Can I Adopt from Vietnam?


Vietnam AdoptionThe short answer to the question, “Can I adopt from Vietnam?” is, “Not yet, but maybe soon.” Vietnam has been closed for international adoption by US citizen parents since 2008. However, recently the US Department of State has issued a notice indicating that Vietnam’s government is accepting applications from Hague Accredited Adoption Service Providers to be authorized by Vietnam to provide adoption services. Vietnam appears to be proposing a pilot program with the US for the adoption of children with special needs, children over 5 years old and adoption of sibling groups of two or more children.

It is important to note that while the US State Department has indicated that Vietnam is accepting applications from US adoption agencies, this does not necessarily mean that adoptions from Vietnam will be open to US citizens looking to adopt. Before Vietnam can open to international adoption for US citizen parents, two important things must happen. Vietnam will need to select and authorize the adoption agencies that they wish to work with and the US must find Vietnam to be a “US Hague Partner.”

The US Department of State has said that in order to be authorized in providing adoption services from Vietnam, the agency must meet certain criteria. While some of the criteria seem to be directly from Vietnam’s government, it is unclear if some of the requirements are being set forth by the US Department of State. The Government of Vietnam has stated to the US that they will only allow for two Hague Accredited Adoption Service Providers to provide services for the adoption of Vietnamese children by US citizen parents. The deadline for submission of Adoption Service Provider applications is September 22, 2013. The Vietnamese government has not given a date for when they will decide on which two agencies they would like to work with.

Not only will the government of Vietnam need to act, but the US government will also need to act by acknowledging and accepting Vietnam as a ”US Hague Partner,” before adoptions between the two countries can resume. There is a difference between a country being a Hague Convention Country (which Vietnam is) and a country being a “US Hague Partner” (which Vietnam is not). Even if a country is a Hague Convention Country, meaning that country is a party to the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-Operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption, it may not be a “US Hague Partner.” If the country is not a “US Hague Partner,” it means that they may be a party to the Convention and other countries may find that they are Hague compliant and allow for adoptions to happen between the two countries. For instance, Vietnam is a Hague Convention Country and even though the US does not consider them “US Hague Partner,” adoptions are happening where Irish parents are adopting Vietnamese children through international adoption. As of August 2013, Cambodia, Cape Verde, Fiji, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Montenegro, Rwanda, Senegal and Vietnam are considered Hague Convention Countries, but none are “US Hague Partners.”

While Vietnam is initiating the re-opening of adoptions to the US, the US must also approve. It appears that this approval will still take some time, possibly two years or more. In September 2012, the Prime Minister of Vietnam approved a three year national project for the implementation of the Hague Convention. Seemingly, if this project is completed in the estimated time frame, the soonest that Vietnam would open would be in 2015. After the completion of the Hague project within Vietnam, the US would also re-evaluate the processes and procedures which would take some time.

It is looking more and more likely that adoptions will resume between Vietnam and the United States, eventually. While it is unlikely (though not impossible) that adoptions from Vietnam will start within the next two years, there is hope that the country will open to US citizen parents in the foreseeable future.

Photo Credit: ILO In Aisa And The Pacific

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MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.