STRICT LEGAL PROCEDURE BUT LOOSE ACTUAL PROCESS
On Thursday July 30th, The World Security Newspaper interviewed Dr. Long of the DIA. The following is the English translation of that article. (from Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity - see image of original article)
Other provinces also show “fraud indicators”
The case on making fraud adoption documents at the Y Yen & Nam Dinh Centers are being investigated seriously by Nam Dinh Police in order to strictly fine the criminal who make profit on humanitarian assistance of unlucky children.
However, the matter in question is that whilst all international adoption documents were completed following the strict law, wrongdoing still occurred.
Reporter from World Security Newspaper has an interview with Dr. Vu Duc Long – Director of DIA – about this matter.
• STRICT LEGAL PROCEDURE BUT LOOSE ACTUAL PROCESS
Reporter: A child may be adopted by foreigners only when 11 kinds of papers are finished. Is that a so-called strict procedure?
Dr. Long: I confirm that adoption procedure in Vietnam is very stringent, even stricter than many other countries.
If a foreigner wants to adopt a child in Vietnam, he/ she must submit petition to DIA. If the adoptive parents are the citizen of a country that signed bilateral agreement with Vietnam, they will need 8 kinds of papers. If they are from another country that does not have bilateral agreement with Vietnam, more paperwork is required.
If the petition is lawful, DIA will send the adoptive parents a Notice of receiving.
After that, DIA will send a letter to the local SPC to ask for introducing a child. At that time, local DOJ will work with that SPC to complete the referring procedure.
DIA then verifies the application submitted by that province. If that application is appropriate and legal, DIA will send an official letter to local DOJ asking DOJ to collaborate with the SPC to complete the child’s dossier. A set of child’s dossier includes: a Copy of Birth Certificate, Agreement for the child to be adopted, Child-finder’s report Commitment of the SPC’s director that the child was not adopted domestically….with other papers. Local DOJ must have an official note that the child is eligible for foreign adoptions. A dossier is legal only when it consists of all these above-mentioned papers.
After that, DIA sends the approval letter to DOJ. Local DOJ submit that documents to the local People Committee for the Chairman or Vice Chairman to sign on the Decision of Adoptions.
Only when all those documents are completed can a child be adopted by a foreigner.
It normally takes 4-6 weeks to finish this procedure.
Reporter: With that procedure, is there any other cases that the adoptive parents directly contact with the person who has a child or with the SPC?
Dr. Long: No one can do that. All foreigners must work through an agency. This requirement can prevent people from trafficking in babies. There are 69 representative offices of the licensed ASPs in Vietnam.
Reporter: Such paperwork procedure looks quite close, how come Nam Dinh made fraud documents?
Dr. Long: That’s true. Although the legal procedure is strictly regulated, the actual adoptions process shows unreasonable points. In Vietnam, provinces are the places that raise the children as well as introduce them for international adoptions. DIA is responsible for reviewing the documents and certificates done by the provinces. If the documents are legal and appropriate, DIA will sign for approval. In fact, whom the child will be placed for is decided by the province. Wrongdoing may occur at this step because the ASP may make tacit agreement with the province before submitting papers to DIA.
Meanwhile, in China, the MOJ keeps the situation well in their hands. The Chinese MOJ does the matching so they can prevent irregularities by the provinces. I think we should learn this model. Vietnamese MOJ will draft a new International Adoptions Law following Chinese model to propose to National Assembly in 2009.
• REGARDING NAM DINH CASE, DIA USED TO ISSUE A REMINDER BY OFFICIAL LETTER.
Reporter: Among 11 types of documents in a child’s dossier, there are some papers about the child’s origin. How could Nam Dinh create fraudulent child’s origin?
Dr. Long: There are two phases for a child to become an adoptive child since it was born. Phase 1: from “being abandoned” to “being received into the orphanage.” Phase 2: transferring from “orphanage” to “be adopted by a foreigner.”
I mean “strict paperwork procedure” in phase 2 only. It’s hard to verify the documents at phase 1. For example, the mother of a baby can be identified for sure when she was sent to stay at the orphanage since pregnancy by “facilitator.” However, when they did the paperwork at the local PC, the “facilitator” claimed that he/ she found the baby at his/ her front door, or back yard, etc…Then the child turned into an “abandoned child.” We used to find out a case that a husband reported that he and his wife discovered an abandoned child and they altogether took the child to the orphanage. Nevertheless, the wife answered in a separate interview that in the past 28 years, no one in the village has found a baby.
Therefore, the unlawful activity happened at the very first stage of the adoption process. For their own benefit, they documented the child who they bought into a deserted child. The verification at this stage must be done by local authorities. DIA can not control the wrongdoing at this phase. For example, DIA can not deny a Birth Certificate which was certified and sealed by the communal authority.
Reporter: After reviewing Nam Dinh’s cases, did you find any unusual signs?
Dr. Long: Among 338 dossiers from Nam Dinh, we saw 2 (two) fraud indicators.
Firstly, there are quite many abandoned children in this province, more than other neighbor provinces. It raised doubts in our minds that there may have a person who collect children from other provinces to Nam Dinh.
Secondly, both Y Yen & Nam Dinh Centers are managed by district level authorities instead of provincial level. Thus we suspected that the management was likely unprofessional. Moreover, in Truc Ninh SPC, while the director and chief accountant are father and son (Vu Dinh Khan – Vu Van Kiem), the financial transparency is suspicious.
Reporter: When you saw those fraud indicators, did you take any action or just wait and see?
Dr. Long: I myself paid two visits to Nam Dinh, warned them in a meeting participated by multi government entities. Then MOJ sent official letters to many provinces including Nam Dinh to alert them about that.
Reporter: That means, the irregularities happened not only in Nam Dinh but in other provinces, didn’t they?
Dr. Long: Yes, that’s right. Besides Nam Dinh, we warned other provinces such as: Tuyen Quang, Thai Nguyen, Lang Son, Phu Tho, Bac Can, Hoa Binh, Da Nang, Binh Thuan, Bac Ninh, An Giang, Baf Ria – Vung Tau, Hochiminh city… If the supervision & verification was not taken into great consideration, bad consequence might occur.
Reporter: Thank you very much.