I am sure that everyone in the adoption world has heard this story. According to the U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, Vietnam is shutting down its adoption program. The Associated Press broke the story on it. They interviewed both Holt International Adoption Services and Families Through International Adoption. Both of these agencies can't be taken with any kind of creditability. Families Through International Adoption got caught up in the Masha Allen disaster. Holt International was the agency that placed four Korean children who died recently in the news.
All of this based on a nine page report by the U. S. Embassy. According to their report, the irregularities abound. They are pretty scary. It is profit motivated.
One quote from the report:
"According to DIA, orphanages are required to refer one child for foreign adoption for every x dollars donated by the ASP. Thus, if the ASP funds a $10,000 project and the per-child donation is set at $1000 per child, then the orphanage would be required to refer 10 children for intercountry adoption to the ASP. Should the orphanage not have 10 children who are qualified for intercountry adoption, then, according to DIA, the orphanage director is required to find the additional children to complete his side of the agreement. Two orphanage directors have confirmed to consular officers that they are feeling pressure to find more children for their orphanage to "compensate" ASPs for their donations."
An ASP is an adoption service provider aka an adoption agency like Holt International or Families Through Internatonal Adoption. I am not saying that these folks do this but many adoption agencies state on their websites that they contribute to these types of orphanages all over the world. They ask for donations for these orphanages on their websites as well.
Here is an example:
Faith International Adoptions states on their website that they have helped place water purifying systems in orphanages around Vietnam. Are they expecting children in return for this generous contribution? After this report, one has to wonder. Their orphanage that they support is Go Vap Orphanage. Again I am not saying that they are in fact doing this. So many of these agencies have orphanages that they support. I hope that they do in fact good works for them for the children for the children's sake. Not the sake of the adoption service provider.
Here is another perturbing issue is that these orphanages do not encourage domestic adoption because they don't get additional funds from it. They have had Vietnamese citizens interested in adoption.
Here is the excerpt from the report:
"Orphanage directors in two provinces have confirmed to the Embassy that while they receive applications from families interested in domestic adoption, they do not process these applications. They have said that the reason these applications are not processed is that their orphanage will receive a donation from an ASP if the baby is adopted internationally, but not if the child is adopted domestically. One orphanage director stated that he would need "permission" from the ASP funding his orphanage in order to release a child for domestic adoption, noting that the monthly support payments the ASP made for the children gave the ASP the "authority" to decide the child's future."
Again alarming. I wonder if this will slow the adoption industry as a whole. I doubt it. They will just find another country to adopt from or encourage laws here in the United States that perpetuate unethical practices.
Earlier today the Associated Press put out this report. Vietnamese officials are upset over the report. Instead of closing adoptions to Americans in September, they are closing them at the beginning of July 2008.
There have been rumors of issues with Vietnam for months now. All of the Vietnam bloggers have been discussing it. Adoption Integrity, Adoption Ethics and Issues, and many others. Several of my bloggin buddies have been writing as well. I also know that Ethica was also involved in the process in Vietnam to ensure the identity and ethics in adoption.
All this shortly on the heels of Guatemala. Ahh what are prospective adopters going to do now. Is attaining a child so important that we lose sight of ethics in adoption?