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Minister asks Adoption Authority to assess situation in Vietnam
Susan Ryan, www.thejournal.ie

12th April 2011

THE MINISTER FOR CHILDREN Frances Fitzgerald has asked the Adoption Authority chairman to visit Vietnam to assess how the country has improved its foreign adoption system.

Adoptions from Vietnam to Ireland have been suspended since the bilateral agreement between the two countries lapsed in May 2009 amid international concerns about the circumstances surrounding adoptions from Vietnam.

In February 2010, an International Social Service report commissioned by UNICEF Vietnam and the Vietnamese government found that inter-country adoptions from Vietnam were “essentially influenced by foreign demand”, meaning the number of children available for adoption was more related to the number of prospective adopters than the needs of the children.

It added:

The circumstances under which babies become “adoptable” are invariably unclear and disturbing.

The report commended the Vietnamese government’s interest in introducing stronger legislation on inter-country adoptions, but said the introduction of such laws would require “a fundamental change in outlook” in the country.

In mid-January of this year, the then-Minister for Children Barry Andrews said that the Irish government had suspended negotiations on a bilateral adoption agreement with Vietnam “indefinitely”, pending Vietnam’s ratification of the Hague Convention.

Ireland ratified the Convention with the enactment of the Adoption Act in November 2010.

Today, Minister Fitzgerald said in a statement that given Vietnam’s plan to ratify the Hague Convention in June, it was now appropriate for the Adoption Authority to travel to the country to assess current standards.

She said the Authority would then be a in a position to provide a report “so that we can give clarity to Irish people who are anxiously awaiting information on progress in Vietnam”.

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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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