Thursday, January 31, 2008

On Monday, January 28, the DOS issued a warning adoptions from Vietnam: ( Ethica then published their statement about the status of adoption from Vietnam. (

PEAR commends and fully supports both the DOS and Ethica for their efforts to oversee that adoptions between the US and Vietnam are done in an ethical and transparent manner. We are in agreement with the warnings issued and the statements following those warnings by both Ethica and the US Department of State.

When adoptions between the US and Vietnam resumed under the terms of agreement of the current MOU in 2005, one of the most salient conditions was that the DIA (Department of International Adoption in Vietnam) publish a fee schedule for adoptions. To date this has not been done, and this failure remains a major obstacle in renewing the MOU.

In addition, there have been numerous reports of ethical violations by employees of US-based Adoption Service Providers (agencies) as well as by orphanage and provincial authorities in Vietnam since the resumption of adoptions. There are at present 26 US families who have received Notices of Intent to Deny (NOIDs) from DOS in Hanoi, indicating that the paperwork involved in these adoptions appears to contain irregularities warranting further investigation. Other serious allegations of unethical behaviors include money being paid to orphanages, a wide disparity in cost of adoptions from one agency to another, agencies bidding against each other to procure children, the coecion of birth mothers to give up their children, and orphan paperwork being falsified. The province of Phu Tho has recently been closed to all US adoptions.

There are currently over 2,000 US families who have filed paperwork to adopt from Vietnam, and the DOS statement has naturally caused great concern among them, as well as in the US Vietnam adoption community. Prospective parents fear that
adoptions from Vietnam could be suspended if not shut down completely. PEAR understand that this is a difficult and unnerving time for these families and fully supports them while awaiting further clarification from DOS as to the status of the MOU.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

PEAR Announces it's Education Project

Parents for Ethical Adoption Reform (PEAR) announces it's new initiative to develop a model education program for adoptive parents. We believe that all parents should receive a comprehensive and realistic education prior to adopting. PEAR also feels many parents come to adoption inadequately prepared for the challenges of adoption. We hope to create a parent friendly HONEST education program that will give parents what they need and want in order to assist them in this amazing but often taxing journey.

As part of this initiative, PEAR will be collecting the thoughts, opinions and experiences of current adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. We have created a Yahoo group to help facilitate the easy collection of this information: If you wish to contribute, but do not wish to join a yahoo group, you may submit your
input directly to PEAR at reform @ After collecting information, resources, and adoption community opinions, the PEAR-ED project intends to create a model education program for use by adoption agencies and prospective adoptive parents.

Please tell us what you think was helpful or useful about your adoption preparation, what was bad, what could have been better, what you would like to have read, experienced or participated in. Tell us what articles, books, educational materials or programs were best for you and why. Tell us what is needed to prepare parents for the journey of adoption. Review any existing programs you have participated in. We invite you to contribute your own writings and opinions and lists of information (for large articles, please contact the list management via PEAR-ED-owner @ We invite you to REFER us to the work of others you feel are useful - please do not copy and paste the work of others due to coppyright issues.

PLEASE DO NOT CONTRIBUTE UNLESS YOU ARE WILLING TO HAVE YOUR WORDS AND WRITINGS PUBLISHED at a later date as part of this project. You may contribute anonymously.

Please list your name at the top of your article/list/information *if* you would like to be credited. All materials contributed are deemed to be freely distributable by PEAR-ED.

Click here to join PEAR-ED
Click to join PEAR-ED

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

PEAR Supports Ethica's Letter to the VN Adoption Community

Below is a letter from Linh Song, Executive Director of Ethica. PEAR supports Ethica's call for input from the VN adoption community and encourages all those interested in VN adoption and adoption reform to participate by writing your comments to Ethica. PEAR's Comments on the JCICS Proposed Standards of Practice were submitted to JCICS on December 10, 2007. Copies of our comments are available on our website, in the Files section of our Newsletter Group, or by contacting PEAR at


Dear Vietnam Adoption Community Members,

In November I attended the Joint Council on International Children's Services' Vietnam Summit. JCICS is the umbrella organization for many, but not all, adoption agencies facilitating international adoptions. Ethica is also a member as an adoption advocacy organization.

