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News- Vietnam, “Lawmakers back bid to join Hague adoption convention”

With the existing inter-country agreement between US and Vietnam set to expire Sept. 1rst, Vietnam is looking toward possibly restructuring future adoptions under the Hague convention. (This is also the solution many lawmakers in Washington propose. I’ll go into more detail on that end in a separate later post.)

This Thanh Nien article from last Monday goes into a bit of detail, Lawmakers back bid to join Hague adoption convention:

A majority of National Assembly’s Standing Committee members supported a bid to sign the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption Friday, scheduling a vote on the measure by the year’s end.

The International Adopted Children Bureau, under the Minister of Justice, would be solely responsible for approving international adoption applications if Vietnam becomes a signatory on the convention, said Deputy Minister Hoang The Lien on the sidelines of the committee session.

Currently, each provincial government ratifies its own international adoption applications.

Financial aid to orphanages would also be handled by the central government agency if Vietnam joins the convention, said Lien.

Centralization hardly strikes me as a solution to the systemic problems Vietnamese adoption faces. It would however move both the power, and some of the potential profits away from the local provincial governments, and some of the indies and middlemen and directly into the Minister of Justice and the centralized government system itself.

A blogger on Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity (which is primarily a website community for adoptive couples or Prospective Adoptive Parents PAPs who either already have or were considering adopting from Vietnam) as but one example, mentioned this article recently, Not in My House: Corruption in Vietnam, “Lying has become an everyday habit” as officials ignore fraud at home when speaking of the problem of systemic corruption in Vietnam.

Whether centralized or local, the core problems appear to be systemic.

The Thanh Nien Daily article does mention examples of the existing fraud blaming such primarily on local corruption, and offering the Hague convention as a solution:

Lien said lawmakers would also work to remedy shortcomings in local adoption regulations, which many people had capitalized on to forge adoption applications.

Under Vietnamese law, a child must be abandoned by their parents or orphaned to be adopted.

Vietnamese parents who send their children to orphanages due to poverty do so only temporarily.

But several criminals have faked documents leading agencies and adoptive parents to believe that such children were in fact abandoned.

Lien said a recent case of adoption paperwork fraud in the northern province of Nam Dinh would be a major deterrent.

Nam Dinh Province police arrested the head of a charity organization in Truc Ninh District on Thursday for allegedly forging adoption documents.

Nam Dinh authorities began investigating two local charity organizations for their alleged involvement in dubious adoption paperwork in mid-July.

Prior to Thursday, Nam Dinh police had arrested three people, including two communal health officials, for allegedly faking papers documenting the origins of babies they claimed to have found.

The article also points out some of the differences between how adoption is practiced under Vietnamese law and how it would have to adapt if Vietnam were to join the Hague convention:

Lien also said authorities would discuss other mismatches between Vietnamese laws and the Hague Convention.

For example, under Vietnamese law, the maximum age for adoptees is 16, while the Hague Convention extends the adoption age to 18.

Additionally, the Hague Convention stipulates that adopted children must jettison their legal ties with their parents while Vietnamese laws still allow adopted children to retain inheritance and other rights from their birth parents.

In short, the Hague convention would promote American style adoptions where all legal ties with families are permanently severed. This is at odds with the way (not only Vietnam, but many other countries) currently practice adoption, whereby some ties to families had been left intact.

I think the signals are pretty clear though, September 1rst will likely not bring an end to U.S./Vietnamese adoptions, merely a massive restructuring.

Lien said Vietnam and the US may still cooperate to arrange adoptions in the future through a new agreement or the Hague Adoption Convention.

I have some much more in depth Vietnam related blogging here in the pipeline, I hope to have several pieces written this month.

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