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Lifelink CEO Accompanies Adoption Delegation to Vietnam


For Immediate Release

Sylvia Dobbins-Daniels



Lifelink CEO Accompanies Adoption Delegation to Vietnam

BENSENVILLE, IL, June 23 — Lifelink CEO and President Rev. Timothy C. Rhodes is participating in a prestigious delegation of child protection advocates and international adoption experts traveling to Vietnam to advocate new international adoption agreements for Vietnam. 

The visit is a collaborative effort that seeks both to maintain current intercountry adoption services and to strengthen protections for children from unethical practices. 

Rev. Rhodes will join the delegation in urging the Vietnamese government to sign a new adoption agreement with the U.S. before September 1, 2008 and to ratify the Hague Convention.

The visit comes at a sensitive time in adoption relations between the U.S. and Vietnam.  The American embassy has reported finding many cases in which mostly poor birth parents have been paid or deceived by unscrupulous adoption providers into placing their child in an orphanage.  While relations between the two governments are very strong, the adoption situation remains a sticking point.

Rev. Rhodes and the delegation will have formal meetings at the U.S. embassy and with the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice.

“I am honored to join the Joint Council’s mission to Vietnam.  Our greatest interest is the safety and care of orphaned and vulnerable children.  As an agency that builds families we are interested in developing and maintaining the highest ethical standards for adoption,” Rev. Rhodes said. 

“As more countries, including, one hopes, Vietnam, ratify the Hague Convention, potential parents will find the path to expanding their families through international adoption smoothed.”

According to the U.S. State Department, more than 70 countries have adopted the Hague Convention to ensure that international adoptions are in the best interests of children and to prevent the exploitation, sale, abduction or trafficking of children under cover of bogus adoptions. 

The U.S. signed the Hague Convention on December 12, 2007.  It went into force here on April 1, 2008. 

The Joint Council on International Children’s Services, one of the oldest and largest child welfare organizations in the U.S., organized the visit.  The Joint Council is a leading voice on intercountry children’s services, advocating on behalf of children in need of permanent, safe and loving families. 

Rev. Rhodes joins: Tom DiFilipo, of the Joint Council; Gary Gamer, of Holt International; John Meske of Faith International; Paul Singer, of the Global Orphan Care Initiative and the Joint Council Board of Directors; and Linh Song, of Ethica.

Lifelink International Adoption is accredited by both the State Department and by the Council on Accreditation.   Since 1996, Lifelink has placed 24 Vietnamese children in the United States.  It has 14 families currently hoping to adopt from Vietnam.

Lifelink arranges international adoptions in Florida, Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin.   For more information, please visit: http://www.lifelinkadoption.org/.           

Lifelink International Adoption is a program of Lifelink, one of Illinois’ oldest not-for-profit human service providers with a holistic range of prevention and service programs for clients from infancy to the later stages of life.  Lifelink provides multigenerational programs to older adults, children and families, with an extended global reach with our well-established international adoption program.


Founded in 1893, Lifelink is a not-for-profit human service organization related to the United Church of Christ. Lifelink serves older adults, children and families through a variety of quality programs including affordable housing for older adults and physically challenged adults, housing management services, home care, Head Start, foster care, international adoption, Latino family services and ministries for at-risk youths at its Hoyleton offices in southern Illinois.  Lifelink is fully accredited by the national Council on Accreditation. COA accreditation attests that an organization meets the highest national standards of best practice and is delivering the best quality services to the communities it serves.


2008 Jun 23