Sweden to halt adoption programme with Vietnam

Other News Materials 22 October 2008 21:07 (UTC +04:00)

The Swedish government is set to halt an adoption programme with Vietnam over fears of irregularities, reports said Wednesday, dpa reported.

The pending cabinet decision, due Thursday, is based on evaluations that suggest that biological parents were not always aware their children were put up for adoption and were sometimes offered cash for their children.

Health and Social Affairs Minister Goran Hagglund told Swedish radio news that there were "disturbing signals" that not all adoptions from Vietnam were permissible.

The current agreement with Vietnam is due to expire in the autumn of 2009.

Hagglund said there were no signs that Vietnam was willing to admit to the problems.

In September, the United States suspended adoptions from Vietnam over similar concerns.

The Swedish adoption agency Adoptionscentrum, which has handled thousands of international adoptions since 1969, said the decision was a "severe blow" to families waiting to adopt.

Each year, Adoptionscentrum handles some 400 adoptions from some 20 countries. Vietnam accounts for about 50 cases a year and, unlike some other countries, allows single parents to adopt. It has also refrained from implementing an age limit for prospective parents.

Jan Goransson, chairman of the agency, said the Swedish government should have tried to enter into dialogue with Vietnam over the concerns.