David Miliband and American wife fly to US for birth of adopted baby boy

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Indy Politics

The Cabinet Office minister, David Miliband, has adopted a baby boy in the US, it was announced yesterday. Mr Miliband, 39, and his violinist wife, Louise, flew out before Christmas to witness the birth of Isaac James Miliband, who was born on 13 December, weighing 7lb.

He was taken from his natural mother and handed to the couple, who flew back to their London home on Christmas Eve with their new baby. Mrs Miliband, a director of the London Symphony Orchestra, grew up in the US and went to university there.

Mr Miliband, a close ally of the Prime Minister, gave some details of the adoption of baby Isaac but refused to discuss why he chose to adopt from America instead of the UK.

He said: "Louise grew up in the US through her childhood and into her 20s. She is an American citizen as well as a British citizen and she has adoption rights in America."

He confirmed he and his wife were present at the birth, adding: "Anyone who has had a child will be aware of all the emotions we felt."

But Mr Miliband, who is MP for South Shields, added that he wanted to keep Isaac's arrival a private affair. "I can understand that the media will have questions but we see this as a private thing between us. I believe, however, that the people of South Shields have a right to know what has happened. We look forward to introducing Isaac to the North East early in the New Year,"he said.

Residents in South Shields knew nothing of the adoption until Mr Miliband announced the news in his local news pa per, the Shields Gazette.

Mr Miliband, who was recently promoted to the Cabinet Office, said: "I am delighted to announce that Louise, my wife, and I have adopted a baby son ... we are absolutely delighted and we are looking forward to all the joys and challenges of parenthood."

A Cabinet Office spokeswoman said the adoption was a personal matter for the minister and his wife. She said: "I can confirm they have adopted a baby, and the couple are both very happy."

The surrogacy agency Childlessness Overcome Through Surrogacy described the difficulties faced by older British couples in adopting babies. A spokeswoman, Jackie Smith, said couples over the age of 35 were often not considered as suitable adoptive parents. She said: "The authorities want the child to go to the youngest suitable parents and couples who are in their late thirties or early forties find themselves excluded.

"There is an inclination to place babies where it is felt they will have the longest, happiest life with their new parents. It means more people turn to surrogacy while others adopt abroad," she said.

She said in some instances, adoptive parents could be present at the birth of the child. "It allows the couple to bond almost immediately with the baby but it is still quite rare.It occurs when the mother cannot or does not wish to keep the child and had notified the authorities during her pregnancy."

In 2001, laws tightening up international adoption came into force in the wake of attempts by a Welsh couple, Alan and Judith Kilshaw, to adopt twins from America over the internet.The couple paid £8,200 for the babies but lost their right to keep them.

Anyone who attempts to bring children into the England or Wales without first being assessed for suitability now faces punishment. The legislation was designed to make it illegal to adopt from abroad without following the same rigorous checks that would apply if adopting at home.