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Une enquête exclusive révèle comment des fonctionnaires du Département d'État (USA) ont découvert la corruption systémique dans le système d'adoption vietnamien - et comment ils ont lutté pour faire quelque chose.

Anatomy of an Adoption Crisis - By E_J_ GRAFF icles_2010_09_07_anatomy_of_an_adoption_crisis_page=full.jpgAnatomy of an Adoption Crisis.

An exclusive investigation uncovers how State Department officials uncovered systemic corruption in the Vietnamese adoption system -- and how they struggled to do something about it.

It seemed like a nightmare right out of Kafka. In late 2007 and early 2008, Americans with their adopted babies in arms, or pictures of babies to come, were being stonewalled by faceless U.S. bureaucrats. The U.S. government refused to issue visas that would allow those babies to come home from Vietnam -- and wouldn't explain why.

Thirteen families, supported by dozens of other parents-to-be, desperately did what they could to attract publicity, calling in the New York Times, ABC News, and members of Congress. They launched campaigns on the web, sent petitions to friends and neighbors, and barraged the relevant offices with pleas for help. And still, for months, the State Department and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) refused to issue their babies the requisite visas -- for reasons that seemed irrelevant. One couple from Queens, New York, said they were told that the baby they had legally adopted in Vietnam would not be able to come home with them for what they called a "bewilderingly minute point": A Tam Ky Orphanage guard in Vietnam's Quang Nam province had failed to note the child's arrival in his logbook.

But inside their fog of secrecy, the faceless bureaucrats were also agonizing about the well-being of the children and their families. Based on hundreds of pages of documents received via Freedom of Information Act requests, this article gives a never-before-seen glimpse at how the State Department discovered what it believed to be a gray market in "adoptable" babies and debated what to do about it, trying each of its inadequate tools in turn.

According to these internal documents, the State Department was confident it had discovered systemic nationwide corruption in Vietnam -- a network of adoption agency representatives, village officials, orphanage directors, nurses, hospital administrators, police officers, and government officials who were profiting by paying for, defrauding, coercing, or even simply stealing Vietnamese children from their families to sell them to unsuspecting Americans. And yet, as these documents reveal, U.S. officials in Hanoi did not have the right tools to shut down the infant peddlers while allowing the truly needed adoptions to continue. Understanding how little the State Department and USCIS could do, despite how hard they tried, helps reveal what these U.S. government agencies need to respond more effectively in the current adoption hot spots, Nepal and Ethiopia -- and in whatever country might be struck by adoption profiteering next.

Read more


- Adoption agencies considered U.S. Embassy too active in fighting corruption in Vietnam

This week, E.J. Graff published a long article called Anatomy of an Adoption Crises, in which she describes the shut down of adoptions from Vietnam in 2008. The article is based upon the release of several government documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. I am not going to rehash the story as told by E.J. Graff, instead I'd like to focus on the players in this drama.

The first released documents is dated July 2007 and details several visits made by members of the US. Embassy in Hanoi, to several orphanages in Vietnam. Unfortunately the document doesn't provide any detail into the findings of the investigations, since most of it is redacted in accordance with the Privacy Act of 1974.

Source : Pound Pup Legacy.


- Vietnam. Rapport d'évaluation du SSI sur l'adoption internationale et domestique.

Une évaluation a été effectuée par Hervé Boéchat, Nigel Cantwell et Mia Dambach du Service Social International (SSI).  Novembre 2009.


Une réglementation disparate, inégale rend l'adoption transcontinentale vulnérable à la fraude. Nous devons combler les lacunes pour mettre fin au trafic de la misère humaine.

Children suspected of being involved in an illicit adoption scheme.jpgAdopting new standards on adoption.

Patchy regulation makes inter-country adoption vulnerable to fraud. We must close loopholes to end a traffic in human misery.



Two years ago this month, the US and Vietnam let lapse the three-year bilateral agreement that allowed Americans to adopt Vietnamese children. The US embassy in Hanoi had concluded that "the overwhelming majority" of infant adoptions from Vietnam involved fraud: at best, falsified official documents; and at worst, defrauded, coerced or paid-off birth families who had not consented to sending their children abroad for adoption. All told, 2,200 Vietnamese-born children were adopted to the US during that period, according to the state department; approximately another 2,000 were adopted to France, 950 to Italy, 475 to Ireland, and 250 to Sweden. 


The 2008 US-Vietnam closure was one in a long, stuttering series of crises in international adoption. In an upcoming article "Anatomy of an Adoption Crisis" in Foreign Policy Online, I analyse hundreds of pages of often shocking internal US state department documents (received under Freedom of Information Act requests) discussing that adoption crisis. These documents show how determined the US embassy in Hanoi was to block fraudulent or corrupt adoptions – and how little power it had to do so, both in Vietnam, and in other countries that have had similar crises, such as Cambodia, Guatemala, Nepal and Romania.


