On December 1, 2010, Martha Osborne from Rainbow Kids had an update on Vietnam adoption. Will American families soon be able to adopt children from Vietnam again?
The Vietnamese Ambassador to the Netherlands, Huynh Minh Chinh, has signed the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-Country Adoption. Mr Chinh was authorized by the Vietnamese Government to sign the international convention at the head office of the Dutch foreign ministry in the presence of Gerald Limburg, Head of the Treaties Division under the Dutch ministry, and representatives of the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice.
Vietnam’s signing of the Convention is considered to create a consistent legal framework for domestic adoptions and foreign-related adoption for the best interests of children, including Vietnamese children. At the signing ceremony, officials of the Dutch foreign ministry expressed their delight at the fact that Vietnam had joined the important convention.
Ambassador Chinh stressed that the Vietnamese government will do its best to enforce the convention as soon as possible. He also expressed Vietnam’s wish to increase its involvement in the Hague Convention on Private International Law to strengthen legal foundations for the country’s international integration.
The question US families are asking: Will the US sign an adoption agreement with Vietnam? At this time, the U.S. Department of State has not updated its notifications on adoption from Vietnam. It may be assumed that the US will be cautious in entering a new agreement with Vietnam. In the past, the US opened and closed to adoption from Vietnam twice.
The Hague requirements take time to implement, and will be closely monitored before any adoptions are initiated from Vietnam. Families wishing to adopt from Vietnam are cautioned to be patient and fully educate themselves on the history of this program, and understand that Vietnam is currently NOT open to new applications. With Vietnam’s signing of the Hague, the first step in the journey towards a transparent, ethical adoption program has been taken. It remains in the hands of the Vietnamese authorities to implement the necessary organizational and legal system practices that will once again open the door to US adoption from Vietnam.
Faith Executive Director John Meske advices families who are interested in adopting from Vietnam that signing onto the Hague does not make Vietnam a member of Hague. In order to be a member, Vietnam must implement the terms and policies of the Hague. And after that is done Vietnam must file Articles of Ratification with the Hague. Only then will they be a member of the Hague. It took the USA over 14 years to implement and file articles of ratification, after we signed onto the Hague. Hopefully Vietnam will follow in the footsteps of India and China and be able to ratify the Hague soon.
The new inter-country adoption laws of Vietnam that were passed last year will go into effect in January of 2011. This is a requirement to become a member of the Hague.
Even if Vietnam ratifies the Hague, it does not mean that American families can start adopting in Vietnam again. Vietnam has a requirement that countries wishing to participate in inter-country adoption must sign a “bi-lateral” agreement with them. The USA has taken a position that it will not sign bi-lateral agreements since we are now a member of the Hague.
Some Hague countries still require “bi-lateral” agreements (Cambodia, South Africa, Czech Republic, Slovakia) and because the USA will not sign such an agreement it stops us, a Hague country, from adopting in those Hague countries. So the hope is that Vietnam will remove the requirement for a bi-lateral agreement. The Ukraine and Russia are demanding that the USA sign “bi-lateral” agreements. The Ukraine will close to the USA soon if one is not signed. There are rumors out of D.C. that the Department of State intends to sign one with Russia but that just might be rumors only.
So the hope is that adoptions will once again start in Vietnam. But it does not appear to be something that will be happening in the near future.