born inside marriage could only be adopted in cases of extreme abandonment or where both parents had died.
The Act also allowscivil partners and cohabitants to apply to adopt children jointly. Previously, only a marr…