News of the corruption in the Vietnam adoption system is everywhere this week. It has been so discouraging to read this: http://vietnam.usembassy.gov/irreg_adoptions042508.html. Today I encountered for the first time the negative bias that this reporting has fed, and I am heartsick. Although these reports appear to be truth, the other part of the story is the Vietnam we witnessed...prevalent poverty, an orphanage full of children (without anyone standing in line to "buy" them), and a culture that will rarely adopt its own, as the prevailing cultural attitude is that a child cannot be yours unless there is a blood relation (this information learned by visiting with a Vietnamese tour guide who inquired why we were adopting).
For the sake of the legitimate orphans that are homeless and those that long to love them, I want to share a little bit about how Holt International, our agency, operates. One question we wondered about when beginning our adoption journey was why the age of the children that are adopted through Holt is higher than most other agencies. We learned that Holt works first to place the child with birth family. If that is not a fit, adoption within the country is the next focus, as they believe that would be the best for the child. If that option is exhausted, it is at that point, the child is referred for intercountry adoption. So, children are not just swept away to America, as it might appear. In one of the several articles we have read on this adoption corruption, we learnedthat the number of abortions in Vietnam exceeded live births last year. Remember the little ones of Vietnam in your prayers, as there are many that need love.