Adoption agreement between Vietnam and U.S. falls apart

The Associated Press, The International Herald Tribune

Monday, September 1, 2008

A child-adoption agreement between Vietnam and the United States expired Monday after the two countries were unable to resolve their disagreements over fraud and corruption, disappointing hundreds of prospective parents who will have to seek adoptable children elsewhere.

Both Vietnam and the United States said that they would try to iron out their differences, but said that for now the program is suspended indefinitely.

Hanoi will continue processing adoptions for parents who had already been matched with orphans before the pact expired. But a majority of the 1,700 families who had cases pending will be disappointed, said Vu Duc Long, the lead Vietnamese official at the talks. Long said he was still tallying the exact number and would release it later this week.

Chandra Wilmsmeyer of Memphis, Tennessee, is one of the hundreds of prospective parents whose cases were canceled Monday. She was disappointed that the two sides were unable to resolve their differences without suspending adoptions.

"Hopefully they'll be able to work out a new system quickly," she said. "Otherwise, there are legitimate orphans who are going to be in orphanages longer than they need to be."

Wilmsmeyer and her husband will now try to adopt in Russia.

Representatives of U.S. adoption agencies agreed that Vietnam's adoption program had problems, but said that the vast majority of adoptions were legitimate. They had hoped that U.S. officials would allow valid adoptions to proceed while working with Vietnam to eliminate abuses.

"The U.S. approach has been to blame Vietnam and let the system fail," said Tom Atwood, president and chief executive of the National Council for Adoption in Washington. "It is tragic for these vulnerable children that the U.S. government has not been able to manage this situation in a way that allows legitimate adoptions to proceed."

It remains unclear how long it might take for the differences between Vietnam and the United States to be ironed out.

"The U.S. has consistently been supportive of international adoption around the world," said a U.S. Embassy staffer who declined to be identified, citing department policy. "We will continue to work with the government of Vietnam to pursue the possibility of resuming adoptions."

But the United States will only agree to resume the program if it protects the interests of orphans, their birth parents and adoptive parents, she said.

One major issue is the fact that Vietnam has not signed the Hague convention on international adoptions, which includes safeguards aimed at preventing fraud and corruption, she said.

Long has sent a proposal to the Vietnamese legislative National Assembly recommending that the country join the convention.

Vietnam announced that it would stop accepting new adoption applications from the United States in April, after the U.S. government released a report that said Vietnam's adoption system was riddled with corruption, fraud and baby-selling.

The U.S.-Vietnamese adoption program also was shut down in 2003 after the United States raised similar concerns about corruption.

The program resumed in 2006 after the two countries reached an agreement intended to ensure that adoptions adhered to certain rules. But the United States says Vietnam has been unable to enforce the terms of that deal, largely because its central adoption authority lacks sufficient power to control orphanage directors.

http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/01/america/adopt.php

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Does Atwood (et al) care about kidnapping and abductions?

I cannot help but read with disgust:

Representatives of U.S. adoption agencies agreed that Vietnam's adoption program had problems, but said that the vast majority of adoptions were legitimate. They had hoped that U.S. officials would allow valid adoptions to proceed while working with Vietnam to eliminate abuses.

"The U.S. approach has been to blame Vietnam and let the system fail," said Tom Atwood, president and chief executive of the National Council for Adoption in Washington. "It is tragic for these vulnerable children that the U.S. government has not been able to manage this situation in a way that allows legitimate adoptions to proceed."

"Legitimate", and "the vast majority" meaning (what?) MOST of these so-called orphans in care have NOT been abducted/kidnapped from parents?

I'm curious, do American PAP's and folks like Atwood read the news at all, in terms what's being done to keep the supply of children for the demand PAP's are making these days?  Does the term "child trafficking" mean anything to those seeking adoption agencies that work WITH foreign orphanages?

For instance, what do PAP's, and workers for the adoption industry think about the following:

"Child rights, not profit, must be at the centre of all adoptions in Nepal," says the study by UNICEF and 'Terre des Hommes' (TDH), an international NGO. "An industry has grown up around adoption in which profit rather than the best interests of the child takes centre stage," said UNICEF Nepal Representative Gillian Mellsop.

Only four out of every 100 children adopted in Nepal are adopted by a Nepali family and many children put up for adoption are not orphaned but are separated from their families. Of the some 15,000 children in orphanages or children's homes, a significant number are the result of fraud, coercion or malpractice, according to the 62-page report.

The report's main recommendation is the cessation of inter-country adoption until safeguards are in place protecting the rights of children in orphanages and significantly raising their standard of care. 

"The vast majority of children in centres don't need to be there," said Joseph Aguettant, Tdh Country Representative in Nepal. "They have family. The first priority, therefore, should be to reunite 80 per cent of the children in institutions with their families, not to re-open inter-country adoption."  [From:  "Child abuses on rise in Napal due to international adoption", http://poundpuplegacy.org/node/21252]

Please tell me, are PAP's more concerned about getting "their" children while they are still young, or do they truly care about the conditions orphanages offer children?   Either way, I can't help but think adoption has become part of the problem, not the solution when it comes to eliminating/preventing child abuse.

Just a thought...

A friend of mine with two adult adopted and two adult bio children, just this past week had an exchange student
in her home for two weeks.  This girl was the rudest child and caused such feelings of disgust in this family that, I had
to compare it to adoption. 
Taking someone new, from another country, into your home and working around her
and not with her was a hardship... it was only for two weeks.  I sense that a lot of PAP's work around their new children instead of working with them and there lies the problem.
 Expecting things to work with the least amount of effort will not make any situation a happy one.  This girl was old enough to know how to behave in another country in a stranger's home, she just chose not to... or did she?  In further noticing, it was plain to see that she came as an only child who was spoiled rotten by doting parents and grandparents. 
Couldn't it be that some adoptive children come into adoptive homes from HAPPY homes, only to find that this new home does not immediately dote on the child?  How does that child feel?  Cheated!  How does the child react?  Maybe not in
the way the adoptive parents think; maybe they are just angry for what was taken away from them.
New, PAP's should be helped with more information and backing from the agency,  but mostly they are just left to deal with it the best they can; which in most cases makes for resentment if the child is not "perfect."
PAP's who have bio children should take training in how the whole family is changed by adoption: the baby is no longer
the baby; the car is fuller; the time change is wearing, etc. 
Yes, Kerry, I believe adoption is a big factor in child abuse.

"I can be changed by what happens to me, I refuse to be reduced by it." M.A.
One Step Up From Bottom
Teddy

Pound Pup Legacy