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Friday, May 23, 2008

A Child's Right Campaign for Vietnam

The Joint Council on International Children's Services has announced A Child's Right Campaign for Vietnam. The purpose of the campaign is to urge he US to work with Vietnam to continue ethical adoptions for children who need families. An end to adoptions from Vietnam is not the answer. The true orphans of Vietnam deserve the love of a family.

A Pending Crisis

The U.S. Department of State has expressed concerns related to corruptive practices associated with intercountry adoption between the U.S. and Vietnam.
In response to their concerns, the Department of State will allow the functional closure of adoptions on September 1, 2008 and thereby end one of the most basic of human rights: the right to a safe, permanent and loving family.

Not only will those orphans eligible for adoption continue to suffer the detriments of orphanage life, so will thousands of other orphans and vulnerable children. This is because the service providers engaged in finding U.S. families for Vietnamese orphans also provide a myriad of services to the most vulnerable of children.

As a result, the end of intercountry adoption with Vietnam also brings the end of social services such as family preservation and counseling. It also marks the end of humanitarian services such as educational sponsorships, clean water programs and many health related initiatives.

End Corruption, Not a Child’s Right to a Family

While Joint Council shares in many of the Department of State’s concerns, we believe the solution is not the termination of adoption and elimination of a child’s right to a family. Joint Council, its Member Organizations, NGO’s including Ethica—a leading voice for ethical adoption, the Vietnamese government and Members of the United States Congress firmly believe that the solution is a rational child-centered approach designed to strengthen services, regulate providers and prosecute violators.

Please, email JCICS at BEFORE May 30. Let them know you support A Child's Right Campaign for Vietnam. Your email will be included in a petition to congress. Let congress know you support the true orphans of Vietnam, and that improving the current system is the right thing to do.

Thank you for your support. A.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Precious Gift

Today I got a special surprise in the mail. I received the most thoughtful Mother's Day gift from a dear friend from out of town. She sent me a wonderful book called
Motherbridge of Love from Barefoot Books. It is the sweetest book and a most thoughtful gift. The book is an illustrated poem about the role Mothers and Birth Mothers play in who an adopted child is. Of course, I cried when I read it. It was so heartwarming. I'm already looking forward to sharing the book with our son. Click here to listen to Amy Tan read the poem.

These last few weeks have been emotional. With even more uncertainties in Vietnam adoptions and the approaching Mother's Day holiday... It's been hard to keep my spirits up. There couldn't have been a better time to receive such a special surprise. It just takes a little nudge once and a while to boost my confidence that this adoption WILL happen, and our baby boy will be home with us in time. We are still in a race to make the September 1 deadline for referrals. We hope to be matched with our baby boy at any time now.

Also in adoption news, it is feared that Vietnam adoptions may close to all of the US due to a small number of "unethical players". Two groups are working for support from lawmakers to help Vietnam adoptions. Ethica has posted information on their website explaining how you can help. They have a sample letter as well as links to websites for your state representatives. Please consider faxing, calling, or emailing them in support of ethical adoptions from Vietnam. Please, show your support for helping legitimate adoptions to continue. JCICS will be launching a similar campaign soon. I will pass on that information as I know more. Here is the response I got from Senator Richard Lugar:

Thank you for contacting me about adoptions from Vietnam.

You are not alone in expressing concerns about the pace of adoptions in Vietnam. In response to many letters from Hoosiers, my staff has contacted officials at the Department of Homeland Security to raise your concerns. Currently there is only one full-time Department of Homeland Security official in Ho Chi Minh City who is assisted by two local staff. However, subsequent to our inquiry, an additional Department of Homeland Security officer has been assigned to assist in the backlog of adjudications. My office has been in regular contact with officials from the Departments of State and Homeland Security to reinforce to them the need to expedite adoptions in Vietnam. I will continue to closely monitor the situation.

As a member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, I share your concern that the United States remains a strong advocate for fair, transparent, and compassionate adoption policies worldwide.

Thank you, again, for contacting me.


Richard G. Lugar
United States Senator

Please consider passing on this information to your friends and families. Let your voices be heard. It would be a shame for needy children to miss out on having a loving family because the two countries gave up on negotiations too soon.
Thanks for your support! Thanks "Angela Phillpot" for the wonderful gift! A.