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Big strides made in Vietnam’s adoption service

By Claire O’Sullivan

Irish Examiner, Thursday, May 19, 2011

SENIOR members of the Adoption Authority have met with the Children’s Minister to report on "important improvements" in Vietnam’s inter-country adoption procedures.

Adoption Authority chairman Geoffrey Shannon and chief executive Elizabeth Canavan had travelled to the Far East country to "assess and report on the country’s progress on adoption and child protection processes".

They concluded that big strides had been made since November 2008, when the US suspended adoptions from Vietnam because of dubious practices.

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.

Last night, Children’s Minister Frances Fitzgerald said she was "very pleased" to hear of the improvements in laws and practices.

She said: "I am mindful that the Adoption Authority has advised that the entry into force of the Hague Convention in Vietnam is likely to occur in November.

"I will now consider their report and their feedback, to determine the next steps that should be taken to build on this progress.

"I look forward to discussing this further with my Government colleagues and the Adoption Authority in the coming weeks," Minister Fitzgerald said.

The International Social Services 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 suspended adoption from Vietnam in late 2008 after it uncovered widespread evidence of baby selling and baby farming. 

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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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