Why? Fifteen years after 66 countries negotiated the 1993 Hague convention on inter-country adoption, why couldn't the US state department screen out the "bad" adoptions and continue the "good" ones? The Hague adoption convention was supposed to streamline the adoption of children who legitimately needed new homes, and "prevent the abduction, the sale of, or traffic in children" for adoption by policing "improper financial gain".


But loopholes plague the Hague convention. The biggest one: technically, Hague protections need apply only to adoptions in which both countries have already ratified and implemented the convention. In the US, that means that adoption agencies must be screened and accredited by a national body before they may arrange adoptions from, or to, other Hague countries. But unaccredited agencies are still free to work in the "non-Hague" nations (presumably, the least prepared to police unsavoury practices). As a result, families adopting from such Hague signatories as China, Colombia or Thailand can rely on two different nations' governmental oversight. But that family has no such protections if it tries to adopt from such non-Hague countries as Ethiopia or Nepal, both rife with troubling allegations about their adoptions.


US inter-country adoption experts point to specific loopholes that can be closed through new federal legislation and amended regulations, as I recently reported in "The Baby Business"; some of their more detailed thoughts are posted here. The most important suggestion, as most experts I interviewed agreed, is that the US should require "Hague accreditation" for any agency working on international adoption from any country, whether or not that country has implemented the Hague convention.


But for this and other proposed changes to move forward, the rest of us have to care. It's easy to believe that ending fraud in international adoption is an obscure and narrow issue. But the problems in international adoption have implications that reach throughout child welfare and development efforts worldwide. When done wrong, experts say, inter-country adoption can hijack a poor nation's nascent or underfunded efforts at family preservation and social services. The focus shifts away from building communities and helping families stay together – and moves instead to "finding" children for western families, thus profiting unscrupulous middlemen and corrupt officials.


The United States needs to put in place improved policies, practices and regulations that simultaneously help prevent the criminal underside of the adoption trade and also support child welfare and protection systems in developing countries. That way, more impoverished families can keep their children at home – and the children who truly need new families can find them without fear of fraud.


Source : guardian.co.uk, Friday 10 September 2010, EJ Graff.


07:48 Écrit par collectif a & a dans Adoption internationale | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0) | Tags : usa, haïti, vietnam | |  del.icio.us


Dans les coulisses de l'adoption internationale. Visite d'une "usine à bébés" au Vietnam

South China Morning Post, Hong Kong. Reportage.


Des couples viennent du monde entier à Lang Son, au Vietnam, pour adopter des nourrissons. Sans savoir qu'ils ont été vendus par leur mère pour une bouchée de pain.

Dans une cahute crasseuse jouxtant l'entrée d'un orphelinat, à l'extrême nord du Vietnam, la mère de Hoang pose un regard inquiet — elle semble écartelée entre instinct et résignation - sur son premier bébé, tandis qu'on le lui prend pour le remettre à une femme qui me le propose pour 10 000 dollars [7 000 euros]. "Regardez-le, c'est un si joli petit garçon", me lance Tang Thî Cai, négociante en enfants de son métier, alors que le nourrisson de 2 mois agite les jambes et cligne des yeux. "Si vous le voulez, dépêchez-vous. Nous avons déjà lancé les formalités pour le confier à l'orphelinat, il n'y a pas de temps à perdre." Sentant mon hésitation pendant qu'elle s'affaire dans la pièce insalubre, Mmc Cai poursuit sa ritournelle commerciale. "Si vous préférez une fille, dites-le-moi. Nous avons des femmes enceintes sur le point d'accoucher. Dès qu'une petite fille est disponible, nous pouvons vous téléphoner."

Dans les années 1990, le Vietnam est venu se ranger à la quatrième place mondiale en matière d'adoption internationale après la Chine, la Russie et la Corée du Sud. Au plus fort de la tendance, quelque 2 500 enfants étaient adoptés chaque année au Vietnam. Mais l'attrait de rétributions dépassant 10 000 dollars par enfant adopté dans un pays où le revenu annuel moyen ne dépasse guère un dixième de cette somme est à l'origine d'une myriade d'affaires de corruption. Celles-ci jettent le discrédit sur les programmes internationaux et sèment le doute sur des dizaines de milliers d'adoptions. En 2008, des enquêteurs américains ont découvert que de nombreux bébés prétendument abandonnés sur les marches d'hôpitaux et d'orphelinats avaient en réalité été vendus par leurs mères. Il est par ailleurs de notoriété publique que les autorités falsifient certains documents pour faciliter l'adoption de ces enfants par des couples étrangers. Les enquêteurs ont même mis le doigt sur plusieurs cas impliquant des familles qui n'avaient jamais eu l'intention de faire adopter leur enfant. Ils ont également recueilli les preuves de l'existence de "foyers de maternité" identiques à celui que dirige Mmc Cai, où les mères sont payées l'équivalent de onze mois de salaire par nourrisson remis.

