Sunday, October 11, 2009

DOS Responds to Questions re: Nam Dinh Adoptions

Below is the text of an email from the DOS responding to PEAR's questions concerning notification of families and children involved in the adoption cases leading to the recent criminal convictions in Vietnam

Dear Ms. Weeks,

Thank you for your inquiry regarding the recent convictions of individuals involved in adoption fraud in Vietnam. You have raised some important questions. Below are our responses to your specific questions.

Will the US authorities in Vietnam or at DOS be working with the Vietnamese officials to try and determine which children might be affected and will you be notifying their US families?
At this time, the Government of Vietnam has not released the names of specific children who might have been affected by this criminal activity. Nor has the Government of Vietnam requested any action b e taken by the Embassy or the Department of State as a consequence of these convictions.

If families who have adopted from Nam Dinh voluntarily wish to request further information about whether their case may have been affected by these criminal prosecutions, they may send an inquiry to with the birth name, date of birth, and date of adoption for their child. The Office of Children's Issues will forward their request through our Embassy in Hanoi to the Government of Vietnam for a response.

We hope that all possible steps are being taken to preserve information about these children's histories and ties to their families of origin.
In general, the majority of information regarding individual adoption cases is maintained in the child's immigration file (also known as the A-file); this file is maintained by USCIS. The link below explains how adoptive parents may submit a Freedom of Information Act request for copies of adoption documents in their child's A-file.

Additionally, there were three US adoption agencies licensed to work in Nam Dinh Province, Los Ninos, Orphans Overseas and Faith International. Does the Embassy or DOS plan to investigate these agencies for potential visa fraud?
The Office of Children's Issues does have a role in monitoring and collecting information regarding the activities of U.S. adoption service providers working overseas and when appropriate for referring complaints by U.S. citizens to the State licensing offices with jurisdiction over the adoption agency. I want to assure you that we have taken note of these convictions and, once more information becomes available, will determine what, if any, follow-on action would be appropriate.


William Bistransky
Adoption Division Chief
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State

PEAR is not completely satisfied with the answer to the second question, as the original question was trying to get at what, if anything, the DOS is doing to try and preserve and/or recover original adoption files on children adopted from Nam Dinh. We are seeking clarification on that question and answer.

In the meantime, if you are the family of a child adopted from Nam Dinh Province, and you have concerned about your child's adoption, we encourage you to contact Mr. Bistransky and the Departmentt of State for further information and assistance.

Ethics, Transparency, Support
~ What All Adoptions Deserve.

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