Adoption: The Kilshaw Case

Alan and Judith Kilshaw from North Wales adopted two 6 month old children in Little Rock, Arkansaw and returned with them to Britain in mid January. There followed a media frenzy concerning a wide range of issues - purchasing children, adoption law and procedures in the US, immigration regulations, etc.

The Governments intends to look into the matter but Jack Straw condemned outright the idea that children can be bought and sold as totally unaceptable. Most if not all organisations in the UK concerned with adoption are equally appalled at this practice.

There is concern expressed that this couple have (perhaps succesfully) found a loop hole in UK adoption law. As Alan Kilshaw has been described in some papers as a solicitor we would assume that he has looked closely at the legislation concerned.

There is little doubt that the tone of the current legislation intends that people should apply to become an approved adopter of a UK agency before considering adopting from overseas. Those that do follow this course still face considerable difficulties when it comes to making contact with adoption agencies and lawyers in other countries. As overseas adoption is primarily driven by financial gain there are many ways in which people desperate to adopt might be exploited. There is a considerable problem which the government might care to address. It strikes us that if they are prepared to allow people to adopt from overseas, however small the number, that it becomes incumbent upon them to also try to ensure that people are put in contact with recognised adoption organisations abroad.

The Government should look towards clarifying the legal position regarding stopping the Kilshaw’s and any that might follow their example but they also should be encouraged to develop a more cohesive approach to those who seek to adopt from overseas.