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Today on Dillon International Adoption Agency’s blog, it was announced that the first child to be adopted since the 2008 shut down will be home by the end of the year.
This is the first adoption to be completed under the new Hague compliant system between the U.S. and Vietnam. According to the blog post, the family has been waiting through the shut down to adopt, and is adopting her right before she ages out.
Congratulations to this family!
Our hope at VVAI is that this new Vietnam adoption program allows for children to be adopted who truly need families and that this program is able to be ethical, transparent and strong for those vulnerable children.

Agency Response

We reached out to Adoptions International Inc. founder and Executive Director Jody Hall for more information about the posting of waiting children from Vietnam on their agency’s secret group on Facebook. What follows is an exact transcript of our email interview with Ms. Hall, with no editing on our part, save for putting the questions in italics and indenting Ms. Hall’s answers for easier readability. We appreciate Adoptions International Inc.’s willingness to answer our questions. As advocates for ethical adoptions, nothing is more important to us than transparency.

 

Can you explain to us why your agency has a Secret group on Facebook?

ITS NOT SECRET. It’s “closed” to protect privacy – THERES A VERY BIG DIFFERENCE.

What was the goal or purpose in creating such a group?

 TO FIND FAMILIES FOR OLDER CHILDREN IN DRC THAT WE WERE TRYING TO FIND FAMILIES FOR WITHOUT PEDOPHILES BEING ABLE TO VIEW THE CHILDREN. MANY MANY DIFFERENT KINDS OF ORGANIZATIONS HAVE CLOSED FB GROUP PAGES.

Are there any ground rules for who is to be invited into the group or what can be discussed?

WE CHECK OUT THE FAMILIES IN ORDER TO SEE IF THEY ARE LEGIT BUT REALLY THERES NOT VERY MANY IN THE GROUP AND WE KNOW MOST OF THEM ANYWAY.

Do you have an agreement or partnership with Alliance For Children?

ABSOLUTELY NOT

If a member of your agency’s group is interested in adopting one of the waiting children, what would be the next step for them?

THIS IS THE FIRST (AND LAST) TIME ANY KIDS OTHER THAN DRC KIDS WERE POSTED. I AM AN ATTORNEY AND I HAVE BEEN IN THE ADOPTION INDUSTRY FOR 25 YEARS. I HAVE MANY FRIENDS IN THE ADOPTION INDUSTRY FROM ALL OVER THE US. THE EXE DIRECTOR OF AFC IS A PERSONAL FRIEND AND COLLEAGUE. IF A.I.I. HAS A BMOM WHO WANTS A SPECIFIC KIND OF FAMILY THAT A.I.I. DOESNT HAVE, I HAVE CONTACTED MY FRIENDS AT OTHER AGENCIES TO SEE IF THEY HAVE ADOPTIVE PARENTS WHO MIGHT BE A MATCH, AND VICE VERSA. WE WERE SIMPLY TRYING TO SPREAD THE WORD THAT THESE PRECIOUS KIDS NEED A HOME FOR AFC. ON OTHER OCCASIONS, OTHER AGENCIES HAVE ASKED US IF WE HAVE FAMILIES WHO MIGHT WANT TO ADOPT A CERTAIN CHILD. WE HAVE POSTED THAT INFORMATION ON OUR WAITING KID GROUP AND DIRECT THEM TO THE PLACING AGENCY. A.I.I. HAS NO FINANCIAL GAIN IN THIS. JUST TRYING TO REACH MORE FAMILIES. TO ANSWER YOUR QUESTION, THE NEXT STEP WOULD BE FOR THE FAMILY TO CONTACT AFC. SUE POSTED THAT INFO ON THE POST ABOUT THESE GIRLS BUT THE UPSET PARENT WAS NOT INTERESTED IN ANYTHING BUT RAISING A STINK.

Who would guide them through the process of adopting the child?

AFC

Would your agency receive any financial compensation for finding families for the waiting children?

ABSOLUTELY NONE!!!!
So shoot me!! I’m not in it for the $$.

 

Editor’s Note: We also reached out to Alliance For Children but they had not responded to our questions by the time of publication.

Voices for Vietnam Adoption Integrity has learned from multiple sources that an agency that has no legal authority to place children from Vietnam has been advertising “Waiting Children” through a secret Facebook group with nearly 100 members. When questioned about these children, the agency representative responded that they were “partnering” with Alliance For Children, the third and most recent agency to be licensed in Vietnam.

