Friday, April 25, 2008

UPDATE: Call to Action Vietnam - USCIS Warning

The US Embassy in Hanoi has issued the following warning for adoption from Vietnam:


Warning Concerning Adoptions in Vietnam

April 2008
The Department of State continues to urge prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers not to initiate new adoptions from Vietnam at this time. The 2005 Memorandum of Agreement, required by Vietnamese law to authorize adoptions between the United States and Vietnam, expires on September 1, 2008. In addition, recent field investigations have revealed incidents of serious adoption irregularities, including forged or altered documentation, mothers paid, coerced or tricked into releasing their children, and children offered for adoption without the knowledge or consent of their birth parents.
The United States is strongly committed to processing legitimate intercountry adoptions from Vietnam if possible. Our primary concern is to ensure that the children and families involved in the adoption process are protected from exploitation. The Government of Vietnam shares this concern. Both countries acknowledge that more needs to be done to address deficiencies in the current system.
On April 25, the Government of Vietnam announced that it will allow adoption to be completed in cases where prospective adoptive parents have been matched with a child and received an official referral prior to September 1, 2008. It further stated that in accordance with Vietnamese law, the DIA will suspend the acceptance of new dossiers on July 1, 2008. On September 1, 2008 any dossier that has not received a referral will be closed and returned to the Adoption Service Provider. In view of the processing time required in Vietnam from placement to the Giving and Receiving Ceremony, an adoption process begun now cannot be completed before the current Agreement expires.
Prospective adoptive parents should be aware that documents relating to adoptions in Vietnam, such as birth certificates, abandonment reports, relinquishment agreements, and investigative reports are generally issued by orphanage directors, local People’s Committees, Provincial Departments and the Department for International Adoptions (DIA). The facts asserted in these documents are not verified by the issuing officials. Attempts by U.S. officials to verify the accuracy of these documents have routinely uncovered evidence of fraudulent or inaccurate information. Therefore, documents issued by the authorities listed above, and any other documents containing information not verified by the issuing authority, cannot be considered adequate evidence of the facts claimed. They may be used in conjunction with primary and contemporaneous secondary evidence, or must be independently verified by U.S. officials in Vietnam, before they can be considered valid for immigration purposes. (
Consular officers have routinely completed field verifications of orphan status in over 35 provinces in Vietnam. However, in some cases, Vietnamese officials have prevented the U.S. Government from conducting independent field inquiries into the status of children identified in I-600 petitions. Embassy outreach, as well as support from adoption agency officials, have thus far allowed independent investigations to resume in some areas that were previously impeded. We continue robust efforts to resolve this issue. Unfortunately, it is impossible to predict when we can complete the field inquiries in areas which are still closed to our staff.
The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service and the Department of State have instituted procedures to verify that children identified for placement meet the requirements of Vietnamese and U.S. law, before the child has been adopted under Vietnamese law. Information about these procedures is available from USCIS or through their website The Embassy strongly advises prospective adoptive parents not to travel to Vietnam until they have received notification from the Embassy that their case is ready for final processing and travel is appropriate. Parents should contact the Embassy immediately if anyone, including their adoption service provider, encourages them to travel to Vietnam prior to receiving this notification. The Embassy can work together with adoption service providers, Vietnam’s Department of International Adoptions, and local authorities to resolve issues such as the scheduling of a Giving and Receiving Ceremony.


Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Government Resources for Hague Information

The US Department of State has put together a lot of information for families, and the general public, on the Hague Convention and Adoption. If you have questions and concerns about the implementation of the Hague, please see:

Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. Of special interest for families is the pdf download entitled: Information for Parents

Intercountry Adoption News which contains updates and breaking news as well as the list of Hague accredited agencies and individuals in the US.

The USCIS has also put together information,entitled Questions and Answers: Intercountry Adoption Instructions
Post-Hague Adoption Convention Implementation
, which can be found at:

The Department of State is also currently updating the Country Specific Information pages,, to reflect changes for each country post implementation.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

April First and the Hague Convention

Today I received the following announcement from the US Department of State:

Hague Intercountry Adoption Convention Enters into Force

From the US Department of State:

On April 1, 2008, the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (the Convention) enters into force for the United States. As of this date, the provisions of the Convention will govern both immigrating (incoming) and emigrating (outgoing) intercountry adoptions between the United States and other Convention countries.

Implementing the Convention and the IAA has led to many changes in the U.S. intercountry adoption process. Some of these key changes are:

* Federal accreditation, through accrediting entities designated by the Department, of adoption service providers who provide certain key adoption services in connection with Convention adoption cases.
* The replacement of the Department of Homeland Security petition forms I-600A and I-600 for orphans with new forms I-800A and I-800 for “Convention adoptees.”
* New documents will be issued by consular officers overseas in Convention cases stating that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met for an adoption or custody declaration completed overseas. These are the Hague Adoption Certificate (HAC) or Hague Custody Certificate (HCC), which will accompany the IH-3 or IH-4 immigrant visa.
* For the outgoing adoption or custody declaration completed in the United States, the Department will issue the HAC or Hague Custody Declaration (HCD) stating that the requirements of the Convention and the IAA have been met.
* The creation of the Adoption Tracking Service (ATS) through which the Department will track both incoming and outgoing cases. For the first time, it will be possible to track the cases of American children who are adopted by citizens of other (Hague) countries. Previously there was no federal role in these cases, and no system for collecting information from the various states about the numbers and destinations of American children adopted abroad.
* The creation of a Hague Complaint Registry to track public complaints related to intercountry adoptions.

For more information on the Convention’s implementation in the United States, please visit the “Intercountry Adoption” section of our website at or contact the U.S. Central Authority at

We had hoped additional information on accredited agencies would also be released today, but it seems the agencies who didn't make the first cut are still "pending".