International adoption responsibilities would be fielded by a single government agency if Vietnam joins the convention.
A majority of National Assembly’s Standing Committee members supported a bid to sign the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption Friday, scheduling a vote on the measure by the year’s end.
The International Adopted Children Bureau, under the Minister of Justice, would be solely responsible for approving international adoption applications if Vietnam becomes a signatory on the convention, said Deputy Minister Hoang The Lien on the sidelines of the committee session.
Currently, each provincial government ratifies its own international adoption applications.
Of 378 orphanages nationwide,
85 centers have been licensed to process international adoption applications.
Around 2,000 Vietnamese children are adopted into international families each year.
Financial aid to orphanages would also be handled by the central government agency if Vietnam joins the convention, said Lien.
The move would aim to ward off unhealthy competition between international adoption agencies and even among Vietnamese orphanages, he added.
Lien said lawmakers would also work to remedy shortcomings in local adoption regulations, which many people had capitalized on to forge adoption applications.
Under Vietnamese law, a child must be abandoned by their parents or orphaned to be adopted.
Vietnamese parents who send their children to orphanages due to poverty do so only temporarily.
But several criminals have faked documents leading agencies and adoptive parents to believe that such children were in fact abandoned.
Lien said a recent case of adoption paperwork fraud in the northern province of Nam Dinh would be a major deterrent.
Nam Dinh Province police arrested the head of a charity organization in Truc Ninh District on Thursday for allegedly forging adoption documents.
Nam Dinh authorities began investigating two local charity organizations for their alleged involvement in dubious adoption paperwork in mid-July.
Prior to Thursday, Nam Dinh police had arrested three people, including two communal health officials, for allegedly faking papers documenting the origins of babies they claimed to have found.
Lien also said authorities would discuss other mismatches between Vietnamese laws and the Hague Convention.
For example, under Vietnamese law, the maximum age for adoptees is 16, while the Hague Convention extends the adoption age to 18.
Additionally, the Hague Convention stipulates that adopted children must jettison their legal ties with their parents while Vietnamese laws still allow adopted children to retain inheritance and other rights from their birth parents.
Lien said Vietnam and the US may still cooperate to arrange adoptions in the future through a new agreement or the Hague Adoption Convention.
In April, the Ministry of Justice dispelled accusations in an official US report of systematic baby-selling in Vietnam, saying it was “totally untrue.”
Reported by Tuyet Nhung