Vietnam, Ireland to sign new adoption pact

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Adoption of Vietnamese children by Irish families is expected to resume soon after a two-year hiatus, Ireland's daily newspaper the Irish Independent reported Tuesday (July 3).

The newspaper quoted Irish Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald as saying she expected a new agreement to be signed between Ireland and Vietnam in September during the Ireland visit paid by Vietnamese Justice Minister Ha Hung Cuong.

It said the agreement will be welcomed by scores of Irish families who have been waiting more than two years for the resumption of adoption between the two countries. Adoptions from Vietnam were suspended more than two years ago after a UNICEF report claimed there was poor regulation of the adoption process in Vietnam.

This devastated the hopes of many Irish couples, including families who had already adopted children in Vietnam and wanted to bring them to Ireland.

There were 764 children adopted in Ireland from Vietnam between 2001 and 2010, second only to Russia, according to the Irish Independent.

The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption took effect in Vietnam on February 1 following its ratification on November 1, 2011.

According to UNICEF, since the late 1990s, Vietnam has been among the most popular countries of origin for inter-country adoption, with at least 10,000 children being adopted from the country.

Statistics from the Assessment of the Adoption System in Vietnam by International Social Services, commissioned by UNICEF and the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice in 2009, indicate that adoptions from Vietnam have been significant and generally on the increase in the past years (from 1,183 cases to 1,658 cases annually between 2002 and 2008 respectively).

The study urged Vietnamese authorities to establish a proper system of data collection for children in need of adoption and undertake an assessment of the root causes of child abandonment, relinquishment and separation. The causes should then be addressed through social services such as support for single mothers, family counseling and social assistance, it said.

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