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Vietnam Program adoption options expand

As we look forward to 2021, I want to share some good news. The Department of State posted the following adoption notice on their website on December 31, 2020.

Official Joint Announcement: Expanded Hague Adoption Convention Processing with the United States following the Conclusion of the Special Adoption Program (SAP) in Vietnam

The Department of State is pleased to announce that effective December 31, 2020, Vietnam will expand the categories of children that are eligible for intercountry adoption with the United States under the Hague Adoption Convention. This follows Vietnam lifting the limitations of the Special Adoption Program, which previously allowed processing only for children with special needs, over five years old, and/or in biological sibling groups.

The United States and Vietnam held discussions from June to September 2020 on intercountry adoptions with an emphasis on our mutual commitment to cooperate on child protection issues. We acknowledge Vietnam’s legal improvements, particularly under Decree 24/2019/ND-CP, to better align with the Hague Adoption Convention. Vietnam’s commitment to ongoing adoption reform is demonstrated by the progress made to build necessary safeguards and infrastructure, and meet its obligations under the Convention. Such significant improvements have contributed to a determination to process intercountry adoption cases for all eligible children under the Convention and follow the respective laws of the two countries.

Vietnam has not expressed plans to change the current limitation on the number of U.S. adoption service providers (ASPs) authorized to operate in Vietnam. These decisions are entirely within the jurisdiction of the Vietnamese government and these limitations exist for all partner countries participating in intercountry adoptions.

Vietnam and the United States will continue to process cases previously started under the Special Adoption Program to completion for children already determined eligible for intercountry adoption with interested U.S. prospective adoptive parents (PAPs) and/or for which U.S. PAPs have already completed dossiers. For cases other than those mentioned above, processing shall be in accordance with current Vietnamese law and in conformity with the Convention. There will not be changes to how cases are processed by the United States; U.S. PAPs will continue to use the Form I-800 for the Hague Adoption Convention process.

For more information, please visit Vietnam’s country information page on

With this announcement, the U.S. and Vietnam have jointly agreed to end the Special Adoption Program that was initiated in 2014. Under the Special Adoption Program, American families were restricted to adopting children with special needs, children over 5 years old, and biological sibling groups. Since that time Dillon International has placed 55 children with families. The adoption notice recognizes the improved alignment between Vietnam adoptions and the Hague Convention with the implementation of Vietnam adoption law revisions.

The Vietnam Ministry of Justice Department of Adoption has authorized 28 adoption agencies from 12 countries to facilitate intercountry adoptions for the children of Vietnam. Dillon International is one of the three agencies in the United States. The Department of Adoption has placed quotas on the number of dossiers that can be submitted by each agency per year. However, they also have the discretion to exempt dossiers from the quota for children with special needs and older children. Our priority as an agency will be to continue focusing on and advocating for these children to find families, while also recognizing the new opportunity for children under 5 years old with more minor needs to be adopted.

We applaud the end of the Special Adoption Program and hope it will result in more Vietnamese children being given the chance to be adopted, but as with anything new, it will take time to understand the full implications of this decision.

If you are interested in reviewing the updated Vietnam country information on the

Department of State website please visit

In addition to sharing this news, we would like to make you aware of our need to find more adoptive families who actively practice the Catholic faith. We place children from both public orphanages and private Catholic orphanages in Vietnam. Oftentimes, the Directors of Catholic orphanages have a strong desire for the children in their care to be adopted by families who can honor the child’s baptism in the Catholic faith and provide the child the opportunity to grow up in their faith. In these situations, we will provide the orphanage Director with documentation from the prospective adoptive parents such as baptismal certificates and a letter of good standing from a parish priest to help assure the Director the family will honor their wishes.

If you are interested in learning more about our Vietnam Adoption Program please visit our Vietnam Adoption Program Page.

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