12. Remarks at the signing of U.S.-Vietnam adoption agreement
Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs
June 21, 2005
Minister Uong, members of the Vietnamese delegation, Congressman Delahunt, and distinguished guests:
I am delighted to welcome you to the Delegates Lounge at the Department of State. It is an honor for me to represent the Unites States as we formally commit to an agreement that has been many months in the making, and that reflects an important milestone in the thriving cooperative relationship between the U.S. and Vietnam.
The agreement we sign today is an important step toward establishing a transparent adoption system between the United States and Vietnam that reflects our abiding commitment to protecting the interests of orphaned children, their birth parents, and prospective adoptive parents in the United States.
This is only the latest step on a path we have traveled together, both in the United States and in Vietnam, over the last three years. And in some ways it is the first step on a new path: one that will lead to a stronger child welfare and adoption system for orphaned children in Vietnam that respects international principles for intercountry adoptions.
As we move forward to implement this agreement, I know that we also share the goal of achieving Vietnam's accession to the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The United States strongly supports the Convention because it further safeguards the interests of children, birth parents and adoptive parents. We are working diligently to implement the Hague Convention in the United States and look forward to a day in the near future when we can celebrate Vietnam's accession.
But we should take a moment to reflect on the hard work and dedication of Americans and Vietnamese that supported our work on today's agreement. As I look around this room, I see many of the people who have worked so hard to make this day possible. I appreciate the dedication and perseverance of everyone here, and of those you represent who could not be here, on behalf of the families and children that we have kept in our hearts and minds.
I am proud to say that our two nations have come together with determination, integrity and courage on behalf of those most in need of our help. The agreement we signed today reflects the commitment of both of our nations to brightening the future of Vietnamese children in need of permanent family care.
I am told that there is a Vietnamese proverb that advises, "Venture all; see what fate brings." I can think of no better reason to venture boldly than to do so on behalf of children.
As our two nations continue to build a strong, protective system in the interests of Vietnam's children, we will have challenging moments ahead. Let us always remember the families and children who deserve our best efforts to help them "see what fate brings."