It was recently reported that Vietnam adopted the Hague Convention and that the country plans to put new adoption laws in place in January of 2011. While this is a positive step, the editors at VVAI would like to caution prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) about beginning new adoptions from Vietnam at this time. It is rumored that some adoption agencies are beginning to take applications or add PAPs to lists for Vietnam adoptions, even though there is no definite date set for the resumption of Vietnam adoptions. Vietnam is NOT open to adoptions to the United States at this time.
A recent article from Rainbowkids states:
The question US families are asking: Will the US sign an adoption agreement with Vietnam? At this time, the US Department of State has not updated its notificiations on adoption from Vietnam. It may be assumed that the US will be cautious in entering a new agreement with Vietnam. In the past, the US opened and closed to adoption from Vietnam twice. An excellent overview of the problems with Vietnam adoption pre-Hague may be found in EJ Graff’s article, “Anatomy of an Adoption Crisis.”
The Hague requirements take time to implement, and will be closely monitored before any adoptions are initiated from Vietnam. Families wishing to adopt from Vietnam are cautioned to be patient and fully educate themselves on the history of this program, and undestand that Vietnam is currently NOT open to new applications. With Vietnam’s signing of the Hague, the first step in the journey towards a transparent, ethical adoption program has been taken. It remains in the hands of the Vietnamese authorities to implement the necessary organizational and legal system practices that will once again open the door to US adoption from Vietnam.
Further, a statement from Heather Carter-Tryon, Program Manager at Pearl S. Buck International/ Welcome House adoption agency, said:
I have received several questions lately regarding rumors of Vietnam reopening. Here are the things we know are true:
- Vietnam’s new adoption law goes into effect on January 1st. However, as in all countries but especially in developing countries, implementation of a significant new law takes time.
- Vietnam has signed the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption (http://english.vovnews.vn/Home/Vietnam-signs-Hague-Adoption-Convention/201012/122392.vov).
- There will need to be significant negotiations between the Vietnamese and American governments before adoptions reopen.
Here are the things we do not know:
- When adoptions from Vietnam will actually reopen. Not only does the new law need to go into effect in Vietnam but the U.S. Department of State needs to be sufficiently reassured that there has been significant change in the adoption system before they will allow Americans to adopt children from Vietnam. Although the positive steps listed above are very exciting, I would caution you against assuming that adoptions will reopen quickly. At this point, I would be very pleased if adoptions reopen in 2011, but think that 2012 is a definite possibility.
- How many adoption agencies will be working there. We have been hearing rumors that the number of adoption agencies would be limited and think that this is a good idea. It would be one way to limit some of the negative things that were happening with Vietnam was open previously. Obviously, with our long history of humanitarian work there we believe that, if the numbers of agencies are indeed limited, we would be in a good position to be considered for an adoption license but we don’t know anything for sure right now.
- Which children will be adopted initially. There have been rumors for some time that the first adoptions would be of older children and/or children with special needs, before allowing agencies to begin placing healthy infants. Again, this is a rumor and we do not know how much of it is true.
Before submitting any application fees, we caution PAPs to consider that it will likely take some time before adoptions from Vietnam can actually resume, and there is no way to know which adoption agencies will be licensed when and if Vietnam adoptions do re-open. Also, please consider that if adoptions do resume, PAPs will need to choose agencies carefully and look closely for any “red flags” that would indicate corruption in the adoption process. The fact that Vietnam has become a Hague country or that they have new adoption laws does not necessarily ensure a “clean” adoption process.