FTIA Vietnam program from Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity
Families Through International Adoption (FTIA)
Dec 13th, 2007 by Administrator
How long has your agency been in business? How long specifically in Vietnam?
FTIA was established a child placing agency in 1995. FTIA first began working in Vietnam in 1996. Our first project was a child sponsorship program. FTIA started adoptions from Vietnam in 1998 in partnership with 2 other organizations working in Vietnam. When Vietnam reopened for adoptions in 2006 after several years’ shutdown, FTIA established its own adoption program when it was one of the first U.S. agencies to receive its license from Vietnam.
Who are the facilitators working on behalf of the agency? Would you be willing to share a photo of your facilitators?
FTIA-Vietnam does not work with “facilitators.” All of our in-country staff members are employed directly by FTIA.
Where is your agency’s office or offices in Vietnam?
Our office in Vietnam is located in Hanoi, in the ATS Hotel. Address follows:
Room 325, ATS Hotel
33B Pham Ngu Lao Str.
Hoan Kiem, HaNoi, VietNam
How many Vietnam staff work for your agency in Vietnam in any capacity? Are these full time, part time or volunteer workers?
FTIA-Vietnam employs 2 full-time staff members. Ms. Thuy is our In-Country Coordinator and Ms. Lam is FTIA Vietnam’s Executive Secretary. Our staff in Vietnam communicates regularly with the IAD and provincial authorities as well as childcare centers. The team also helps with making inside Vietnam travel arrangements for families. Families will be assisted by both Ms. Thuy & Ms. Lam throughout their trip.
In addition, FTIA sometimes works with student volunteers (studying English) to help families with site-seeing or translation. These student volunteers are retained on an as-needed basis when we have families in Vietnam. Families typically pay the students a small stipend for their meals.
A photo of Ms. Thuy & Ms. Lam is posted on FTIA’s Meet the Team page: http://www.ftia.org/team.asp
What humanitarian aid programs does your agency run? Are these programs run through a separate organization or managed directly by your agency?
Through Memorandums of Understanding FTIA currently supports several childcare centers on a monthly basis to provide food, childcare givers, medicine, and school tuition & supplies. FTIA also provides support to some of the elderly residents at several care centers that also house elderly individuals. In addition, through Childvision, a NGO created by the principals of FTIA, support is provided for Kids First Village in central Vietnam for older children who are orphans, those who are disabled and for the economically disadvantaged to obtain education and job skills training so that they can be self-sufficient.
What humanitarian projects, if any, did your agency participate in during the shutdown?
During the shutdown, FTIA did continue select humanitarian aid work in Vietnam.
How much money does your agency dedicate to humanitarian aid per year?
Through Memorandums of Understanding we average donations in the amount of $46,000 per year. FTIA provides significant monthly support but this amount varies based on the number of children being cared for and number elderly residents who are housed at the facility each month.
Childvision has donated over $100,000 to Kids First. In November 2007 Childvision raised another $100,000 through its first annual Childvision Gala to donate to Kids First in order to build a dormitory for the village so older children from orphanages not located near the village can benefit from its programs.
What orphanages does your agency support? Can you describe, briefly, the atmosphere of these orphanages?
FTIA is licensed and working in Bac Lieu, Quang Binh & Thanh Hoa where we work with the social sponsoring centers in each province. Like all the centers where we work, the Bac Lieu Social Sponsoring Center houses both children and the elderly. The facility is clean, and the weather is always warm in Bac Lieu. The Quang Binh orphanage houses not only infants and young children, but also elderly and handicapped residents as well as a school for local children. The Thanh Hoa orphanage is similar to the Quang Binh orphanage and houses people of all ages.
What kind of oversight does your agency provide in orphanages to ensure that orphanages are acting ethically and children are being kept safe and healthy?
Our In-Country Coordinator visits the facilities we support on a regular basis to make sure that the conditions are reasonable and to ensure that children are receiving adequate care. Furthermore, FTIA’s Executive Director, Keith Wallace has spent 8+ months over that last 3 years overseeing our operations in Vietnam. While in Vietnam, Mr. Wallace regularly visits the facilities with which we work to check on conditions and meet with orphanage officials. Our program’s senior coordinator also visited 2 of the 3 orphanages with whom we work to visit the children and meet with provincial officials. When possible, we request updated measurements and pictures for the children we have referred to families on an ongoing basis until the families travel to make sure that children are growing properly.
Would you be willing to share a copy of your contract as a public record for interested potential adoptive parents to peruse via our website?
A copy of our FTIA Application & Adoption Services Agreement, as well as the Acknowledgement & Agreement (signed when family accepts a referral) are found on our website, http://www.ftia.org/vietnam/paperwork.asp.
Does your contract contain any gag clause? If so, why?
Has your agency been threatened with or received a NOID since January 2006? If yes, please share relevant details, if possible.
What efforts does your agency employ to encourage ethical adoptions in Vietnam?
FTIA is proud of the Vietnam program we have developed over the past 2 1/2 years. We have made important choices about how our program is structured in order to promote accountability. Firstly, our in-country staff are employees of FTIA—not “facilitators” or “representatives.” They are directly employed by FTIA and paid a salary that is not based on the number of adoptions completed or children referred. Secondly, FTIA employees (US-based) spend a great deal of time in Vietnam. Our Executive Director, Keith Wallace, has spent 8+ months over the past 3 years in Vietnam overseeing FTIA-Vietnam’s operations, getting to know the process and making sure that our program is operating in accordance with FTIA’s mission, U.S. & Vietnamese law, and best practices. Our Vietnam Senior Coordinator also traveled to Vietnam in 2007 to meet with in-country staff, visit orphanages and go through the in-country adoption process alongside a FTIA adopting family. We communicate daily with our in-country staff to make sure that we are up to date and responsive to our adopting families.
The above commitments speak to our willingness to take ownership of our in-country practices. We do not want to be in a position where our agency contracts with facilitators who are largely unaccountable to FTIA. We know all of our team, including our in-country staff, are committed to adopting parents and the children we serve.
How many adoptions have been completed by your agency since the MOU was signed?
How many waiting families, approximately, are currently in your program?
Is there any other information your agency wishes to share about its Vietnam program that might help parents in search of ethical adoptions make a very difficult agency decision?
FTIA and its Vietnam program are focused on our mission of serving children. This Mission guides all of our decisions, in-country practices, and relationships with our clients. Our mission statement follows:
The adoption program of Families Thru International Adoption began as a result of our love and commitment to children. We believe that God calls all of us to care for, love, and nurture children. In a perfect world, every child would remain with his/her birth family in his or her country of origin and have the opportunity to grow up in an atmosphere of happiness, love, and with all physical needs met. Unfortunately, this is not a perfect world and many children are born into very difficult circumstances and end up living in orphanages or welfare homes.
Families Thru International Adoption is committed to providing assistance to children around the world. When remaining or reuniting with the birth family is not possible, we work diligently to find caring families who long to provide permanent, stable, and loving homes for these children. We believe this to be our highest calling. We are also committed to providing extensive support during and after the adoption process for families who adopt internationally. We encourage families who adopt through Families Thru International Adoption to continually educate themselves about their child’s homeland and to provide their child with instruction, training, and a sense of ethnic identity about his or her country of birth. We provide each family who adopts through our agency ongoing guidance and support to accomplish these goals.