The Trouble With the Christian Adoption Movement

New Republic

Evangelical Americans believed adoption could save children in the developing world from poverty—and save their souls.

In 2009 a Tennessee couple made a life-changing decision. As devout Christians, they decided to open their home to an orphaned girl from Ethiopia, whom they were told had been abandoned. They knew enough from fellow adoptive parents to expect that the process would be long and hard, but as they were waiting for their application to go through, something unexpected happened. A number of Ethiopian staff at their adoption agency were arrested for transporting children to a different region of the country where they could claim the children had been abandoned. (Following a glut of adoption cases where children were said to have been abandoned in the capital city of Addis Ababa, the court had temporarily stopped processing “abandonment adoptions” of children from the city, but were still allowing cases from elsewhere in the country.)

The stories about where the children came from—whether they were abandoned orphans whose parents were unknown, or their parents were poor and had willingly given them up—seemed to change from day to day. Concerned, but by now committed to the child they’d come to think of as their future daughter, the Tennessee family went ahead with the adoption. But, as I wrote in my book The Child Catchers, after they brought the girl back to the United States and she learned enough English to say so, she told them she had another mother. When they called the agency to demand an explanation, the child’s claim was confirmed: their newly adopted daughter was not an orphan.

On a personal level, the news was devastating. The family felt like they’d stolen someone’s child; wanting to find out the truth, they set off on a months-long, and ultimately unsuccessful, attempt to locate their daughter’s biological mother. But their story turned out to be just one of many: a single example of the numerous incidents of adoption corruption that, in the last several years, have helped changed the direction of a powerful adoption movement among U.S. evangelicals.

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Adoption Act Refrom 2015/2016

In December 2015 the Attorney-General asked the Commission to provide recommendations to government on the modernisation of the Adoption Act 1984 and the Adoption Regulations 2008.View the terms of reference.

The Commission will publish a consultation paper in early August 2016, outlining the scope of the inquiry and inviting submissions from the public.  Submissions are welcome after the publication of the consultation paper. The closing date for submissions is 16 September 2016.

During August and September the Commission will also hold formal consultations with individuals and groups. This is an opportunity for all Victorians to have their say. Please contact us by email atlaw.reform@… if you wish to participate in consultations.

All submissions received will be taken into account by the Commission when it formulates its recommendations. Read our submissions policy.

The report and recommendations will be delivered to the Attorney-General by 28 February 2017, and the report will be published after it has been tabled in Parliament.

Intercountry Adoption Support Services



Clients wishing to access the service can do so by calling the central 1300 543 396 service number (LifeWorks National Office) or via email on

As the Coordinator of ICAFS Service, my role is to ensure clients are provided with comprehensive information regarding the service and are referred to their nearest counsellor and/or case manager. We acknowledge that there are already existing referral pathways between agencies, but for clients wishing to access the ICAFS services, we ask that you please refer directly via the 1300 543 396 number



We can also confirm that the following client groups are eligible to access the service:

  • Individuals, couples and families formally engaged in the intercountry adoption process (application submitted)
  • Individuals, couples and families who have completed an intercountry adoption (post placement)
  • Individuals, couples and families who have adopted a child while living overseas and returned to live in Australia with the child (Expatriate Adoption)
  • Children, teens and adult adoptees requiring support

Please keep in mind that the service is provided within the DSS Family and Relationships Services framework, therefore some limitations to access may occur. However, every client will be supported in a way that meets their needs.

Referral Resources and Web presence

We have recently expanded the web presence for the service, including more detailed information on Counselling Support and Case Management. A dedicated page for referral services where digital items can be downloaded and posted on social media platforms or emailed to communities or interest groups has been created. You can also order traditional printed promotional materials (brochure, postcard, fridge magnet) from the site.

I have attached a copy of our eBrochure and A4 flier for your convenience and distribution via networks and further resources can be accessed here

We are keen to promote the service via community and sector events. Please feel free to email me with opportunities where we can support these events and the work being done across the sector.

Thank you for your time and please contact me if you have any questions regarding the above or opportunities where we may work together.

Kind regards,

Gianna Mazzone

Intercountry Adoption Support Coordinator

Intercountry Adoption Family Support Service

LifeWorks Relationship Counselling and Education Services

Level 4, 255 Bourke St
Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

D 03 8650 6228

T 03 8650 6200
F 03 8650 6299


Vietnam Visa Exemption possible for Adoptees

5 year visa exemption

For husbands/wives and children of Vietnamese citizens or overseas Vietnamese, you are probably granted certificate of visa exemption valid for 5 years if submitting the documents listed below at the local embassy:

·     A completed copy of application form for visa exemption

·     02 recent passport photos (taken in color, white background,  face looks straight at the camera, no head coverings or sunglasses)

·     Original passport valid for 6 months after the intended trip, plus one copy to file

·     The documents supporting the relationship between you and your wife/husband/parents such as marriage certificate, birth certificate, documents showing family recognition of your relationship (one copy is required)

·     Other valid documents as regulated by Vietnamese Law.

