Vietnam Ends Adoptions With US

Due to US allegations of corruption, Vietnam has decided to end its adoption program with the US.  This does not however mean that adoptions already in process will be halted.  Adoptions from Vietnam to the US will formally be ended on July 1st of this year.  Here’s an article that was sent out courtesy of the K@W list.

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Vietnam to end adoption program with US after report
By VU TIEN HONG

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam is ending a child adoption agreement
with the United States after being accused of allowing baby-selling
and corruption, officials said Monday.

The agreement was being considered for renewal but the two sides
remained far apart over revisions, said Vu Duc Long, director of
Vietnam’s International Adoption Agency. The agreement is due to
expire on Sept. 1.

In a letter sent to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi on Friday, Vietnam said
it will stop taking adoption applications from American families
after July 1 but will continue to process applications of families
who are matched with babies before July 1.

The decision was made following a report from the U.S. Embassy in
Hanoi that was first obtained by The Associated Press, alleging
pervasive corruption and baby-selling in Vietnam’s adoption system.

The report lists cases in which infants were sold or birth mothers
were pressured to give up their babies. In some other cases it
describes brokers going to villages in search for babies who could be
possibly put up for adoption.

It also says some American adoption agencies have been paying
orphanage directors for referrals, and some others have bribed
orphanage officials by taking them on shopping sprees and junkets to
the United States in return for a flow of babies.

In an angry response, Vietnamese officials denied charges, calling
the U.S. side’s allegations “unfair.”

“They can say whatever they want, but we are not going to renew it,”
Long said.

The decision also will lead to the closure of 42 U.S. adoption
agencies operating in Vietnam, Long said.

The U.S. Embassy says it respects Hanoi’s latest decision but is
confident about the accuracy of the report.

“The government of Vietnam has made their own decision, but we
believe that our report speaks for itself,” said the U.S. Embassy’s
spokeswoman, Angela Aggeler.

U.S. Embassy officials began raising questions last year after their
routine investigations turned up widespread inconsistencies in
adoption paperwork.

They also noticed a suspicious surge in the number of babies listed
as abandoned on adoption papers. That makes it impossible to confirm
the infants were genuine orphans, or that their parents had knowingly
put them up for adoption, as required by U.S. law.

In adoptions before 2003, 20 percent were abandoned babies. Since
they resumed under tighter rules, that has risen to 85 percent, the
embassy report says.

Vietnam suspended all adoptions with foreign countries in 2003 as
part of its efforts to improve the legal system by centralizing
adoption to prevent rampant corruption. A bilateral agreement between
the U.S. and Vietnam was resumed in 2005.

Since then adoptions from Vietnam have boomed. Americans — including
actress Angelina Jolie — adopted more than 1,200 Vietnamese children
over the 18 months ending March 31. In 2007, adoptions surged more
than 400 percent from a year earlier, with 828 Vietnamese children
adopted by American families.

While China remains the most popular overseas country for adoptions,
a growing number of Americans had been looking to Vietnam, which has
had fewer restrictions. The wait for adoption approval also has
gotten longer in China after authorities there tightened rules.

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