It seemed like a nightmare right out of Kafka. In late 2007
and early 2008, Americans with their adopted babies in arms, or pictures of
babies to come, were being stonewalled by faceless U.S. bureaucrats. The U.S.
government refused to issue visas that would allow those babies to come home
from Vietnam -- and wouldn't explain why.
families, supported by dozens of other
parents-to-be, desperately did what they could to attract publicity,
calling in the New York Times, ABC
News, and members of Congress. They launched campaigns on the web, sent
petitions to friends and neighbors, and barraged the relevant offices with
pleas for help. And still, for months, the State Department and U.S.
Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) refused to issue their babies the
requisite visas -- for reasons that seemed irrelevant. One couple from Queens,
New York, said they were told that the baby they had legally adopted in Vietnam
would not be able to come home with them for what they
called a "bewilderingly minute point": A Tam Ky Orphanage guard in
Vietnam's Quang Nam province had failed to note the child's arrival in his
But inside their fog of secrecy, the faceless bureaucrats
were also agonizing about the well-being of the children and their families.
Based on hundreds of pages of documents received via Freedom of Information Act
requests, this article gives a never-before-seen glimpse at how the State
Department discovered what it believed to be a gray market in "adoptable"
babies and debated what to do about it, trying each of its inadequate tools
According to these internal documents, the State Department
was confident it had discovered systemic nationwide corruption in Vietnam -- a
network of adoption agency representatives, village officials, orphanage
directors, nurses, hospital administrators, police officers, and government
officials who were profiting by paying for, defrauding, coercing, or even
simply stealing Vietnamese children from their families to sell them
to unsuspecting Americans. And yet, as these documents reveal, U.S. officials in
Hanoi did not have the right tools to shut down the infant peddlers while
allowing the truly needed adoptions to continue. Understanding how little the
State Department and USCIS could do, despite how hard they tried, helps reveal
what these U.S. government agencies need to respond more effectively in the
current adoption hot spots, Nepal and Ethiopia -- and in whatever country might be
struck by adoption profiteering next.
Adoption from Vietnam: the background
Between 2006 and 2009, Americans adopted
2,220 children from Vietnam. In 2007, USCIS and the State Department issued 800
adoption visas and attempted
to deny only 20. And yet on Sept. 1, 2008, the United States felt it had no
choice but to not
renew the bilateral agreement that
allowed Americans to adopt Vietnamese children, thereby shutting down American
adoptions from Vietnam.
It wasn't the first time the State Department had been
confronted by corrupt Vietnamese adoption practices. In the late 1990s and
early 2000s, Westerners were adopting thousands of Vietnamese-born children
every year amid reports that children were being bought, coerced, defrauded,
or even kidnapped from their birth families. Pressured by the West, the
government of Vietnam tried to reform its system. It sharply curtailed
adoptions -- the United States banned them from Vietnam entirely -- and eventually
prosecuted, deported, and otherwise shut down some of the suspected
perpetrators. Noting the progress, the United States signed a three-year bilateral
agreement with Vietnam in 2005, complete with safeguards against corruption, so
that adoptions between the two countries could again proceed.
But as soon as adoptions resumed, these documents reveal, the
U.S. Embassy in Hanoi noticed a suspicious uptick in "abandoned" infants in
orphanages that had contracts with international adoption agencies. "Orphanages
and hospitals throughout Vietnam all report that prior to 2005 there were very
few abandonments at their facilities, today these facilities may have as many
as 15 purported abandonments a month. These abandonments are shams designed to
obscure the child's true origins," Ambassador Michael Michalak cabled back to Washington in January 2008. "At Hospital A in [redacted location] abandonments are
weekly occurrence." Other orphanages continued to host their traditional
complement of older and special needs children, with few or no infants and
Unfortunately, by law, the U.S. government had only three
imprecise tools to respond to its suspicions about Vietnamese adoptions. First,
State Department and USCIS officers could personally investigate the
circumstances behind Americans' applications for "orphan visas." But that was
time-consuming, and it elicited vehement objections from the Vietnamese
government. Second, U.S. consular officers and diplomats could pressure Vietnam
to live up to the 2005 Memorandum of Agreement and crack down on unethical
adoptions. But the U.S. Embassy came to believe that Vietnam would not take
action. Third, the United States could stop accepting adoptions from Vietnam entirely.
But that blunt tool would stop legal adoptions together with corrupt
ones, and, these documents show, the United States hesitated to wield it.
Investigating one by
The only legal authority that the United States had to oversee
adoptions in Vietnam was through the limited tool of immigration law. In practice,
this meant that, legally at least, the United States couldn't hold responsible the
adoption agencies or the
Vietnamese orphanages that may have actually done something wrong. Instead, the United States would have to wait until adopting Americans had filed applications
for I-600 "orphan visas" before investigating any of the circumstances
surrounding the adoptions. In essence, the U.S. authorities hold adopting
Americans responsible for whether the child promised to them by an adoption
agency is in fact a legitimate orphan, on the fiction that they have some
independent knowledge about the child.