On Saturday, August 29th, Sue Chabler Macklis, Adoption Consultant and Case Manager for Adoptions International Incorporated out of Dallas TX posted photos of a six year old girl, as well as a pair of sisters, all from Vietnam, on the Adoptions International Secret Group on Facebook. When members of the group asked how the agency had these children’s pictures, Macklis and AII founder and Executive Director Jody Hall responded that they were “partnering” with Alliance for Children. When questioned about whether such partnering was allowed under the new process in Vietnam, neither responded and their comments were deleted. It also appeared that several members of the group were banned.

Screen Captures of posts made on a secret group for Adoptions International.  Faces and names were blurred to protect the innocent.

Screen Captures of posts made on a secret group for Adoptions International. Faces and names were blurred to protect the innocent.

secret group 2

 

Only three American agencies are currently authorized to provide adoption services in Vietnam. Those agencies are Holt International, Dillon International, and Alliance for Children. They were authorized under a strict program with very specific requirements and may only place children who meet specific guidelines. It was hoped that if this limited program were successful and remained free of fraud and illegal activity, a wider program may be introduced in the future. Unauthorized agencies “partnering” with the authorized agencies to place children is not allowed under the guidelines of the current program.

The US State Department details the requirements and steps involved in adopting from Vietnam here. The first step outlined is to choose an accredited agency.

Only accredited or approved adoption services providers may act as the primary provider in your case. The primary adoption service provider is responsible for ensuring that all adoption services in the case are done in accordance with the Hague Adoption Convention and U.S. laws and regulations.

Some “partnering” agencies will say that they are just assisting the accredited agency and so therefore it is allowed. However, the State Department further clarifies the role of the agency:

The accredited and authorized U.S. adoption service provider facilitates the adoption on behalf of the prospective adoptive parents, including assembling the application dossier for submission to MOJ/DA, providing logistical support for prospective adoptive parents and their adopted child(ren), and providing post-adoption reports to MOJ/DA. The adoption service provider is also responsible for fully informing prospective adoptive parents about the child’s medical condition, if applicable, so that they can make an informed decision about the adoption.

Clearly, there is no room for another agency in this description. Some families may wish to believe that working with a smaller, more local, or more “personal” agency is worth the risk of deceiving both the Vietnamese and American authorities. If the partner agency’s name is not on any of the legal paperwork, who will know? The question is, why take that risk? Especially when the State Department very clearly states:

The United States will not process intercountry adoptions from Vietnam that fall outside the parameters of the Special Adoption Program.

This is a new and very fragile program and we would hate to see anything hinder the families and children who have taken steps in good faith to carefully follow all of the adoption guidelines. Please do not seek out agencies who are not authorized to facilitate an adoption from Vietnam. In addition, if you learn of agencies who are looking to skirt the rules, or of authorized agencies taking on such “partnerships” we would encourage you to document (via screen capture or other means) all evidence and then pass it along to us or to the State Department. (One means is via the State Department’s Hague Convention webpage. Halfway down the page is a link for submitting complaints.) We thank all of the people who contacted us with information about the activity on this Facebook page. Our best hope for this program is for families to hold ALL agencies accountable and insist on only the most ethical standards.

For more information on the practice and dangers of Partnering, also known as using an “Umbrella” agency, please see this post written before the last shutdown in 2007: Umbrellaing – An Overview.

The U.S. State Department published an alert on June 24th stating that :

Vietnam’s Central Adoption Authority, the Ministry of Justice, announced that it has authorized U.S. accredited adoption service provider Alliance for Children to facilitate the adoption of Vietnamese children under the Special Adoption Program.

It was not made clear why this agency was selected at this time and not when the other two agencies were authorized.

While there are currently adoptions in process with Holt International and Dillon International, no adoptions have been completed yet under the new process.

In March 2014 when we first learned that Alliance For Children was hoping to be licensed in Vietnam, VVAI contacted AFC to attempt to confirm their eligibility for the program as set forth by the standards given by the Vietnamese Department of Adoption.  AFC declined to answer our questions for the record. At present their website features an announcement about their new program in Vietnam and includes the basic parameters set forth by the Vietnamese authorities, as well as contact information to learn more about their program.

Holt International has detailed information about the criteria for their program here. They are advising applicants to expect that the process may take two to three years from application to placement, on average, adding it “may take longer as this is a pilot program between Vietnam and the U.S.”

Dillon International also has detailed information about their criteria for the Vietnam program here, and provide additional information including the estimated cost on their Program Comparison Chart.

As always, VVAI strongly encourages all prospective PAP’s to research all agencies processing adoptions in Vietnam by asking questions about the agency, the in-country staff for each agency, record of adoptions before the last shut-down, in-country programs and projects, as well as each agency’s long term commitment to the country. For more information on choosing an agency, we suggest you start with this post titled “When Adoptions Begin Again.”

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