Dans ce qui ressemble plus à une prison qu'à une maternité, quatre mères bercent leur bébé. Si je refuse l'offre de Mme Cai, l'enfant va être vendu à l'orphelinat de Lang Son, situé à dix kilomètres à peine de la frontière avec la Chine. Là, il sera proposé à prix d'or à des couples sans enfants venus des quatre coins du monde. Alors que les adoptants déboursent des milliers de dollars, les mères biologiques n'en reçoivent qu'une infime partie. Elles mènent à terme leur grossesse dans une misère sans nom, avant de passer quelques semaines pelotonnées avec leur bébé sur des lits en bois branlants, alignés bout à bout. Dans Une autre pièce, le plus souvent fermée à double tour, plusieurs femmes enceintes jusqu'au cou se reposent allongées sur des lits. Mme Cai leur offre le gîte et le couvert en échange de la promesse qu'elles lui remettront leur bébé afin qu'il soit adopté. "On ne peut pas les déranger parce qu'elles doivent se ménager", m'annonce MM Cai. Embarrassée le temps d'un instant par les conditions miserables dans lesquelles vivent ces mères et ces enfants, la maitresse des lieux plaisante : "Vous savez quoi ? Vous pouvez adopter Hoang gratuitement si vous achetés des ventilateurs et des climatiseurs pour ces chambres. Je voudrais tellement améliorer les conditions de vie des filles! Mais, comme vous le voyez, nous avons très peu d'argent." Plus tard, alors que les jeunes mères ne peuvent l'entendre, elle renoue avec son baratin de commerçante. "Si vous passez par une agence à Hanoi, cela vous coûtera 16 000 dollars pour adopter un enfant. Si vous passez directement par moi, vous ne paierez que 10 000 dollars pour ramener Hoang chez vous. Je peux vous mettre en conntact avec des personnes qui s'occuperont de toutes les formalités administratives."

Tel est la face du business des bébés vietnamiens que les adoptants étrangers ne voient pas - une ligne de production déprimante constituèe de jeune mères que la pauvreté, la honte et l'appât du gain incitent à abandonner leur bébé.

Jouant la rôle d'un père adoptif potentiel, je suis arrivé ici quatre jours après un groupe de six couples irlandais qui ont emprunté les canaux d'adoption officiels. Ils circulent dans un minibus climatisé, qui est passé sans s'arrêter devant la maison de Mme Cai, et sont allés chercher leurs bébés dans les locaux plus présentables de l'orphelinat. Chacun d'eux a déboursé approximativement 7 500 euros. Ce qu'ils ignorent, c'est que la vie de leurs bouts de chou a commencé non pas dans les villages des mères ou à l'orphelinat, mais dans le cloaque de l'usine à bébés, derrière la maison de Mme Cai. "Ces six bébés viennent tous d'ici. Si je n'étais pas là, il n'y aurait pas d'enfants à adopter", clame-t-elle. Cela fait dix ans que Mme Cai sert d'intermédiaire. Elle offre un refuge officieux aux femmes qui portent un enfant non désiré et vivent dans la province montagneuse et reculée de Lang Son, une région pauvre qui vit essentiellement de la contrebande avec le sud de la Chine. Nombre de femmes qui se rendent chez Mme Cai sont issues de familles paysannes dont les revenus ne dépassent guère 1 dollar par jour. Affable et maternelle, l'intermédiaire les accompagne au fil de leur grossesse, les emmène accoucher à l'hôpital public de Lang Son et leur offre un gîte miteux, le temps de faire les examens médicaux obligatoires et d'entamer les formalités administratives complexes qui précèdent l'adoption. Une fois l'enfant adopté, la mère retourne vivre dans son village - sans aucun suivi médical postnatal.

Au début de l'automne 2009, six fonctionnaires d'une autre province située au sud de Hanoi ont été condamnés à des peines de prison comprises entre quinze et dix-huit mois pour avoir falsifié des documents en échange d'argent. Alors officiellement abandonnés, plusieurs centaines de bébés devenaient disponibles pour une adoption à l'étranger, avec de coquettes sommes à la clé. Publié en 2008, un rapport de l'ambassade des Etats-Unis dénonçant la corruption massive dans les procédures d'adoption a déclenché ces arrestations. Ce document a même poussé les Etats-Unis à suspendre les adoptions et contribué à ce que l'Irlande mette un terme, en mai, à l'accord autorisant ses ressortissants sans enfant à en adopter un au Vietnam. Cela étant, d'autres pays ne leur ont pas emboîté le pas, et, ces dernières années, des centaines de bébés ont quitté les orphelinats vietnamiens pour rejoindre un foyer en Italie, au Canada, en France, en Belgique et au Danemark.

