Adoptions from Vietnam look likely to resume

Monday May 30 2011

Hopes have been raised that Irish couples will be able to adopt children again from Vietnambut no timescale has yet emerged.

The optimism follows a visit to Vietnam by a delegation from the Irish Adoption Authority who found a significant improvement in standards governing adoption there.

Adoption Authority chairman Geoffrey Shannon said: “It is clear from our discussions on the ground that the Vietnamese government has introduced a significant programme of reform.

“These include new laws on adoption in line with the Hague Convention on inter-country adoption as well as reforms to develop its wider child protection system.”

He said, however, that the earliest date for the Convention to come into force in Vietnam was October. He added he would be meeting Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald in two to three weeks’ time for further discussions on the matter.

Ireland became part of the Hague Convention, which safeguards standards governing the adoption process, last November.

Adoptions by Irish people can now only take place with other countries that have also ratified it, or with countries with whom we have a bilateral agreement on adoption.

Many couples were devastated after the government halted adoptions from Vietnam in January 2010 after a report raised serious concerns about its internal system of the checks and balances to safeguard children.

The UNICEF report warned that the availability of children who were adoptable in Vietnam appeared to be driven more by demands from foreign adopters than the actual needs of “abandoned” and orphaned children.

“As a result, the overwhelming majority of adopted children are under one year of age, the age group most sought after by prospective adopters,” the report said.

It also revealed how the circumstances under which babies become “adoptable” are unclear and disturbing.

Ms Fitzgerald said she would consider the report of the delegation on its Vietnam visit and would be discussing it with her colleagues and the Adoption Authority in the coming weeks.

Some of the main foreign adoptions registered in Ireland for 2009-2010: Russia — 100 (2009), 80 (2010); Ethiopia — 21 (2009), 75 (2010); Vietnam — 136 (2009); 10 (2010).