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Vietnam ‘eager’ to resume adoptions with Ireland

By Conall Ó Fátharta

Irish Examiner, Tuesday, September 20, 2011

VIETNAM is eager to treat Ireland as a "priority country" for adoption following its ratification of the Hague Convention.

Children’s Minister Fran-ces Fitzgerald said a number of recent developments have taken place in relation to inter-country adoption with Vietnam and that the country is close to ratifying the convention, which ensures that international adoption occurs in the best interests of children.

In a recent meeting with the Vietnamese Ambassador to Ireland, Vu Quang Minh, Ms Fitzgerald stressed Ireland’s wish to see Vietnam as a country of choice for adoption for prospective adoptive parents.

"I have been advised that the Vietnamese government is eager to treat Ireland as a priority country for adoption following their ratification of Hague," she said.

Ms Fitzgerald confirmed that preliminary discussions have taken place regarding official visits between the countries and said Vietnamese authorities are committed to putting in place legislative framework that supports safe and secure domestic and inter-country adoptions.

Ireland ceased adopting children from Vietnam after it chose not to resume its bilateral agreement with the country in May 2009 following 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 children could, at the very least, remain in their country of birth.

Concerns were also raised about the origin of the children used for inter-country adoption. The report also found that adoptions from the country were influenced by foreign demand.

The report also directly criticised Cork-based agency Helping Hands over fees it charged.

The US had suspended adoptions from Vietnam in September 2008 after it uncovered evidence of baby selling and ‘baby farming’.

The Irish Examiner understands Ireland’s decision was also influenced by similar "serious concerns".

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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." 

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