By that point, though, most Americans had already spent many
months and tens of thousands of dollars pursuing the adoption and in some
cases had already adopted the child under Vietnamese law. Many thought of the
I-600 as the final formality in a long, emotionally fraught process. Few had
any idea that their adoption agencies' actions had been essentially
unsupervised until then -- or that the child might not in fact be free for
adoption. And if the United States did find
enough fraud in a visa application to try to prevent that adoption, not
surprisingly, "the PAPs [prospective adoptive parents] are very often
devastated," as one
consular officer wrote. When the accuracy of their prospective child's visa
application was challenged, a number of families saw no alternative to spending
tens of thousands of dollars on immigration lawyers and camping out in Hanoi to
fight the U.S. government -- rather than returning the child to an orphanage
that, if the allegations were true, "had already proven it didn't care what
happens to that child," as Mary Quigley, one North Carolina-based parent, put
it. Monica DiGioacchino, another adoptive parent whose child's orphan visa
application was at first denied, is still bitter about the use of immigration
investigations in the State Department's campaign for honest adoptions from
Vietnam, saying, "We were collateral damage."
A number of these released State
Department documents report on investigations into particular cases, heavily
redacted because of the U.S. Privacy Act of 1974. What's left are agonized
conclusions like this: "government run clinics and orphanages are actively
engaged in baby buying and are lying to birth mothers to secure children for
international adoption... forcing witnesses and even birth mothers to recant the
statements they gave to consular officers so that the adoptions can be
completed." In one
cable, the embassy reports that it "has discovered 'safe houses' ... where women
are offered lodging, medical expenses and money to 'start a new life' in
exchange for their child.... The women are required to sign agreements promising
to relinquish their children before entering the safe houses and are often
separated from their children immediately after birth. Tragically, in some
instances these women were told that their children would be adopted
domestically and that they would return home once they were 11 years old. Even
worse, one hospital in [redacted location] essentially kidnapped infants from
their parents by refusing to release the child until they paid their medical
bills. When payment was not forthcoming, the hospital declared
the children ‘abandoned' and placed them for adoption without the birth parents
[sic] knowledge or consent."
In another situation, U.S.
investigators found that village officials offered two Hmong women 10 months' salary each
to place their newborns in a "social sponsoring center" -- essentially an
orphanage. (In many underdeveloped countries, children aren't abandoned at
orphanages but placed there temporarily for food, shelter, education, or
child care, which is what these women told U.S. investigators they thought they
were doing.) After USCIS denied the adoption visas, the documents show that
village officials summoned
the two women to their offices, "criticized [them] for irresponsibly
becoming pregnant," and forced them to sign relinquishment papers. The head of
the Department for Intercountry Adoptions, Vu Duc Long, then ordered them
to come see him in Hanoi. According to one State Department document, the birth mothers later "reported that they were so frightened about
the trip that they became physically sick." Before USCIS spoke with the two
mothers again, Vietnamese police officers stopped by to "remind" the women that they
had "consented" to adoption. U.S. officials were so horrified by this incident
that they refer to it often, both internally in these documents and in
discussions with Vietnamese officials. Those two adoptions were successfully
stopped -- but USCIS reportedly discovered that a third woman's child had,
without her permission or understanding, already been adopted and brought to
live in the United States.
Many Vietnamese officials objected furiously to Americans
undertaking criminal investigations on their soil, so much so that
investigators at times feared for their safety. Consider this
report on a State Department attempt to investigate a child's suspicious
"abandonment" in a hospital in Can Tho,
in the Mekong Delta near Vietnam's southern tip, where the investigator, Chris
Brown, was refused entry: "Ominously...
the Vietnamese government says we have to give them the exact details in
advance ‘in order to avoid problem as occurred in An Giang province on October
10, 2007 and to ensure the safety and smooth coordination for the delegations
of the Consulate General traveling outside consular district.' I say ‘ominous'
because that certainly could be read as a direct threat."
The documents reveal that Vietnamese officials blocked U.S.
embassy investigators from researching orphans' origins in 17 of Vietnam's 63 provinces between 2007 and 2008, often with police or
other Vietnamese officials physically blocking the U.S. employees from entering
a building or ordering them to leave a province. These investigations were difficult, dangerous, time-consuming -- and worst of
all, didn't necessarily stop wrongful adoptions. "Because the decisions of
USCIS can be appealed -- ultimately to the federal court system -- denials must
be extremely well documented with solid evidence," as one document explained. "Well-documented" means, in practice, that either a birth family has to ask for
the child back or someone has to confess to having done something wrong, a
highly unlikely occurrence because Vietnamese police themselves were
involved in either soliciting or covering up the purchase and sale of
children, according to both these documents and USCIS orphan visa appeals
denials posted online. And so even when the embassy was all but certain that a
child had been fraudulently taken from a birth family -- but did not have
evidence strong enough to stand up against the necessary "preponderance of the
evidence" standard in court -- it still at times had to allow an American
family to bring home that child.