Les six couples irlandais, dont les demandes avaient été approuvées avant la date butoir du 1er mai 2009, ont été escortés par l'agence d'adoption et les responsables de l'orphelinat tout au long de leur voyage jusqu'à Lang Son. Selon une administratrice de l'orphelinat, celui-ci compte 95 enfants, dont 20 à 25 âgés de moins de 1 an. Tous attendent un nouveau foyer - le pourcentage d'enfants en bas âge est étonnamment élevé pour un orphelinat standard. "La situation est très sensible en ce moment, et nous ne pouvons laisser entrer personne sans autorisation spéciale", m'informe-t-elle. A l'extérieur, dans la rue, la propriétaire d'un café est plus encline à commenter les activités de l'institution. "C'est un défilé ininterrompu d'étrangers. Des groupes arrivent en minibus et repartent avec des bébés, ils vont et viennent sans cesse, confie-t-elle. Tout comme pour les touristes, il en arrive plus ou moins en fonction des saisons. Pendant la haute saison, à partir de novembre, un bus se présente tous les huit ou quinze jours. En été, lorsque le climat est très chaud et humide, il en arrive peut-être une fois par mois. Ils viennent de tout un tas de pays." Indiquant du doigt la maison de Mme Cai, la femme poursuit : "Les filles enceintes vont chez elle. Elle s'en occupe et remet les bébés à l'orphelinat en échange d'argent. Presque tous les enfants de l'orphelinat sont passés par elle."

Très simple, la maisonnette à un étage ne trahit rien des activités qui s'y déroulent. Lorsque Mme Caï m'invite â prendre le thé dans le salon, à l'avant de la maison, seuls son mari et sa petite-fille sont visibles. Mais, quand je l'interroge sur la possibilité d'adopter un enfant directement auprès d'elle, elle me guide à travers deux portes latérales jusqu'à une cour fermée, bétonnée, à l'arrière de l'habitation. C'est là que sont hébergés les femmes enceintes, les mères et les nouveau-nés, dans des pièces exiguës à l'atmosphère suffocante. Les pensionnaires se partagent une cuisine installée sous un toit de tôle et des toilettes à ciel ouvert répugnantes. Hoang est un exemple typique des nourrissons qui vivent ici, m'explique Mme Cai, après m'avoir proposé de l'acheter. Sa mère, qui a 25 ans, vit dans un village perché dans les montagnes. Lorsqu'elle était encore une jeune adolescente, sa famille l'a mariée — cette pratique reste commune dans le nord rural du Vietnam. Et, pendant des années, elle n'a pas pu avoir d'enfant. "Plus tard, lorsqu'elle est tombée enceinte, elle était déjà séparée de son mari, qui avait pris une concubine, raconte Mme Cai. Elle ne voulait pas élever l'enfant toute seule, alors elle est venue me voir pour faire adopter son bébé. Je ne fais pas de publicité, mais je suis connue et toutes les personnes dans cette situation savent ou me trouver." Une des femmes qui partagent la pièce miteuse où vivent Hoang et sa mère a 28 ans. Elle a accouché de jumeaux voilà deux mois. "Elle a déjà deux enfants et, si elle garde ces deux garçons, elle sera pénalisée par la politique vietnamienne de limitation des naissances à deux enfants, m'informe Mme Cai. Elle est venue ici pour que ses fils puissent mener une nouvelle vie dans une autre famille." L'intermédiaire insiste : elle ne reçoit qu' "une petite somme" de l'orphelinat en échange de son approvisionnement en nourrissons. L'argent qu'elle remet aux mères qui abandonnent leur bébé est suffisant, dit-elle, pour couvrir le coût du voyage de retour et constituer "une petite compensation" pour la perte de leur enfant.
"J'aimerais pouvoir faire davantage pour elles", soupire Mme Cai.


