According to an AP news report from late last week, Office of Children’s Issues Special Ambassador Susan Jacobs expects “some adoptions from Vietnam – mostly involving children with special needs…to resume soon. She said a Vietnamese delegation was due in the U.S. next month to interview U.S. adoption agencies with the aim of selecting some to operate in Vietnam.” Of the more than 3 dozen agencies that were licensed in Vietnam before the shutdown in 2008, only one agency has any information on its website about the pending reopening. Alliance for Children(AFC) currently has this announcement on the front page of its website:
At this time, no other agencies have any information on their websites about visits in April, receiving updates about the status of adoptions in Vietnam, or agency accreditation at all. It should be noted that the announcement on the front page of AFC’s website was modified after VVAI contacted the agency for more information. It was their original announcement shown below that prompted us to contact them.
When we saw this original “Big News About Adoptions in Vietnam!” announcement on AFC’s website several weeks ago, VVAI attempted to gather information through the agencies’ website as to the following criteria stated on the Department of State website in July 2013:
Three (3) or more consecutive years of experience providing services in intercountry adoptions in Vietnam.
Five (5) or more consecutive years of experience providing intercountry adoption services to children with special needs, children older than five, and children in sibling groups.
The ASP should be authorized to operate broadly in the United States. Eligible ASPs must have offices in at least five (5) States.
We were unable to verify through published information on their website that Alliance for Children met these three criteria. We then contacted Alliance for Children using the email addresses listed on the announcement and asked the following questions:
1. Why is Alliance for Children soliciting potential adoptive parents for a program that is not yet in existence when the USDOS website explicitly cautions prospective adoptive parents from taking any steps to initiate an inter-country adoption in Vietnam until the Department of State announces that it has determined that U.S. intercountry adoptions from Vietnam may proceed?
2. How long was Alliance for Children operating licensed in Vietnam? What is the date of their first adoption that was completed?
3. How many states does Alliance for Children have actual physical offices in? According to your website, there are only two offices listed with physical address.
4. Would you be willing to give us the actual street addresses of your other “offices” so that we can report that you do indeed meet the criteria of having 5 or more offices.
5. Would you be willing to give proof of providing adoption services for 3 consecutive years in Vietnam? Including how many adoptions were completed each year.
Alliance for Children declined to go on the record in response to any of the above questions, and subsequently changed the placement, prominence and wording of their announcement on their website.
While VVAI is eagerly awaiting the reopening of an ethical adoption program, we are as committed as we have ever been to adoptions in Vietnam being transparent and ethical. We are hopeful that all agencies that are being considered for licensing do indeed meet the requirements set forth by the Government of Vietnam as stated on the state department website and if they are posting announcements about Vietnam adoptions on their public websites, they are willing to go on the record about their qualifications and ability to meet the government of Vietnam’s requirements.