When Will Vietnam Ever Open to Adoption?
Nicole Skellenger, J.D.
When will Vietnam finally re-open for international adoption? As of February 2012, the answer to this question is “not yet.”
The United States had been waiting for Vietnam to become a party to the Hague Convention
in order to hopefully resume adoptions. Vietnam finally became a party to the Convention on February 1, 2012; however, the United States does not yet want to start processing adoptions from the country. The U.S has found that as of February 2012 Vietnam is not yet complaint with Hague requirements. In order for adoptions to happen between Vietnam and the US, not only does Vietnam need to be a party to the Hague Convention, but the US also must approve.
I sincerely hope that whatever needs to happen for Vietnam
to become compliant happens soon, so that adoptions can start back up. The children that are left behind because of this decision are still in desperate need of homes. According to UNICEF, approximately one third of all children in the country (7 million children) are considered poor and that one third of children under 5 years of age have stunted growth because of chronic malnutrition. This is a crisis.
The longer this process takes, the older these children will get. Children will age out of their orphanages and become less desirable for adoption because they are older
. This is a sad fact, especially because there are many families waiting to adopt from Vietnam. Over the last decade, thousands of families have adopted a child or children from Vietnam. Some of these families hope to bring home a sibling for their Vietnamese child or children with a similar background.
These families have been waiting patiently to bring children home from the same country as their other children, without luck. Even when these families reach out to other Asian countries to adopt, they are met with many road blocks, as adopting from Asian countries has become increasingly difficult. To adopt a healthy child from China
, it is estimated that parents will wait approximately 5-6 years to bring a child home.
I hope that adoptions from Asian countries become more efficient while maintaining all of the standards set by Hague. However, it remains unclear if Vietnam will open soon as a Hague Complaint country or if it will open ever. The Country is now in a similar position to Guatemala, in that both countries are considered parties to the Hague Convention
and therefore the Hague requirements must be met, but the US has not found either country’s implementation of the Hague Convention to be adequate.
MLJ is fortunate to have several successful country programs that may appeal families that have been waiting for Vietnam to re-open. Our newest pilot program in Samoa
is an alternative for those interested in adopting an Asian child, as the children from Samoa are of Polynesian decent, with a culture that is influenced by Asia. It is said that the first migrants to Samoa were people from Southeast Asian. If families are seeking a country that has the stability of a Hague Complaint country
without the extensive wait of countries like China, a family may also consider Bulgaria
, where the wait is significantly shorter.
Many of our families have adopted from Vietnam and hold a deep connection to the Country and culture. We are constantly monitoring the status of adoptions from Vietnam in hopes that the children in need of homes will find them soon.
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