224 euros
pour la mère en échange
de son enfant


Ses activités sont étonnamment similaires à celles de nombreuses organisations illicites d'autres provinces dénoncées dans le rapport de 2008 de l'ambassade des Etats-Unis. Selon ce document, les structures incriminées "nourrissent et logent gratuitement les femmes enceintes en échange de leur engagement à abandonner leur enfant à la naissance". Le rapport poursuit : "Aucune de ces structures ne fait ouvertement de publicité pour ses services. Les femmes apprennent leur existence exclusivement par le bouche-à-oreille. Comme ces structures sont ouvertes et que les femmes sont libres d'y entrer et d'en sortir, elles contractent une dette pour chaque nuit  qu 'elles y passent, et, si elles ne renoncent pas à leur enfant, elles devront s'acquitter de cette dette." Toujours selon le rapport, les mères "vivent souvent dans la misère" et, à leur départ, elles reçoivent "jusqu'à 6 millions de dongs [224 euros] en échange de leur enfant". Qui plus est, "si la source de financement de ces structures n'est pas claire, elles semblent entretenir des liens étroits avec les orphelinats voisins".


A quelques heures de route de Lang Son, à Hanoi, les couples irlandais goûtent à leur toute nouvelle vie de famille. La réglementation oblige les parents et leur bébé à séjourner une quinzaine de jours dans la capitale vietnamienne en attendant l'obtention de passeports et de visas de sortie. Nul doute que ces enfants auront de bien meilleures conditions de vie et plus de chances de s'épanouir en Irlande qu'au Vietnam. Néanmoins, ce qui se passe à Lang Son soulève de graves interrogations sur les processus d'adoption, sur les personnes qui en profitent et sur la motivation de certaines mères. Pour l'instant, à l'heure des toutes premières joies de la parenté, alors qu'en Irlande des chambres préparées avec amour attendent le nouveau membre de la famille, ces couples ont peut-être l'impression de posséder les réponses à l'ensemble des questions qu'ils se posent à propos de ces adoptions. Mais, lorsque leurs bébés grandiront, lorsqu'ils seront devenus des adolescents curieux et conscients d'eux-mêmes, il se peut qu'ils posent alors à leurs parents des questions auxquelles il sera très difficile de répondre.


Simon Parry

Courrier International n°1008 du 25 février au 3 mars 2010.

- - -

A l'exception de l'Irlande,
 quelle est l'attitude des autres pays européens ?
Les Trois Singes.jpg

- - - 

- Des enfants de tribu des collines du Vietnam "volés" pour l'adoption
[Via Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity] Vietnam's hill tribe children "stolen" for adoption (Feature) Hanoi - High among the jagged [...] They should be with their families here in Vietnam, not thousands of miles away [...]
Lire la suite


- Irlande. Suspension de l'adoption internationale avec le Vietnam.
les négociations sur un nouvel accord bilatéral sur l'adoption internationale avec la République socialiste du Vietnam. Cela aura pour effet de suspendre l'adoption internationale du Vietnam, jusqu'à ce que l'approbation du projet de loi [...]
Lire la suite

- Vietnam. Rapport d'évaluation du SSI sur l'adoption internationale et domestique.
2009-12-12 07:39:00 Adoption from Viet Nam. [...] adoptions (ICA) from Viet Nam are [...] ICA: Intercountry adoption THC-93: The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption [...]
Lire la suite


- Bébés vietnamiens volés, vendus pour l'adoption...
Ce qui suit est une traduction non officielle de l'article intitulé "Stolen Vietnamese babies sold for adoption in west: report" , paru dans Theage.com. [...] Sur le même sujet -> Adoptie Vietnam niet in orde Hanoi, 25 april.
Lire la suite



Des enfants de tribu des collines du Vietnam "volés" pour l'adoption

[Via Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity]


Vietnam's hill tribe children "stolen" for adoption (Feature)



Hanoi - High among the jagged limestone peaks that mark Vietnam's border with Laos, Cao Thi Thu squats on the stone floor of her family's hut and pleads, 'Please help bring my daughters home.'


It is more than three years since officials came to Thu's village and offered her the chance to send her daughters - Cao Thi Lan, 3, and Cao Thi Luong, 8 - to be educated in the provincial capital. Instead, they were sold for adoption overseas.


Clutching the only photographs she has of the girls - shots ironically taken at the children's home to send out to prospective adoptive parents abroad - the pain of separation from her daughters is as sharp today as it was on the day she last saw them.


'I am sad and I am very worried,' the 35-year-old said. 'I don't even know which country they are in. I don't know if they are together or apart. They should be with their families


here in Vietnam, not thousands of miles away with strangers.'

Lan and Luong were among 13 children taken away from Vietnam's smallest and least developed ethnic minority - the Ruc hill tribe - and then given to adoptive parents in Italy and the US months later in return for fees of around 10,000 US dollars per child.


A police investigation has been launched into complaints from the parents that their children were adopted without their permission but villagers fear it will be a whitewash and want foreign governments to intervene. Those pleas to diplomats have so far fallen on deaf ears.


It was in September 2006 when officials from Quang Bing province's capital Dong Hoi visited the tiny hill tribe, which numbers only 500 people.


