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Wednesday, 16 January, 2002, 17:48 GMT
The legacy of the internet babies row
Alan and Judith Kilshaw
Alan and Judith Kilshaw's plan prompted a change in the law
The controversy that surrounded internet adoption of twins by Judith and Alan Kilshaw 12 months ago has led to the closing of loopholes and tough new procedures.

The Flintshire couple caused a sensation when it was revealed last January that they had paid an agency for two baby girls from the United States.

The twins
The twins at the centre of the tug-of-war
Mr and Mrs Kilshaw brought the children back to their home in Buckley, north Wales.

The intervention of Flintshire social services to place the children in protective care triggered drawn out legal proceedings. The lessons that were learnt by the council in dealing with such situations received the praise of professionals.

The government and adoption agencies also stepped into the saga to ensure that there was no repeat of the twins' case.


For many people, it confirmed the importance of having a vetting procedure

Mary Romaine
Regulations preventing the use of the internet to adopt children in future were included in the Adoption and Children Bill.

Adoption agencies believe the incident has justified the vetting process for prospective adoptive parents, which can be long and complicated.

Couples must undergo a 10-stage application, including interviews and a thorough background check.

Positive option

Mary Romaine, of the British Agency for Adoption and Fostering Cymru (BAAF), said the Kilshaws' case has had a substantial impact on procedures.

"It put the adoption process into the public arena, so it probably made some people who had not thought of adopting children consider it as a positive option," said Ms Romaine.

"For many people, it confirmed the importance of having a full vetting procedure."

Judith Kilshaw in London
Judith Kilshaw was at the centre of media attention
The case of the internet twins led to revised practices put in place in social services departments in councils across the UK.

In April last year, the High Court ruled the twins must be returned to the United States where a court would settle their future.

Twins Kymberley and Belinda were flown back into the care of US officials.

Meanwhile, the Kilshaws have announced they intend to press on this year with their plans to adopt, turning this time to Eastern Europe - possibly Albania.


More from north east Wales
See also:

22 Oct 01 | Wales
02 Jul 01 | Wales
10 Jul 01 | Wales
31 Jul 01 | Wales
29 Jul 01 | Wales
28 Jul 01 | Wales
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