procedures treat children as ‘commodities’
By Conall O Fátharta
Irish Examiner, Monday,
November 01, 2010
procedures in Vietnam had reduced the country’s children to a
commodity worth "less than a pig".
The disclosure emerged
in internal US State Department documents which reveal a network of
people, from adoption agency representatives, orphanage directors,
hospital administrators right through to government officials and local
police, were profiting by paying for children, as well as coercing and
defrauding natural parents into giving up their children for adoption.
The documents, from 2007 and 2008, show in some cases, children were
simply stolen from their families to sell them to unsuspecting American
couples. Throughout hundreds of pages of material, US officials –
including the country’s ambassador to Vietnam, Michael W Michalak, and
Assistant Secretary of State Maura Harty – express their growing
concerns over adoption practices in Vietnam.
Following these concerns, which included evidence of "baby
farming" and "baby selling", the USA eventually decided
not to renew its bilateral agreement with Vietnam in September 2008.
Ireland followed suit in May of 2009.
It is understood the Irish Embassy in Vietnam had also expressed
"serious concerns" as to adoption practices in the country.
The US documents also show US adoption agencies’ contracts with
provincial authorities for "humanitarian donations" was
putting pressure on the adoption system to meet the growing need to
provide children for adoption. Ireland has adopted more than 600
children from the south-east Asian country between 2002 and 2008.
The new Adoption Act, which comes into force today, will finally
complete Ireland’s ratification of the Hague Convention on
Irish people approved to adopt from abroad will only be able to adopt
children from a Hague Convention country or from a country with which
Ireland has a bilateral agreement. However, anybody who has a
declaration of suitability to adopt before the November 1 will be
allowed to proceed with a non-Hague country.
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