The Summit was convened in order to address the increasingly problematic situation in Vietnam, which included:

- Over 20 NOIDS (notice of intent to deny a child's visa) were issued in October-November 2007; 3 JCICS member agencies accounted for the majority of the NOIDs. Currently there are 26 NOIDs.
- The new I600 procedure that was proposed and implemented in order to verify true orphan status of Vietnamese children.
- The MOU between the U.S. and Vietnam that will be renegotiated in March with renewal in September 2008. However Vietnam has not fulfilled its promise of releasing a fee schedule, a key factor for successful renegotiation.

It was also mentioned that there was evidence of:
- Moving children from unlicensed child welfare institutions into licensed orphanages in order to qualify for international adoption.
- Adoption agencies contracting directly with maternity hospitals and matching children before they are relinquished to the orphanage.
- Paying orphanage and provincial officials large sums of cash in order to secure referrals (children eligible for adoption).
- Paying for travel junkets for orphanage and provincial authorities to tour the U.S.

The theme of the meeting was for agencies to stop illegal activity in-country, stop paying facilitators contingency or finding fees, and to co-operate in creating an agency fee schedule to submit to the U.S. Department of State.

It was obvious to me during the discussion that unethical and illegal activity either paid for or promoted by American adoption agencies, and bidding wars between agencies for young children, were key factors leading to the current climate. Cash donations directly to orphanages were also an issue as more seasoned and reputable agency representatives reminded attendees that one of the MOU's goals was to have agency funding be directed to humanitarian projects and not unaccountable cash gifts.

Some agencies continue to insist that they are not responsible to verify orphan status and that receipts alone are adequate tracking methods. Ethica believes that
this attitude is an indication that adoptive families need to be vocal about putting the responsibility on their agencies to fulfill their obligations in facilitating ethical and transparent adoptions.

Proposed JCICS standards were issued that agencies are currently commenting on. The timeline presented at the Summit has been changed to accommodate a delay due to staff changes at JCICS. The hope is for agencies to submit their fees to the organization and comments on the Vietnamese standards of practice by January 21.

Ethica is preparing our comments on the standards to submit at the end of Friday, January 18th. We would like to hear from parents any thoughts they have on what agencies should currently be doing in Vietnam, but are not currently doing. We will consider adding them to our comments. This is your chance for input on keeping Vietnamese adoptions open and continuing in an ethical and transparent manner.

Please email us at by January 17th. Thank you.

Linh Song, MSW
Executive Director
Ethica, Inc.

Update on PEAR's Call to Action: Vietnam

In early December, JCICS requested that PEAR put together a list of organizations and individuals we felt JCICS should contact for input on their proposed Standards of Practice for Vietnam Adoptions. We submitted the following list to JCICS on December 6:

Vietnam AP groups:
APV (Adoptive Parents Vietnam Yahoo group) and owners
RateYourVietnamAdoptionAgency Yahoo Group and owners
FCVN (Families with Children from Vietnam)
Nicki & Chris from the Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity blog

Adoptee Groups:
adopted vietnamese international
InterAdopt Alliance

Adoptee Groups for APs too:
International-Adopt-Talk Yahoo Group and owners
Global-Adoption-Triad Yahoo Group and owners

Despite their interest in participating in the process, none of the organizations or individuals representative of adoptive parents have been contacted by JCICS for input. PEAR has not received feedback from the adoptee groups and individuals.

PEAR is now highly encouraging all organizations and individuals with an interest in Vietnam adoptions, or international adoption in general, to contact JCICS individually or to offer their input on comments to Ethica Please let your voice be heard!

Gina Pollock
Interim President