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US not adopting from Vietnam

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Saturday, February 04, 2012

The United States has said it will not resume adoptions from Vietnam as the country "does not yet have a fully Hague-compliant process in place".

The announcement was made on Wednesday, the day the Hague Convention came into force in the South-East Asian country, and weeks after Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was satisfied for Ireland to resume adopting from the country again.

Under the Adoption Act 2010, Ireland can only adopt from countries which have ratified the Convention or with which we have a bilateral agreement.

Ireland ceased adopting children from Vietnam in May 2009 after concerns were raised in a Unicef report that the availability of children related more to demand from prospective adoptive parents than to the needs of orphaned children.

The US suspended adoptions from Vietnam in 2008 after it uncovered widespread evidence of baby selling and "baby farming".

However, the US still believes the country is not "fully Hague-compliant".

Adoptions from Vietnam to Ireland are likely to resume soon, after both countries reached agreement on a number of issues to ensure that the rights of children are protected.

High-level sources have said the agreement would be "watertight".

"The best interests of the child have been key to our discussions," Ms Fitzgerald said last month.

"There is now agreement on all the main issues such as safeguards relating to consent, dealing with central authorities and issues to do with money."

Ireland adopted 636 children from Vietnam between 1991 and 2008. There were 136 adoptions in 2009, 10 in 2010 and none last year.

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“In all of us there is a hunger, marrow-deep, to know our heritage, to know who we are and where we have come from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning . . . and the most disquieting loneliness." 

Alex Haley, Author of Roots 





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