The adoption agreement between the United States and Vietnam expired on September 1st, 2008. At that time, both nations agreed to stop processing new adoption cases until the United States and Vietnam sign a new agreement.
In 2008, the Department of State and United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) strongly encouraged prospective adoptive parents not to try to find children to adopt in Vietnam until after a new adoption agreement between the two countries has been signed. The situation has not changed during the past three and a half years.
The processing of adoption cases for children from Vietnam will resume when the United States and Vietnam enter into a new agreement on adoptions, or when the Government of Vietnam begins to follow the Hague Convention on Inter-country Adoptions.
In April last year, it was announced that the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) was contributing to a new United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) program to help officials create regulations meeting international standards covering child adoption in Vietnam. Since September 2008, Vietnam has worked closely with UNICEF to reform its adoption system, with a new Law on Adoption taking effect on January 1, 2011.
However, on February 2nd this year, it was announced that US CIS is unable to resume processing of adoptions from Vietnam. The Department of State (DOS) has determined that Vietnam has not proven capable of meeting its obligations under The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption (Hague Adoption Convention). As a result, DOS consular officers cannot issue the required Hague Adoption Certificate or Hague Custody Declaration.
USCIS can only approve a Form I-800 in a Hague Convention adoptee case after DOS has issued a certification of compliance under the Hague Adoption Convention and the Intercountry Adoption Act of 2000. At this time, DOS cannot issue certificates in Vietnamese adoption cases. Until further notice, USCIS will not be able to approve any Form I-800 that is filed on behalf of a child to be adopted from Vietnam.
Before the U.S. and Vietnam ratified the Hague Adoption Convention, Vietnamese intercountry adoption cases were processed on USCIS Forms I-600A, Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition, and I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative. These intercountry adoptions took place under a bilateral agreement between the U.S. and Vietnam that expired Sept. 1, 2008. On Oct. 16, 2008, USCIS announced the U.S. and Vietnam would not resume new adoption cases until both countries signed either a new bilateral agreement or Vietnam agreed to, and complied with, the Hague Adoption Convention.
USCIS will promptly advise the public when DOS determines Vietnam can meet its obligations to the Hague Adoption Convention, which will allow USCIS to process Forms I-800 for adoptions from Vietnam.
Q. 1. Adopting a child from Vietnam is not possible now. What options are available to prospective adoptive parents.
A.1. The obvious option is to adopt a child in the States. There are Asian children available for adoption and the process of adopting a child in America is certainly less costly than an overseas adoption.
There is another option, but it is one that is rarely used. For example, if a child is officially adopted in Vietnam before reaching 16 years of age, and the child lives with the adoptive parent for two years, then that child can be included among the family members who are petitioned by the US relative. In this situation, there must be convincing evidence that the child’s natural parents had little or no contact with the child following the adoption and that the adoption was not done just for immigration purposes.
ROBERT MULLINS INTERNATIONAL www.rmiodp.com
Immigration Support Services-Tham Van Di Tru
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