International adoptions, also known as intercountry adoptions, have been helping pair children with parents since 1955. Since then the international community has formed the Hague Adoption Convention, bringing almost a hundred different nations including Vietnam, to a standard that focuses on the safety of the children.
International adoption from Vietnam is a process that is similar to other Hague Convention adoptions. There are a set of rules that you must follow in order to be eligible for adoptions from Vietnam. You must go through the proper channels, file the correct paperwork and obtain a home study from a Hague accredited agency. The overall process and costs total between $25,000 to $35,000.
Vietnam has a long history of orphaned children. Many children in Vietnam do not live in a stable environment and a lot of the children there are born with special needs.
The history of Vietnam’s orphans goes back, partly, to the Vietnam war. Many of the children who were born at that time, were children of both soldiers and the Vietnamese. Because of this, neither side wanted to claim these kids, many of them ending up in orphanages.
Since then things have changed dramatically, but still, there are many children who are born with special needs, due in part to their history of poverty and lack of social welfare.
Vietnam kept itself isolated up until the late ’70s and early 1980’s when the communist party, opened the country up to reforms that would help shape the country into a growing nation, allowing more influence from the international community.
In 2008 international adoptions from Vietnam were banned by the U.S. after investigations found that many of the children there were being sold, not adopted.
People there were being paid as much as $10,000 for a finder’s fee for children who would be sold or adopted internationally. Many families were being pressured to give away children for this reason.
Some even just flat-out sold their kids for financial gain. That caused the U.S. to shut down all international adoptions from Vietnam for a time.
In 2012 Vietnam became a party to the Hague Adoption Convention, tightening the regulations for intercountry adoptions.
It was in 2014 when the United States made a special agreement with Vietnam to start allowing children who are over the age of 5 or that have special needs to continue to be adopted to the U.S.
International Adoption from Vietnam Process
We’ve put together a brief overview for the process of adopting a child from Vietnam.
- Find an Agency
- Adoption Application
- Home Study
- Travel to Vietnam
- Escorting the Child Home
- Immigration to U.S.
- Post Adoption
Finding an Agency
You will want to choose an agency that best suits your needs. It helps to pick an agency that has a history with Vietnamese adoptions. This will help with the process since they will already have a dedicated Vietnam relationship.
Because Vietnam is part of the Hague Convention you will need to find an accredited agency.
After you have found the perfect agency to help assist in your adoption you will fill out the adoption application and your journey to becoming a parent to a Vietnamese child will start!
There is a process called “Home Study” where the agency you choose will send a social worker to your home to interview you and the others who live there, in order to make sure that your home is a stable environment for a child.
The home study can sometimes take multiple visits and a lot of your private information will be shared with the social worker.
You may not be used to having your private life put out in the open, but this is an important step that helps safeguard the children from the wrong kind of people.
A dossier is a group of documents and interviews put together by the agency and social worker that places all your information, documents and home interviews in one place. The dossier will include your government paperwork, agency paperwork and more.
Traveling to Vietnam
In most international adoptions you must travel to the country to meet the child and bring them home.
You will need to do a fair amount of research on the costs for the plane tickets, transportation in Vietnam as well as food and lodging.
Escorting the Child Home to the U.S.
After you have completed all of the paperwork in Vietnam you will escort the child back to the United States.
Child’s Immigration to the U.S.
You will then have to gain a visa for the child and start the immigration process back to the United States. This is done through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Post-adoption happens once you bring the child home. A social worker will return for post interviews and final paperwork. They will want to observe you and the child in the new environment.
They will sometimes need to make multiple visits and the process can sometimes take years although usually just a few months.
Who is Eligible to Adopt a Child from Vietnam?
If you are considering adopting a child from Vietnam, there a few things you will want to know concerning eligibility.
Vietnam has relaxed regulations, compared to some other countries, when it comes to who can adopt.
Adoptions from Vietnam are open to married couples and single parents. You must be between the ages of 25 and 55 and must be at least 20 years older than the child you wish to adopt.
Married couples must be married for at least 2 years, and if either spouse has had a divorce in the past, you must be married for a minimum of 3 years.
You can have no more than 5 children prior to the adoption.
Since Vietnam is part of the Hague Convention you must also pass a criminal background check and provide fingerprints.
People who have a criminal history of theft, or abuse will not be considered. However, if you have some small thing on your record, don’t sweat it, just be upfront about it from the beginning.
You must also be able to pass a physical and have no mental problems such as schizophrenia and other personality disorders.
What Children are Available for Adoption in Vietnam?
Vietnam does have some rules and regulations regarding which children are available for adoption.
In April of 2019, they strengthened the standard for placing healthy children in the homes of relatives first (a standard used by the Hague Convention.)
There are no healthy children under the age of 5 that are available for adoption from Vietnam.
The only children under the age of 5 that can be adopted are children with special needs.
Vietnam has a huge number of children with disabilities and special needs. A lot of the children have inherited disabilities due to chemicals previously used in warfare, as well as lead poisoning and other issues that arise from being in a country with low health standards.
Some sibling groups are also available for adoption from Vietnam.
Parents may also choose the gender of the child they wish to adopt.
How to Research International Adoptions from Vietnam
We have put together a few tips for starting on your research for adopting a child internationally from Vietnam.
