Minister seeks to reopen
Vietnam for Irish adoptions
JAMIE SMYTH, Irish Times
Mon, Apr 04, 2011
THE GOVERNMENT will begin
talks on securing a new administrative agreement with Vietnam shortly to
help reopen the southeast Asian state for Irish couples pursuing
An estimated 200 Irish
couples seeking adoptions in Vietnam were left in limbo following a decision
by the government last year to suspend all adoptions from the country. The
suspension, which was announced in January 2010, followed international
concerns about the process of adopting children from Vietnam.
Minister for Children
Frances Fitzgerald told The Irish Times yesterday she wanted officials at
the Adoption Authority of Ireland to travel to Vietnam to begin talks on an
administrative agreement. She said she believed Vietnam would ratify the
Hague Convention on intercountry adoptions and securing an administrative
agreement with the country would speed up the process of adoption for Irish
couples waiting to adopt.
“I’d like to bring some
clarity to the situation of intercountry adoptions so that adoptive couples
are not having to reinvent the wheel,” said Ms Fitzgerald, who is meeting
the Adoption Authority of Ireland “as a matter of urgency” later this
Under the Adoption Act,
which entered into law last November, couples can only pursue inter-country
adoptions from states that have ratified the Hague adoption convention or
that have a bilateral agreement with Ireland.
Vietnam signed the Hague
convention in December 2010, and is expected to fully ratify the convention
shortly. By negotiating an administrative agreement with Vietnam, the
Government hopes Irish couples stuck in limbo can begin adopting as soon as
Vietnam ratifies the Hague convention.
An estimated 200 Irish
couples had received their declaration of eligibility and suitability to
adopt from Vietnam when adoptions were suspended. Some 20 Irish couples were
even further through the adoption process in Vietnam and had received
adoption packs before the suspension.
The Government announced
the suspension of adoptions from Vietnam following publication of a report
commissioned by Unicef and the Vietnamese ministry of justice, which
The report found that
adoptions from Vietnam were essentially influenced by foreign demand rather
than the needs of “abandoned” and orphaned children; the circumstances
under which babies become “adoptable” were invariably unclear and
disturbing; and the intercountry adoption system was grounded in a
“remarkably unhealthy relationship between the mediating agencies and
specific residential facilities”.
Russia is closed for new
adoptions because it has not ratified the Hague convention. However, the
Government is seeking a full bilateral agreement with Moscow in a bid to
reopen Russia for adoptions.
Ms Fitzgerald also said she
would prioritise the passing of new legislation to help adopted children
trace their parents.
Birth parents hoping to
trace the 42,000 children adopted in Ireland since 1952 often face huge
delays when they approach the Health Service Executive or private adoption
agencies to start the tracing process.
© 2011 The Irish Times
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