Time required for the issuance of exemption certificate is around 7 days after the receipt of application.

Please download the exemption application form and find more information on 5-year visa exemption program at

From the

Information on visa exemption


Anchor1. Legal Bases

  • Decree No. 82/2015 / ND-CP of September 24, 2015 on the exemption of visas to Vietnam residing abroad and foreigners are spouses, children of Vietnam residing abroad or Vietnam’s citizens

Anchor2. Duration, value and appearance of visa exemption certificate

  • Visa exemption certificate includes the following 02 categories:

– Type paste : visa exemption certificate is pasted on the foreign passport of the Vietnam residing abroad and foreigners to enter Vietnam.

– Type of book : visa exemption certificate for the Vietnam residing abroad only paper issued by foreign permanent residents and people using passports of countries and territories that Vietnam does not have diplomatic relations.

  • Visa-free paper with a term not exceeding 05 years and a shorter duration of use of passports or valid documents for international travel of persons granted at least 06 months.
  • Granted visa exemption certificates for entry to Vietnam to visit relatives, settling personal affairs.
  • Granted visa exemption certificates to passports; The following cases were issued separately (in window):

a) passport has expired visa page

b) passport of the country do not have diplomatic relations with Vietnam

c) Papers valuable international travel

d) At the request of the person granted the visa exemption

e) For reasons of diplomacy, defense and security.

  • Granted visa exemption certificates for each person. Children who share their parents’ passports are granted visa-free with parent

Anchor3. Dossiers for granting visa exemption

Asian. For Vietnam residing abroad, a dossier comprises:

  • 01 declaration (form);
  • 02 new color photographs capture 4×6 cm, white background, straight face, bareheaded, no colored glasses (01 photo attached to the application form, 01 spare photo);
  • Foreign passport or valuable papers for international travel or permanent residence permit papers by the competent authorities of foreign countries still valid for at least 01 years (a copy attached to the competent authorities visa exemption certificate on file);
  • Documents evidencing that the visa exemption certificate ( certified copy of the original or copies enclosed for comparison ), if any:

– Citizenship certificates Vietnam;

– A copy or excerpt decision to return to Vietnam nationality;

– A copy or excerpt of Decision for renunciation Vietnam;

– Certificate of loss of nationality Vietnam;

– Passport Vietnam (longer or expired);

– Identity card (still or expired);

– Birth certificate;

– The latest voter cards;

– Registration book;

– Passport issued before 1975;

– Identification issued before 1975;

– The report extracts of birth certificates issued before the Ministry in 1975;

– Document issued by the competent authority of a foreign country if stating that persons granted citizenship papers or original principal Vietnam.

 b. For foreigners who are spouses or children of citizens of Vietnam or Vietnam who settled abroad, a dossier comprises:

  • 01 declaration (form);
  • 02 new color photographs capture 4×6 cm, white background, straight face, bareheaded, no colored glasses (01 photo attached to the application form, 01 spare photo);
  • Foreign passport or valuable papers for international travel are still valid for at least 01 years (a copy attached to the competent authority to file);
  • One of the proofs related wives, husbands, children with Vietnam residing abroad following ( authenticated copy of the original or copies enclosed for comparison ):

– Marriage certificate;

– Birth certificate;

– Certificate of paternity, mothers and children;

– The other valuable papers in accordance with the law of Vietnam;

– Decision on adoption.

Anchor4. Re-issuance of visa exemption

Asian. The case is lost, damaged, expired or have a need to adjust the content of visa exemption certificate is re-granted visa exemption.

b. Dossiers for re-grant visa exemptions include:

  • Foreign passport or valuable papers for international travel or permanent residence permit papers by the competent authorities of foreign countries is still valid for at least 01 years (a copy attached to the competent authorities visa exemption certificate on file);
  • 01 declaration (form);
  • 2 new color photographs capture 4×6 cm, white background, straight face, bareheaded, no colored glasses (01 photo attached to the application form, 01 spare photo);
  • Where the visa exemption certificates lost should pay more privacy menu.
  • Certified copies from originals, or enclosed with the original for comparison, the proof of the content should be adjusted in the visa waiver.

Anchor5. Apply for issuance / re-issuance of visa exemption

Applicant / re-issuance of visa exemption residing abroad submit 01 dossier under the above provisions in the competent agencies of Vietnam visa abroad ( Vietnam representative offices in foreign ) “.

Anchor6. The time limit for issuance of visa exemption

Within 01 working days from the date of receipt of complete dossiers, the competent authorities of Vietnam visa information transfer abroad of the request for issuance of a visa exemption for the Immigration Department.

Within 03 working days, the Immigration Department to consider and answer the competent agencies of Vietnam visa abroad.

Within 01 working days of receiving notification of the Immigration Department, the competent authorities of Vietnam visa exemption certificate abroad visa.

Anchor7. Fees

  • The grantee and re-issuance of visa exemption must pay a fee in accordance with the law on charges and fees.
  • No charges for application processing granted visa exemption for diplomatic missions records are received from the date of 23.11.2015.


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