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Hopes raised on adoptions from Vietnam

ADOPTION lines between Ireland and Vietnam are set to reopen by autumn, the Herald can reveal.

Intense negotiations, aimed at allowing Irish couples to adopt children from the Asian country, should reach a conclusion by June.

The news will come as a massive boost to around 200 families who were in the process of adopting a child from Vietnam when a bilateral adoption agreement ended in May 2009.

Efforts are also underway to open channels with agencies in Russia and Ethiopia which have not signed up to stricter rules under the Hague Convention.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald told the Herald today that a delegation from Vietnam is due in Dublin before June.

She acknowledged that people have been "disappointed so often in relation to this" but said officials have overcome all remaining roadblocks.

"We will open up Vietnam," she confirmed, noting that huge progress was made when she travelled there last year.

"Given the visit I had and the very position response, I'm expecting the Vietnamese authorities over here before June and I'm hoping that at that point we will have clarified any of the issue.


"There is no reason why adoptions shouldn't open up between Ireland and Vietnam."

Some 19 couples were at an advanced stage of adopting a Vietnamese child when the inter-country agreement lapsed in May 2009. Another 200 were at an early stage in the process.

Many of those have been left in limbo ever since, but Ms Fitzgerald said she is now determined to resolve the issue to get an answer to the adoption situation.

Ms Fitzgerald said that there is a changed environment since Ireland ratified the Hague Convention in 2010.

"We have a changed situation. In terms of preparation for it, many parents have been taken aback at the change," said the minister.

Her department was working to re-open connections with Russia and Ethiopia.

"There is a lot of work under way. Many Irish parents have adopted from Ethiopia and they want to adopt a second child.

"Ethiopia hasn't signed the Hague Convention but I took a decision to see if our laws can be compatible with what they are doing. I did the same with Russia," Ms Fitzgerald told the Herald.