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Vietnamese adoptions under way 'not illegal'


Vietnamese adoptions under way 'not illegal'

By Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer
Friday July 28 2006

THE adoption agency which now organises all adoptions between Ireland and Vietnam disclosed yesterday they have no evidence that any recent adoptions were unethical or illegal.

This is despite secretely recorded information obtained by the Irish Independent in which it was admitted there was forgery and corruption.

The agency, Helping Hands, said it had "no evidence of children being unwillingly removed from their parents, as alleged".

The agency's website adds: "The orphanages which adoptive parents have visited are, as far as anyone can ascertain, genuine and the children are in dire need of secure family placement."

However the Irish Independent recently secretly recorded former facilitator Ms My Linh Soland, admitting birth certificates were forged and all adoptions depended on Vietnamese government officials receiving corrupt payments.

Thinking she was speaking to a prospective business partner, Ms Soland told how children were not available for adoption unless the money was paid. She also told how money paid by Irish parents and meant for humanitarian aid was pocketed by Vietnamese officials as part of the corruption.

Ms Soland said the corruption went to the highest levels of the Vietnamese Government. She named individuals but the Irish Independent was unable to name them for legal reasons.

Babies were also swapped at the last moment, claimed parents.

- Ann McElhinney and Phelim McAleer

2006 Jul 28