Americans adopt more children from foreign countries every year than all other countries in the world combined. The United States strongly supports international adoption as an option for children who need a family. The Department’s Office of Children's Issues works hard to support and assist American citizens interested in foreign adoptions.
Unfortunately, some international adoptions from Vietnam are not straightforward. Our colleagues on the ground in Vietnam have found serious irregularities, including forged or altered documentation, mothers being paid, coerced or tricked into releasing their children, and children offered for adoption without the knowledge or consent of their birth parents. (See Warning Concerning Adoptions in Vietnam) American parents shouldn’t have to question whether the child they’ve adopted and brought into their family was taken from unwitting birth mothers. And no parents should be coerced or tricked into relinquishing their children. Vietnam needs to strengthen procedures to protect children and parents to advance our common goal of protecting children, their birth parents, and adopting parents from exploitation.
International adoptions from Vietnam are governed by a Memorandum of Agreement, but the agreement expires on September 1. And last week, the Government of Vietnam announced it will not renew this agreement. The United States could consider drafting a new agreement. However, until Vietnam puts into place safeguards and procedures to protect babies and families involved in international adoptions, we will be unable to sign a new agreement .
The United States urges Vietnam to create an adoption system that is transparent and protects the children and parents involved. There currently is an adoption system that works, one the United States joined on April 1. (See The Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption). Over 70 countries are members. If Vietnam joined the Hague Convention, the United States and Vietnam could ensure that adoptions take place in the best interests of children, free of abduction, sale, trafficking, or other abuses.