- Research, research, research
- Choose the right agency
- Start early on paperwork
- Get the background check done
- Do research on Vietnam
- Find info on transportation and lodging
- Research the visa and immigration process
One of the most important parts when considering an international adoption is the research. You do not want to go into this blindly, so we hope we can help you a little bit along the way.
Adoption Agency Research
The adoption agency you choose will play a huge role in your adoption, so you will want to do as much research on the different agencies as possible.
Each agency has different rules, and different processes for getting the adoption completed.
Most important is to pick an agency that has a history with Vietnam adoptions.
The agency you pick must be accredited by the Hague Convention.
Start the Paperwork Early
The more paperwork you can get out of the way before the process starts the better. There are lots of documents and papers that you must fill out when adopting a child internationally from Vietnam.
Pro Tip – Make sure you make multiple copies of all paperwork so that you will have enough to go around to the different agencies involved as well as for your own records.
It is important that you record every part of the process so that later you will have a complete record for yourself and for your child.
The Background Check
Countries that are a party to the Hague Convention require a background check and fingerprinting. It’s best practice to get these done before you start your process of applying.
This helps clear you from the beginning for eligibility.
You will also be required to get fingerprinted by the FBI to make sure that you are who you say you are.
You need to research the country you wish to adopt from. Knowing as much as you can about the culture, language and struggles that the kids are subject to will help you better understand your journey.
You are not just adopting a child but also their cultural history and, in most cases, you will be required to stay in contact with their family.
In countries that do not speak English, you will also need to consider hiring a translator.
Transportation and Lodging
Depending on how your agency works you will oversee setting up your plane tickets as well as transportation, food, and lodging once you are in Vietnam.
You must stay for 2-3 weeks in Vietnam, so make sure you have researched the best possible candidates for these.
Visa and Immigration Process
After you have stayed in Vietnam with the child for a minimum of 10 days, and completed the process there, (2-3 weeks) you will need to obtain a visa and start the immigration process.
We have a list of some of the visa and immigration forms in the resource section at the end of the article.
Some Interesting Facts about Vietnam
Vietnam has a population of almost 100 million and is the 15th most populous country in the world. It is located in Southeast Asia, just south of China and Thailand.
The capital is Hanoi and the most populated city is Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnams people can be traced back to the paleolithic age. Vietnamese kingdoms developed and spread through Southeast Asia.
South Vietnam has multiple coasts and is a tropical region. There are many tourist destinations in Vietnam, and it is currently considered safe for travel.
What are the Costs Involved with International Adoption from Vietnam?
There are many costs that go into an international adoption, from paperwork, to travel costs and government fees.
Each adoption agency has different sets of fees as well as different options that they provide, and every country has a different country fee (also known as program or government fee).
Let’s take a closer look at the costs and fees involved.
- Application fee
- Home study costs
- Dossier fee
- Country fee
- Travel costs
- Post-placement costs
Projected (estimated) costs:
|Home Study Costs||$1,500-$2,750|
|Post Placement Fees||$700-$1400|
Some other costs that could apply:
- Legal Fees
- Translation Fees
You may also decide to hire a lawyer to help with the process if so, there will be some legal fees up to about $2,000.
In countries that do not speak English, you may also choose to hire a translator. These costs can vary depending on your source.
You must also provide documents for proof of income and net worth. These show all parties involved that you are financially able to take care of a child.
If you need help raising funds for the travel and program fees, there are many fundraising techniques that can help.
Such as: BBQ Events, Walk-a-thons, grants, loans.
Just because you may not be wealthy, does not mean you can’t afford to adopt a child internationally. While you must show that you can be financially responsible for raising a child, you do not necessarily have to provide all the costs for the adoption yourself.
Consider asking for donations and help from friends and family first then seek out charities or organizations that may help raise the funds.
Some Resources for Adopting Internationally from Vietnam
We have put together some resources for you when continuing your journey for international adoption from Vietnam.
When adopting a child from a Hague Convention country you will need to complete these documents:
Visa and immigration documents – Form DS-260
Vaccination document – Form DS-1981
USCIS website – Vietnam
What Can Go Wrong with an International Adoption?
There are many things can hold up the process when adopting a child internationally, however, most of these can be fixed easily.
The first thing you need to do is have realistic expectations. You may be looking for only healthy children or other stipulations that you expect to be met that just aren’t possible with adoptions from Vietnam.
You cannot adopt children under the age of 5 in Vietnam unless they have special needs.
If you do not feel that you are able to meet the responsibilities of a special needs child, or an older child, then you will want to research other possible countries for adoption.
Sometimes there can be paperwork holding you back, small errors, or pages not submitted. Usually, your social worker and adoption agency can help find the thing that is holding up the process.
Let them know that you are stuck on a certain thing and they will assist you in finding what it is.
Always have a backup plan for every outcome. You should make sure that you have researched multiple sources for transportation and lodging. If one falls through while you are there, you will be much better off if you have already sourced more than one.
Can you adopt siblings? Vietnam does in some cases allow you to adopt sibling groups. This is done on a case by case basis. If all parties agree that it is best to keep the children together, and you are financially able to raise multiple children then you will be considered.
Is it safe to travel to Vietnam? It is currently safe to travel to Vietnam. The country has become a tourist destination, with coastal cities, and a tropical climate that makes it a desired travel destination. It also borders Thailand which is another popular travel destination for Americans.