HANOI (AP) – Vietnam and the United States will soon resume limited inter-country adoptions, both nations said Friday, six years after a ban was imposed because of allegations of widespread baby-selling and children offered without the consent of their birth parents.
Under the new agreement, Americans will be able to adopt children with special needs and those over five years of age.
Adoptions will resume “soon” once the Vietnam government announces which US-based adoption service providers are authorised to represent American parents, the US Embassy said in an advisory to journalists announcing a media event to discuss inter-country adoptions.
Nguyen Van Binh, director of the adoption agency at the Ministry of Justice, said two US agencies would be given licences next week to operate in Vietnam.
Prior to the ban in 2008, Vietnam was a popular destination for Americans wanting to adopt children.
But the popularity led to concerns within the US Embassy that the demand had led to a poorly regulated industry supplying young, healthy babies to prospective parents prepared to pay significant sums of money, raising ethical questions.
In 2009, a UN-commissioned report on adoptions in Vietnam confirmed those allegations. It said cash payments by adoption agencies to orphanages led them to seek out children for adoption, often without proper checks into their background or their family circumstances.
Some American senators and international adoption lobby groups have been urging Vietnam to pass stronger laws and better monitor the process so that adoptions could resume.