Adoptions from the Heart Vietnam program from Voices for Vietnam Integrity

Date: 2007-11-30

Adoptions From The Heart
Nov 30th, 2007 by Administrator

How long has your agency been in business? How long specifically in Vietnam?
We were founded in 1985 as a domestic agency we opened our first international program in 1986. We began Vietnam adoptions in 1995 until the shut down. After Vietnam reopened we obtained our Vietnam license to work in 2006.

Who are the facilitators working on behalf of the agency? Would you be willing to share a photo of your facilitators?
Our Agency Representative is Mr. Nguyen Huy Thanh Binh. Mr. Binh is a full time staff person and is not a contracted facilitator. Mr. Binh had never worked in adoptions before agreeing to work with our agency, but he is very smart, educated, and learned the process very quickly. We are 100% satisfied with his work and can completely vouch for his honesty and integrity.
[see photo at link]

How long have each of your facilitators worked in Vietnam adoptions and in what capacity? What is their experience?
This is a new in-country team for AFTH. Mr. Binh began working with us in May 2007, and became our official Representative in October 2007.

Where is your agency’s office or offices in Vietnam?
Our office is located at the Somerset HCMC 8A Nguyen Binh Khiem St. Rm 102, HCMC District 1

How many Vietnam staff work for your agency in Vietnam in any capacity? Are these full time, part time or volunteer workers?
Three full time staff:

Mr. Binh – AFTH Representative
Mr. Bau – Assistant HCMC/ Binh Duong
Ms. Phuc An – Secretary HCMC
A photo of all 3 of our staff can be found on our website.

What humanitarian aid programs does your agency run? Are these programs run through a separate organization or managed directly by your agency?

Our humanitarian programs are overseen and operated directly by our office in Vietnam.

2006/07 year:

We currently have commitments with 3 orphanages in Ho Chi Minh City, to provide every day care and support to children living in the orphanages. We also have a commitment with an orphanage in Binh Duong Province to provide care, food and support for the children.

In addition to the commitments we have completed building projects with several orphanages in HCMC.

GO Vap – we have renovated a room to be used as an emergency room, or physicians room for the children.
Thi Nghe – We renovated a room, opening up a wall to connect it to the infant room. Supplying a hot water tank and other misc supplies to turn it into a kitchen area where workers can mix formula, and prepare food for infants living in the orphanage.
Tu Duc Teenagers Village – Supplied new tables and chairs to cafeteria where staff, and children eat. Renovate crumbling hallways and rooms.
We have also donated funds to Scholarship programs within the Tam Binh Orphanage.
What humanitarian projects, if any, did your agency participate in during the shutdown?

During the shut down we handed out dolls, to children at 2 orphanages in HCMC, replaced bathrooms in Tam Binh Orphanage in HCMC, and Go Vap orphanage in HCMC. Renovated hallways to replace crumbling tiles, fixed leaking ceilings, leveled driveways making it easier to load handicap children into cars, and vans and other renovations projects at Go Vap orphanage in HCMC.

How much money does your agency dedicate to humanitarian aid per year?

2006/2007 fiscal year -$125,800

What orphanages does your agency support? Can you describe, briefly, the atmosphere of these orphanages?

Thi Nghe (Phu Muy orphanage) – center for orphans & handicap children –
HCMC – mostly children with disabilities, some healthy infants and toddlers – clean, high ratio or caregivers to children
Thu Duc Teenagers Village – HCMC – beautiful grounds, children of all ages, high ratio of care givers to children.
Tam Binh – HCMC – very large, busy orphanage. Healthy Infants and toddlers as well as some special needs children. Separate building for children with HIV
Go Vap – HCMC – large, busy city orphanage. Many handicap children, toddlers, and infants. Moderate ratio of care-givers to children.
Thuan An Orphanage – Binh Duong Province – large orphanage, many older children and toddlers.

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?

We visit all the orphanages that we work with regularly – we sign contracts directly with contractors to perform the renovations in orphanages and oversee that the project is completed from beginning to end.

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?

Our contracts are currently available for download when families request information from our website: http://www.afth.org/looking_to_adopt/request_info.php

Does your contract contain any gag clause? If so, why?

No, we do not.

Has your agency been threatened with or received a NOID since January 2006? If yes, please share relevant details, if possible.

No, we have never received a NOID

What efforts does your agency employ to encourage ethical adoptions in Vietnam?

We have recently revamped our program, hiring a new in-country team. We openly share information on the situation in Vietnam. We make frequent trips to Vietnam to oversee the office, visit orphanages and we will be sharing all orphanage commitments with the US Embassy in Hanoi and with other agencies working within Vietnam in order to try to keep business practices more transparent even across agencies. We are members of JCICS, and adhere to their standards of international adoption. We have joined other agencies and JCICS in putting together a guideline for Best Standards of Practice for Ethical Vietnam Adoptions that we will sign and adhere to by the end of 2007.

How many adoptions have been completed by your agency since the MOU was signed?

2006 – 25
2007 - 36

How many waiting families, approximately, are currently in your program?

Due to the major restructuring of our program we have been unable to accept new referrals since February 2007 – Our last families under our old facilitator completed their adoption in July 2007.

We were re-licensed to work in October 2007- due to the virtual shut down of our program until recently our waiting list is long. Families are beginning to process under the new Vietnamese guidelines and we hope to have referrals for families by December or at the latest, the beginning of 2008.

We have stopped accepting families into our Vietnam program until we can move more families through the process and we are also waiting to see what happens with the MOU between Vietnam and the US before we will reopen our program to new families. Families interested in our Vietnam program should check our website for any changes to our program.

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