The State Department clearly believed that the Vietnamese government, not the United States, should be fixing the problem. If Vietnamese children
were being wrongfully taken, it was Vietnamese families that were being harmed,
usually by Vietnamese citizens on Vietnamese soil. These released documents
detail how consular officials, two ambassadors, and an assistant secretary of
state confronted Vietnamese officials at varying levels with evidence of
document fraud, defrauded birth families, and provincial officials profiting from
the purchase and sale of children for adoption. They were not satisfied with
U.S. officials also repeatedly demanded that Vietnam live up
to the requirements of the 2005 Memorandum of Agreement, according to these
documents. First, the State Department wanted Vietnam to issue a binding
schedule of adoption fees, which would limit what orphanage officials could
demand from U.S. agencies and American parents. That would restrict how
profitable an adoption might be and reduce the incentive to "find" children
wrongfully. It would also enable U.S. government officials to warn Americans not to pay more than the legal limit. Second, the State
Department wanted Vietnam to investigate corrupt adoption activities or at
least allow U.S. officials to investigate freely. Finally, U.S. officials
pressed Vietnam to ratify and implement the Hague Convention on Intercountry
Adoption, the key international treaty regulating adoption. U.S. officials
repeatedly offered technical assistance to help Vietnam draft and implement a
Hague-compliant adoption law. But no matter how often the U.S. diplomatic
evidence of criminal wrongdoing or pressured Vietnam to live up to its
existing agreement with the United States, Vietnamese officials not only failed
to pursue it, but -- in the embassy's view -- chose to help rather than prosecute
the baby merchants.
This despite the fact that Vietnam
had created an agency, the Department of International Adoptions (DIA), intended to
combat corrupt adoption practices. Embassy officials say in internal memos that
its director, Vu Duc Long, repeatedly explained that he could do
nothing -- and that he saw nothing wrong. According to one U.S. Embassy cable,
when asked directly about his agency's role in combating corruption, Long answered
"that DIA will check to see who committed fraud, but that in his experience
there has 'never been a case where DIA found problems with an adoption in
In the same conversation, according
to one cable, Long told U.S. officials that he had no authority to issue a
binding schedule of fees and that he believed the real problem was that
American agencies' contracts with the provincial authorities for "humanitarian
donations" were really advance deposits on adoptable "orphans" -- and were thus
putting pressure on the orphanages to "find" more adoptable babies. Long
explained: "If the orphanage accepted a donation equal to 10 children, for
example, but the orphanage only had 4 children to deliver, then the orphanage
had to find additional children to meet its obligation."
In the American officials' view,
adoption was supposed to be about finding new families for needy children. But
Long was explaining that Vietnamese orphanages "produced" adoptable children to
meet American demand. In that cable, the embassy commented
to the secretary of state's office that Long's "revelation of [U.S. adoption
agencies] making up front payments for 'future deliveries' is clearly of
concern. It stands as further evidence that the problems we are seeing in
Vietnam are serious and systemic."
In December 2007, the U.S. Embassy took advantage of Assistant
Secretary of State Maura Harty's visit to have her talk with senior Vietnamese
officials about the adoption crisis, in which, according to one cable, she conveyed
"forcefully that the Embassy has discovered clear patterns of child selling,
emphasizing that this is something we cannot tolerate." But after meeting with
a variety of high-level officials, Harty, Ambassador Michalak, and embassy
staff concluded that nothing would soon change. Michalak cabled
home his stark conclusion: "[Vietnamese] officials are clearly embarrassed
by the information uncovered by our consular investigations, but would prefer
to address this by preventing consular officials from doing their jobs rather
than by addressing the core problems of corruption and child selling... This
leaves us in an untenable position. We can not continue the current [Memorandum
of Agreement] under these conditions."
Stopping all adoptions
Once the State Department had concluded that it could not in
good conscience permit continued adoptions from Vietnam, its discussions began
to focus on strategy.
