The United States and Vietnam have announced plans to once again allow the adoption of children between the two countries, six years after the practice was banned.
US citizens will be able to adopt Vietnamese children over the age of five, as well as those with special needs, once the Vietnamese government confirms which American adoption agencies are certified to represent parents internationally.
In 2008, the US suspended adoption of Vietnamese children amid concerns that babies were being sold without the consent of their birth parents, and that secret “baby factories” (similar to those found in Nigeria and Thailand) were being run for profit.
The popularity of Vietnam with Americans looking to adopt created a demand for commercial baby-selling, raising ethical concerns amongst US agencies.
The lifting of the ban will mean that Vietnam and the US will once again begin to interact with each other the Hague Adoption Convention. Both countries are members of this international agreement regulating adoptions and child-trafficking, which currently has 91 signatories.
Photo of the Vietnam flag by little_ram via Flickr