They picked out 13 children aged 2 to 9 and offered to house and feed them at a children's social welfare centre in Dong Hoi and return them when their education and vocational training was complete, the families say they were told.


The parents - all poor farmers and most illiterate - agreed and were driven to Dong Hoi with their children where they signed consent forms placing them into the care of the local authority.


Four months later, in the Lunar New Year holiday in 2007, Thu went to visit her daughters. 'They looked well but they missed me very much. They said 'Mummy, please take us home',' she recalled.


'I couldn't bear to see them so sad so I decided to take them home. I took them by the hands and led them out of the children's home towards the bus stop - but the security guards stopped me and told me I couldn't take them away.


'The officials at the children's home said I had signed papers and had to leave them in their care. I was crying and very upset but I believed them and I went home alone.'


A year later - shortly before the 2008 Lunar New Year holiday - Thu travelled to Dong Hoi to visit her daughters again. When she arrived, she was told both girls had been adopted overseas.


'Those men lied to me,' said Thu, who has three other children. 'They said the children would return to the village when they finished school. But they sold them as if they were livestock.'


News of the children's fate spread quickly around the Ruc community villages as other parents discovered that their sons and daughters too had been sent overseas for adoption. Some were even handed photographs of their children with their new adoptive parents.


In the provincial capital Dong Hai, Le Thi Thu Ha, director of the children's home where the 13 children were taken, confirmed a police investigation had been launched into the circumstances in which the Ruc children were adopted overseas.


Ha - who recently replaced former director Nguyen Tien Ngu who handled the adoptions - insisted, 'All of the legal documents (for the adoptions) were in order. It was approved by the provincial ministry of justice and the provincial social welfare centre and it was done with the consent of the Ruc parents.


'The local police force started investigating the case a few months ago when the parents persisted with their complaints. We expect the investigation to be complete and the results announced in the first quarter of 2010.'


By the time the investigation is complete, the children will have been apart from their parents for more than four years. Despite appeals made to them nearly two years ago, neither the US nor the Italian embassies have taken up the parents' cause.


Anthropologist Peter Bille Larsen, who worked in the border area, alerted the embassies in early 2008 and is baffled by the inaction. He argues the children should be sent home however long it takes.


'I would want to see my children again even if they had been sent to the other end of the world,' he said, dismissing the idea that the youngsters were better off in relatively wealthy western families.


Asked why diplomats in Hanoi had apparently done nothing to help the families, Italy's charge d'affaires in Hanoi Cesare Bieller said that his embassy had no powers of investigation.


However, Bieller added, 'We acknowledge the importance of the task you are undertaking and we hope that your story will be received with the importance that it deserves.'


Read more



Irlande. Suspension de l'adoption internationale avec le Vietnam.

Department of Health and Children - Ireland.jpgLe gouvernement irlandais a décidé de suspendre sine die les négociations sur un nouvel accord bilatéral sur l'adoption internationale avec la République socialiste du Vietnam. Cela aura pour effet de suspendre l'adoption internationale du Vietnam, jusqu'à ce que l'approbation du projet de loi 2009 soit promulgué. L'Irlande et le Vietnam ont tous deux ratifié les dispositions de la Convention de La Haye.

Minister Barry Andrews, T.D. Announces Government Decision to Suspend Bilateral Intercountry Adoption Negotiations with Vietnam.

The Government has decided to suspend indefinitely negotiations on a new bilateral intercountry adoption agreement with the Socialist Republic of Vietnam.  This will have the effect of suspending intercountry adoption from Vietnam until such time as the Adoption Bill 2009 has been enacted and Ireland and Vietnam have both ratified the provisions of the Hague Convention.


The decision, which will cause bitter disappointment for the many families hoping to adopt from Vietnam, was taken in response to the serious findings and recommendations contained in the report on intercountry adoption commissioned by UNICEF and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice and carried out by International Social Services (ISS).  An earlier report published last August by the Vietnamese Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) was also considered in making the decision.


The UNICEF/ISS report, which was accepted by the Vietnamese Government, “proposes that Vietnam suspends intercountry adoptions for the necessary period during the year 2010 that will enable it to ensure optimal implementation of the Hague Convention and to prepare for the entry into force of the new law on adoption in 2011”.  The Report also raises serious questions regarding adoption practices in Vietnam, including as follows:


(a) inter-country adoptions from Vietnam are essentially influenced by foreign demand, i.e. the availability of children who are “adoptable” abroad corresponds more to the existence of foreign prospective adopters than to the actual needs of “abandoned” and orphaned children;

(b) the circumstances under which babies become “adoptable” are invariably unclear and disturbing;

(c) the inter-country adoption  system is grounded in a remarkably unhealthy relationship between the mediating agencies and specific residential facilities; and

(d) Governments and central authorities of “receiving countries” collectively at least, and individually in many instances have not effectively committed themselves to applying the basic principles of the Hague Convention or the recommendations of the treaty’s practical operation, in their dealings with Vietnam.


