Vietnam adoption deal unlikely until concerns resolved

THE Adoption Authority will ensure all of the “very serious issues” that caused the suspension of adoptions from Vietnam are addressed before any administrative agreement is agreed with the south-east Asian country.

Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald is due to meet with authority chairman, Geoffrey Shannon, and its chief executive, Liz Canavan, today to discuss a range of adoption issues, including the possibility of securing a new administrative agreement with Vietnam.

Ms Canavan said: “The negotiation of an administrative agreement with any Hague Country is a matter for the Adoption Authority, which would have to satisfy itself as to the standards of adoption in the country of origin.

“In particular, the authority will be anxious to ensure that the very serious issues which caused the suspension of adoptions from Vietnam have been fully addressed.”

Vietnam has signed up to the Hague Convention but has not yet ratified.

Vietnamese officials have indicated it is expected to ratify the Convention in June.

Ireland chose not to resume its bilateral agreement with Vietnam in May 2009 based on a number of concerns raised in Unicef’s International Social Services report.

The report cited major concerns that there was virtually “no active promotion of domestic adoptions” in Vietnam so that children could, at the very least, remain in their country of birth.

Major concerns were also raised about the origin of children.

The report also found that adoptions from the country were influenced by foreign demand rather than the needs of actual “abandoned” and orphaned children.

The US had previously suspended adoption from Vietnam in September 2008 after it uncovered widespread evidence of baby selling and baby farming.

The Irish Examiner understands that Ireland’s push not to renew the its bilateral agreement with Vietnam came after similar “serious concerns” were expressed directly to the then Adoption Board by the Irish Embassy in Vietnam.

Irish people have adopted more than 600 children from Vietnam between 2002 and 2008.

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