Adoption Rights Alliance (ARA) estimates that at least 100,000 unmarried women had their children adopted from 1922 to 1998. This figure is based on the following:
44,682 is the Adoption Authority of Ireland’s (AAI) official figure of children adopted domestically from 1953 to 2013 ; 41,000 is the total number from 1953 to 1998. See the AAI’s latest annual report.
1,933 is the official number of children trafficked to the US , however we suspect that this is a conservative figure as many who have approached ARA were illegally adopted (i.e. they were registered as the natural child of their adoptive parents and/or no Department of Foreign Affairs file exists for them)
10,000 is the number of children ARA estimates were illegally adopted or illegally boarded out from 1922 to 1998. This number is based on the percentage of such enquiries ARA has received from 2009 to 2014 and which our predecessor organisation received from the early 1990s until 2007. In addition, in June 2014, the then acting CEO of the AAI, Kiernan Gildea, admitted to the joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children that there were ‘at least several thousand illegally adopted people; we might never know the total number because of the lack of a paper trail’.
30,000 is the number of children ARA estimates were informally boarded out (prior to the introduction of legal adoption) from 1922 to 1952 at a rate of 1,000 per annum. This number is based on the percentage of such enquiries we have received from 2009 to 2014 and which our predecessor organisation received from the early 1990s until 2007. It is also based on the numbers of files that appear to have been held by agencies such as the Sacred Heart Adoption Agency from this period.
(Cover image copyright Brian Lockier/ARA)