Speaking this afternoon, the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Barry Andrews, T.D. said, “I am acutely aware of the disappointment that will be felt as a result of this announcement.  Most prospective adoptive parents that I have met in recent weeks have above all else asked for certainty and an end to the speculation about the Government’s intentions.  Though this is not the news many were hoping for, it will allow prospective adoptive parents to make future choices based on the fact that intercountry adoption with Vietnam will be suspended until Hague ratification is completed in both countries.”


The Minister added, “I am fully convinced of the Vietnamese Government’s commitment to improving child protection services.  They are well advanced in putting in place the legislative framework that supports safe and secure domestic and intercountry adoption.  Child protection practice is improving.  However, the latest expert opinion points to worrying practices today.  Of greatest concern is the question of whether the child is “adoptable”.  The issues of consent and the exchange of fees are critical in the adoption process.  These two fundamental features of adoption law must be addressed prior to any bilateral agreement.  I am confident that in the near future Vietnam will ratify the Hague Convention and at that time, I would hope and expect adoptions to resume.”


This decision comes at the end of a very difficult process for prospective parents.  The path to intercountry adoption is difficult and made more so in Ireland by the excessive waiting times.  I have pointed to provisions in the new Adoption Bill that will, I hope, provide potential to reduce the waiting lists by creating a new assessment process.  The nature of intercountry adoption is that countries “open” and “close”.  Both receiving and sending countries will at times suspend intercountry adoption arrangements.  It is very possible that by the time the person wishing to adopt from a certain country of origin gets a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability that their designated country may have closed and they are then forced to look at other sending countries.”


“When any Government enters into a bilateral international adoption agreement, there is an expectation that the Government has satisfied itself that current policies and practice in the country of origin are robust.  A level of security and comfort is derived from the fact that a Government has signed up to such an agreement.  While accepting that an element of risk always attaches to intercountry adoption, the standard required to allow a Government enter into a bilateral agreement is high.  At this moment, there is sufficient evidence to caution against entering into such an agreement with Vietnam,” said the Minister.


The Government has committed to providing technical assistance to the Vietnamese authorities in the area of child welfare and protection to help prepare the way for ratification of the Hague Convention should the Vietnamese wish to avail of such an offer.


The Minister stated, “I am very conscious that people will be left asking where they should now turn in order to effect an adoption.  I have asked the Adoption Board to identify Hague countries that would be willing to enter into administrative arrangements with Ireland, which would facilitate intercountry adoption. I understand that the Adoption Board has made contact with a number of jurisdictions in the hope of establishing new arrangements to facilitate intercountry adoption. 


Furthermore, having met with the Adoption Board to discuss future arrangements for persons with Declarations of Eligibility and Suitability for Vietnam, the Board has agreed the following arrangements:

• all couples/individuals currently with a declaration of eligibility and suitability for Vietnam may select a new country to adopt from, subject to submitting the usual change of country report to the Adoption Board, but may also retain their current place on the HHAMA list for Vietnam, which is being maintained;
• in the event of Vietnam reopening, those on the Vietnamese waiting list, whose declarations have not been used in the meantime to effect an adoption in another country, will be in a position to proceed without delay and having regard to their position on the Vietnam list.
• all couples/individuals currently with a Declaration of Eligibility and Suitability for Vietnam but who have sought to change in recent months will be in a position to avail of the foregoing arrangements.


Couples/individuals wishing to change their country of origin are advised to contact their local social worker who will facilitate the change.  The HSE has indicated that the process will not involve the need to revert to the Local Adoption Committee.


“I am confident that Vietnam will ratify the Hague Convention in the near future.  It is significant that the Hague Conference has identified Vietnam for priority assistance this year.  In this regard, I hope and expect that Vietnam will reopen for intercountry adoption with Ireland in the not too distant future,” said the Minister.


The Minister concluded by saying, “I am very conscious of the position of the children who have been adopted into this country from Vietnam in recent years.  We all have a responsibility to these children and the status of their adoptions is not in question.  These adoptions have gone through a lengthy legal process and have been entered into the Register of Foreign Adoptions.  Any discussion on today’s announcement should take this into account.”  


Source : Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs. Department of Health and Children | 14.01.2010.


- Link between Intercountry Adoption and Humanitarian Aid.
Extraits de "Adoption from Viet Nam. Findings and recommendations of an assessment". Service Social International (SSI). Novembre 2009.




Vietnam. Rapport d'évaluation du SSI sur l'adoption internationale et domestique.

