For Vietnamese Adoptees (VADs)
ICAV met with the Ministry of Justice, the Central Authority, the highest authority for Intercountry Adoption in Vietnam, on 9 March 2018. This meeting was facilitated by the Australian Department of Social Services (DSS) and Australian Embassy in Hanoi.
The key points to share with fellow VADs are:
Under existing laws, all adopted children retain their Vietnamese citizenship. You only lose your birth citizenship if your adoptive country stipulates single citizenship. This can sometimes be the case if you have joined the Army or some organisation in your adoptive country that requires single citizenship.
Under newest Residency Laws, anyone who was born in Vietnam has a birth certificate. If it is lost you can register to get a new one. For an adopted child, you get given a Vietnamese birth certificate. If it is lost, you can register with the relevant authority, your Adoptive Country Embassy, in Vietnam to request a copy.
If you desire Dual Citizenship, check with your Adoptive County on whether your Vietnamese Citizenship is allowed under their laws.
An update on the Database to capture intercountry adoption data
Aim of the database is to ensure digital access to intercountry adoptions processed by Vietnam since the Department of Adoption was established from 2003 and since becoming a signatory to The Hague Convention in January 2011 when the Law on Adoption came into force. Currently, paperwork sits in local area profile centres (provinces) and police stations and it’s a very manual process to trawl thru’ hundreds of boxes and find papers.
For example, if we needed to track down a birth certificate for an adoptee, it is based on finding paperwork in the province of birth.
Currently only 20 provinces have managed to update intercountry adoption information into the database spreadsheet. MoJ estimates by Jan 2020 to have all province information included for adoptions.
Searching for Birth Certificates and Paperwork
If you know your name at birth, district/province where born, and year .. this is the information required to search for your documents.
Please be mindful that in Vietnam, weather conditions and the manner of storing documents is not the same as Western standards. So documentation from decades ago may not be in good condition nor easy or possible to find.
For intercountry adoptions processed since Vietnam became a signatory to The Hague Convention in 2011, adoption paperwork is available from the Province AND the MoJ. You can request a copy via your Embassy. There could be a small fee for paying for things like mailing of documents from local district to province. The quickest and safest way to request your documents is via your Embassy in Hanoi.
For adoptees prior to 2011, the Vietnamese law says that the Vietnamese Govt has an obligation to meet our requests and in principle, is very supportive of adult adoptees wanting to know their origins. But they currently have no formal Post Adoption Supports due to resources.
If you have any information about original identity or place of birth, contact via your Embassy to see if anything can be found. In some cases, they acknowledged sometimes there will be no basic way to help because of no information or if it was incorrect.
As an outcome of this meeting, it has been officially recorded and sent above to the Vietnamese Government, that adult Vietnamese intercountry adoptees exist and want to come back to Vietnam – that we are asking for formal post adoption services.
In the years to come, ICAV hopes to see the Vietnam Govt provide and fund some basic post adoption supports for returning Vietnamese adoptees from around the world.