Joint Council had the great honor of hosting a eight member delegation of Vietnamese officials and legal experts from March 24th through April 2nd, 2009. The delegation was lead by Vietnam’s Vice Minister of Justice and was made up of key individuals with direct influence over international adoption and child welfare. The intention of the trip was to provide a forum for discussion on the Hague Convention and an interim adoption agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam. Joint Council and the delegation sought educational opportunities regarding U.S. child welfare and child protection systems. Demonstrating both the need and the success of intercountry adoption through meetings with adoptive families was also a key element of the trip.
During the ten day trip the delegation received extensive training regarding the Hague, conducted key meetings with Senators, Congressmen, the U.S. Dept of State, adoptive families and other key stakeholders. Working sessions on the Hague were provided by various stakeholders including Joint Council, the U.S. Dept of State, The Dept of Health and Human Services, and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption. Following these sessions, the delegation expressed concerns regarding the complexities of the Hague and reiterated their interest in receiving continued technical assistance.
The delegation met with Senator Landrieu, Congressman Delahunt and staff from Sen. Durbin, Sen. Feingold, Sen. Kerry, Sen. Menendez and Congressman Boozman’s offices. During the meeting with Congressman Delahunt Dr. Tung, Vice Minister of Justice, remarked that while he felt there were two “camps”, those who are pro-dialog with Vietnam and those who are against it, he expressed his deep appreciation of cooperation and information provided during his meetings. The Vice Minister concluded his remarks with an invitation to the U.S. Department of State and other experts to Vietnam in May for further discussion regarding an interim agreement and the Hague.
Overall, the delegations trip was a resounding success and a first step to any agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam regarding intercountry adoptions and the subsequent implementation of the Hague Convention by Vietnam. Joint Council urges all Members of Congress to support the timely development and implementation of an interim adoption agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam and to urge the Dept of State to accept Vietnam’s invitation to meet in Hanoi next month.
For photos of the delegation and the events held, check out Joint Council’s page on facebook