Vietnam: Adoptions From Vietnam

7/28/2010

A New Notice from the Department of State: Intercountry adoption is not possible from Vietnam at this time. Adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents should not seek or accept new (or potential) adoption referrals from Vietnam until an announcement is posted that the United States Citizenship and Information Service (USCIS) is again processing new I-600 or I-800 petitions for adoption in Vietnam. No such announcement is expected in the near future.

In June 2010, the Vietnamese legislature passed a new adoption law scheduled to take effect January 2011. Vietnamese officials are now drafting regulations and procedures to implement this new law and achieve Vietnam’s stated goal of acceding to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention). Vietnamese law requires that in order for adoptions to resume from Vietnam, either a new bilateral agreement must be in place between the United States and Vietnam, or Vietnam must accede to the Convention.

The United States recognizes these initiatives as significant developments in the renewed commitment by the Government of Vietnam to strengthen its child welfare system and the integrity of its domestic and international adoption process. Nevertheless, adoption service providers and prospective adoptive parents are cautioned that important steps must still be taken before Vietnam completes this reform process and before intercountry adoptions between the United States and Vietnam can resume.

Most importantly, the Government of Vietnam must draft, finalize, and promulgate regulations and standards that, among other things, will establish procedures to:

  • Accredit and regulate U.S. adoption service providers to perform adoption-related work in Vietnam;
  • Establish adoption fees and procedures for monitoring their collection;
  • Clarify procedures for reporting and reviewing donations that may be made to orphanage and child welfare organizations by organizations or individuals engaged in intercountry adoption to ensure that such donations do not influence placements, procedures, or approvals;
  • Evaluate the suitability of prospective adoptive parents; and
  • Ensure that all required efforts for domestic placement have been fully met before a child is considered for intercountry adoption.

Under U.S. law, if/when Vietnam becomes a party to the Convention, the United States Central Authority (USCA) must be able to certify that procedures leading to the adoption of a child in Vietnam would conform to the standards established by the Convention and the U.S. Intercountry Adoption Act (IAA). The USCA may not determine whether such a certification can be made until Vietnam has completed the accession process. For these reasons, prospective adoptive parents are warned not to enter into any agreement, implied or stated, regarding the prospective adoption of a child in Vietnam until such a time as the USCA determines that Vietnam’s process complies with the Convention and IAA, and USCIS has announced that I-800 petitions for Vietnamese children are being accepted for processing.

The USCA cautions adoption service providers that they should not offer or appear to offer adoption services in Vietnam (other than for those transition cases still being processed under the former regulations) until specific adoption service providers have been accredited or otherwise approved by the Government of Vietnam. In addition, under applicable U.S. regulations, accredited or approved adoption service providers may only provide services in a Convention country if the USCA has determined that the Convention country is compliant with Convention standards. That determination cannot be made in relation to Vietnam until after its accession to the Convention.

The United States welcomes Vietnam’s strong efforts to create a child welfare system and an intercountry adoption process that will meet its obligations under the Convention. Although the Government of Vietnam has proposed a timeline for completing the regulations and making a formal request to be recognized as a Convention partner, it is not possible to estimate when adoptions between the United States and Vietnam may resume.

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