As it stands now, Vietnam will only process the dossiers of familes who have referrals before September 1st. We still don’t know if we will have a referral before that date or not. However, the Government of Vietnam said last week that they would consider processing the dossiers of all families who have dossiers logged in before July 1st, whether or not they have a referral by September 1st, IF the United States government would ask them to do so. See, if Vietnam says they will process all of those dossiers, they need some reassurance that the United States government would cooperate and would continue to issue visas for those children to enter the United States. So, now a group of familes have started this petition to Congress asking the United States to ask Vietnam to continue to process dossiers.
AMERICANS UNITED FOR VIETNAMESE ORPHANS – GRANDFATHERING PETITION
Dear CCAI Co-Chairs Landrieu, Coleman, Oberstar, and Brown-Waite:
Thousands of families have been in the process of adopting a child from Vietnam for as long as 2 years. Please help them complete their adoptions and give a child an opportunity to be raised in a family environment. With the recent studies on the effects of institutionalization on children, there should be no question that a family environment is an optimal one, which every child should have the opportunity to experience.
We implore you to use your influence to procure a letter from the Dept of State and USCIS, addressed to Dr. Long, Director of the Vietnamese DIA (Dept of International Adoption). On April 25th 2008, he announced that dossiers of American families received by July 1st, 2008, and matched with a child by September 1st, 2008, will be allowed to be processed to completion. All dossiers not matched with a child will be returned to adoption service providers, dashing hopes of raising a child for the 1500-3000 American families who are in the process of adopting a child from Vietnam.
Please ask the Dept of State and the USCIS to request that Dr. Long allow all dossiers submitted by July 1,2008 to be “grand fathered” by allowing these families to receive a child referral even after Sept 1. He has indicated that he is agreeable to this request IF the Dept of State and USCIS agencies will state that they will honor this change by continuing to approve qualified I-600 (orphan petition) and I-234 (visa) applications for families matched after September 1st. Vietnamese law requires a current bilateral agreement between sending and receiving countries; the one between Vietnam and the United States will expire on September 1st, 2008. Dr Long has indicated that Vietnam would waive this requirement for the remaining dossiers, if asked to do so by the Dept of State and USCIS.
Thousands of prospective parents applied to USCIS to adopt a child from Vietnam, believing in good faith that the US and Vietnam would continue to work together to complete ethical adoptions.
Since November 2007, USCIS has implemented DNA testing and the Orphans First program. These steps should help improve confidence in the adoption process, and allow the US and Vietnam to negotiate a new MOU with the goal of becoming a Hague country. Closing the program at this point will leave 1500-3000 families and orphans in limbo for as long as two years, while Vietnam makes necessary steps towards acceptance of the Hague Convention. As the JCICS Children’s Rights Campaign of June 2008 has pointed out, if adoptions stop between the US and Vietnam, so will the backbone of humanitarian support that has helped tens of thousands of orphans who will never have the opportunity to be raised in a family environment.
We urge you to act upon this request without delay, by ensuring that the Dept of State and USCIS write this letter to Dr Long. This is a very trying time for the many families who wait month after month with little word, and we hope that their dreams of raising an orphaned child does not end in sadness.