We write as parents of an adopted child from Vietnam. There are dozens of Vietnam-born adopted children in the Triangle, including at least ten in Durham.
It takes a village to raise a child, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.
Apparently there are exceptions. For three years, 16 orphaned preschoolers have been held in a prison turned orphanage in Bac Lieu, Vietnam. They eat one cup of rice per day. They have leg sores and pneumonia. Starved for affection, they run to every grownup they see.
And each has had an American family trying to adopt them since infancy.
Yet our own American government is barring these families from bringing the children home.
The Bac Lieu adoptions were well-underway in 2008 when the U.S. and Vietnam decided to end the adoption program. The Department of State first told the families they could complete their adoptions. Now DoS won’t even let them visit the children.
Our own family barely escaped this agonizing bind. Had our adoption begun a few months later, we would not have.
Secretary Clinton could solve this by asking Vietnam’s Prime Minister to “grandfather” these adoptions. But the U.S. is trying to force Vietnam to accept a new set of international adoption procedures called the Hague Protocol.
So it is treating 16 orphaned three-and four-year-olds like political prisoners—except worse -- in order to do so.
Secretary Clinton, please. Pick up the phone.
Rah Bickley and John O’Brien
Indy Week • 302 E. Pettigrew St., Suite 300, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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