Vietnamese adoptions need more scrutiny

June 26, 2008

Vietnamese adoptions need more scrutiny

Grand Forks Herald
Published Sunday, June 22, 2008

WASHINGTON — Every parent knows there’s no joy that compares to the blessings of having children and a family. For many Minnesotans, this means joining the myriad of American families who provide a safe and permanent home for about 20,000 children who are adopted annually from other nations.Recently, concerns have been raised about serious problems with the process of adopting children from Vietnam, making international adoptions in this country nearly impossible.

I share concerns over reported instances of fraud and corruption in connection with some adoptions in Vietnam. I believe it’s clear that more effective safeguards are needed to prevent the types of abuses described in recent reports.

At the same time, I believe that suspending adoptions for an indefinite period of time is not in the best interest of the children involved and may not be the most effective means to promote transparency in Vietnam’s adoption system.

In light of this, I am working to encourage other senators and congressmen to join me in working with the government of Vietnam to reach an agreement that would go a long way to better protect children, as well as birth and adoptive parents. Such measures could include an accreditation process for all U.S-based agencies providing services in Vietnam, increased transparency and accountability with regard to fees and strengthening the laws and procedures for prosecuting individuals found to be complicit with fraudulent behavior.

I am urging my colleagues to remain actively engaged in working with Vietnam officials toward establishing a system that protects the best interests of all involved. It is my goal to keep the children of Vietnam safe and to work with the government of Vietnam to allow adoptions to be a more fluid but a well-supervised transition.

I will keep Minnesotans informed of future developments on this important issue going forward.

Norm Coleman

Coleman, a Republican, represents Minnesota in the U.S. Senate.


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