Vietnam rapport SSI adoption.jpgAdoption from Viet Nam.
Findings and recommendations of an assessment.

Cette évaluation a été effectuée par Hervé Boéchat, Nigel Cantwell et Mia Dambach du Service Social International (SSI)
Novembre 2009.

Résumé des principales observations

- The level and nature of intercountry adoptions (ICA) from Viet Nam are essentially influenced by foreign demand.
Thus, the availability of children who are “adoptable” abroad corresponds more to the existence of foreign prospective adopters than to the actual needs of “abandoned” and orphaned children. As a result, the overwhelming majority of adopted children are under 1 year of age, the age-group most sought by prospective adopters.  Since only a relatively small and ever-decreasing number of other “countries of origin” are currently making children of this age “adoptable” abroad, foreign actors have proved willing to accept conditions put in place by Viet Nam for processing these adoptions. There is also considerable pressure from abroad for Viet Nam to continue as a “source” of very young children.

- The circumstances under which babies become “adoptable” are invariably unclear and disturbing.
Declarations of so-called “abandonment”, which is notoriously difficult to investigate, are intriguingly frequent, but with unexplained “peaks” and “troughs”. Procedures for verifying the child’s status and, inter alia, for ensuring free and informed consent to adoption are inadequate and inconsistent. Decision-making on the availability of a child for ICA as opposed to a domestic solution (including return to the biological family) seems to take no account of the subsidiary nature of adoption abroad, with little or no effort being made to establish the child’s real need for the latter or to identify in-country care opportunities.

- The ICA procedure is influenced by a remarkably unhealthy relationship that can exist between agencies and specific residential facilities.
It involves compulsory and sizeable financial contributions by agencies in the form of “humanitarian aid” to facilities that they themselves have identified as potential “partners” in ICA. The question of “aid” generally seems to be given far more importance than ensuring that ICA is resorted to as an exceptional measure on a case-by-case basis. Agencies compete with each other to secure children and tend to expect that children will be “indicated” to them for ICA processing according to the amount of humanitarian aid provided. Agencies are subject to little or no monitoring, and neither they nor the residential facilities they work with have any incentive to address or notify problems, since the way the system presently functions is to the advantage of both.

- Governments and Central Authorities of “receiving countries” – collectively at least, and individually in many instances – have not effectively committed themselves to applying the basic principles of the THC-93, or the recommendations of the Special Commission on the treaty’s practical operation, in their dealings with Viet Nam.
They have therefore been sending out mixed – and hence eminently unhelpful – messages on the acceptability of the current system. These frequently seem to respond more to pressures within their respective countries than to tackling identified problems. In most cases, embassies have virtually no knowledge of how their country’s agencies are operating, let alone being in a position to verify the compliance with international standards of adoptions to their country.

- Viet Nam’s desire for rapid accession to the THC-93 constitutes a highly positive perspective.
It will nonetheless require not only far-reaching legislative changes, which Viet Nam already envisages, but also a fundamental change in outlook, including in particular a total divorce between “humanitarian aid” or other financial contributions and the ICA of those of its children who may require this measure. The success of reform efforts will depend not only on Viet Nam itself but also on the willingness and ability of foreign actors other than agencies to provide active assistance, including in the development of preventive child welfare measures and of functioning child protection systems, based on a deinstitutionalisation strategy and the consequent expansion of alternative care options for vulnerable children.

ICA: Intercountry adoption
THC-93: The Hague Convention of 29 May 1993 on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption

Source: Office of the Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, Hawkins House, Dublin 2.



- Unicef queries circumstances of adoptions from Vietnam
The Irish Times | 24.11.2009

- Vietnamese adoptions face scrutiny
The Irish Times | 21.09.2009


Les orphelins de l'Agent Orange. Aaron Joel Santos.

Orphans of Agent Orange.jpgJe ne connaissais pas l’Agent Orange avant de visualiser les dégâts qu’il fait encore au Vietnam, plus de 30 ans après la fin de la guerre.



Certains enfants sont victimes des résidus de pesticides, encore présents dans les graisses animales et les sols des régions où il a été utilisé par l’armée US.


Aaron Joel Santos nous présente un orphelinat qui recueille les enfants atteints de troubles physiques dû à la présence de ce pesticide dans leur environnement. Cet orphelinat a été crée en 1998 par un vétéran américain de la guerre du Vietnam. Il accueille près de 120 enfants dans un complexe proche d’Hanoï.


Pour voir ce reportage photos, choisir la série “Orphans of Agent Orange” sur son portfolio. Rendez-vous aussi sur son blog “From Swerve of Shore”, qui contient plus de photos.


Source: Un oeil sur la photo.