MORE than 200 Irish couples seeking to adopt children in Vietnam will welcome new moves to restart adoption procedures between both countries.
Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said she wanted officials from the Adoption Authority of Ireland to travel to Vietnam to seek an administrative agreement to speed up the measures to recommence adoptions.
The minister said she was meeting the authority this week as a matter of urgency.
A large number of Irish couples were in the process of adopting Vietnamese children when all adoptions from the country were suspended in January last year.
Couples were deeply upset and many had reached an advanced stage in the process.
The suspension was imposed after a report commissioned by the United Nations and Vietnamese authorities found a very unhealthy relationship between mediating agencies and residential institutions in Vietnam.
Disturbing details emerged about the circumstances of how some babies were deemed to be adoptable.
Vietnam signed the Hague Convention on the Protection of Children in December and is expected to fully ratify it shortly which should lead to a resumption of adoptions to Ireland.
New adoption legislation came into effect here five months ago when Ireland formally ratified the convention.
The legislation means adoptions can only take place with countries that have signed up to the treaty or have a bilateral agreement with Ireland which ensures high standards to protect children.
The new legislation has helped clear up some of the uncertainty which surrounded foreign adoptions last year.
The Adoption Authority re-issued a warning last month about people seeking to adopt handing over money under the guise of "humanitarian aid".
The authority said it had noticed that in a number of recent applications for registration of adoption "substantial amounts of money", described as humanitarian aid or donation was handed to agencies abroad.
Irish officials said prospective adoptive parents are reminded that humanitarian aid or donations should not be associated with individual children being adopted.
It stressed that the very greatest care must be exercised at all times "as regards the matter of any payments which are made in relation to any part of the adoption process".