The cutoff date was clear: the United States could decline to renew
the Memorandum of Agreement, which was set to expire on September 1, 2008. But
no one wanted to face the kind of outrage and political pressure that had been
aimed at USCIS and the State Department when they'd stopped adoptions from
Cambodia and Guatemala for similarly entrenched corruption. Hundreds of
families had been trapped partway through the process, with hearts and wallets
already fully invested in bringing home a particular child. Michalak
in a January 2008 cable, "We must be careful to make sure we are keeping
prospective adoptive parents informed of our decisions ... in order to avoid a
difficult and emotionally painful situation for families." The U.S. Embassy in
Hanoi immediately posted a notice on its
website, warning prospective parents not to start an adoption from Vietnam.
The other concern was educating Congress. Gerry Fuller of
the State Department's Office of Children's Issues at one point emailed
his colleagues that "Sean Moore of Sen. Boxer's office ... continues to push that it is only just to let these families go since they have been put through
the [wringer] and we have no evidence that any mother is complaining that her
baby was stolen ... [A colleague was] pressing hard for the [visas] to be issued based on
concerns for the amount of suffering already endured and likely to be endured ...
He is convinced these families have been caught in the middle of a change of
policy." Unaware of why the State Department was convinced that "fraudulent
documents are the rule rather than the exception in adoption cases," as the embassy cabled to Washington in March 2008, or unaware of evidence that
Vietnamese families might not have willingly given away the children whose 'orphan visa' applications were being investigated, some members of Congress
understandably wanted their constituents to be able to bring "their" babies
Unquestionably, those families were in heartbreakingly
difficult straits. It has been "an emotional strain and a financial struggle,"
Tom Mills of Los Angeles told
the New York Times in early 2008. "I
came to Vietnam expecting to stay here for two, maybe three weeks, and now it's
been five months." Those who were contesting their children's denied visa
applications were told almost nothing of what was happening inside the foggy
bureaucracy -- and came to disbelieve everything they were told. They didn't know
what the embassy was doing while the denied families waited in Hanoi. They
didn't know that Vietnamese officials were "blocking" the U.S. government's
efforts to do its job by investigating the prospective children's "orphan
status." They didn't know when the USCIS administrative appeals officer would
issue rulings about their children's visa applications. Another California
parent, Julie Carroll, told
the Ventura County Star, "It is by
far the most excruciating thing we have gone through. And the worst part of it
is we are missing out on going on four months of our daughter's life, all of
those milestones in her development."
Responding to the members of Congress who were being
pressured to expedite the halted adoptions, the State Department and USCIS
began coordinating to keep interested members of Congress informed - both about
the status of those families-in-limbo, and about the Vietnamese families who were suffering as well,
these documents show. the State Department organized and held a briefing
session, inviting staff from the offices of Jim Webb, Mary Landrieu, Norm Coleman, Chuck Schumer, Joe Biden, Richard Lugar, Lisa Murkowksi, Bob Corker, Dianne Feinstein, Hillary Clinton, John Warner, Robert Menendez,
Frank Lautenberg, Zoe Lofgren, and Henry Waxman. The State Department followed up by writing
and circulating among Congressional offices a
document called "10
Disturbing Adoption Cases from Vietnam," illustrating vividly (minus
identifying information) how profoundly corrupt Vietnamese adoptions had
In April 2008, the Vietnamese confirmed to U.S. officials
that they had a plan for winding down adoptions so that no American would be trapped
halfway through in September, when the adoption agreement between the two
countries expired. The U.S. Embassy in Hanoi posted a detailed explanation of
the problems it found in adoptions from Vietnam. In addition to providing
examples from the "Ten Disturbing Adoption Cases" document, in an April posting,
titled "Summary of Irregularities in Adoptions in Vietnam," the embassy
publicized other details officials had uncovered about the extent of Vietnamese corruption: from the
fact that adoption agencies had to pay bribes to receive their licenses in
Vietnam, to reports that agencies were forced to take Long on shopping
trips during his visits to the United States.
By Sept. 1, 2008, the illicit U.S.-Vietnamese trade in
babies was closed. But so were the aboveboard adoptions -- and the opportunity to
help needy Vietnamese children find American homes.
An end to "abandoned"
Today, the United States does not allow adoptions from Vietnam, though some other countries do. The Vietnamese National Assembly has recently
debated a new, Hague-compliant adoption law, but there is no sign of imminent
passage. In the nearly two years since the closure, Vietnam has begun
prosecuting and jailing some baby sellers. For instance, in Nam Dinh, one of
the suspect provinces, "sixteen Vietnamese doctors, nurses and officials sold
266 babies for overseas adoptions, a court heard on Tuesday," Britain's Telegraph reported in 2009.
Recently I spoke with Tracy Desserich of Indianapolis, who
adopted an infant from Phu Tho in 2007 through ADOPPT of Wyoming, a now-defunct
adoption agency that withdrew its application for Hague accreditation midway
through a review of its practices.
Desserich said that when she was first adopting from Phu Tho, she visited two
orphanages that were "overflowing" with 60 to 80 healthy infants. But in 2010,
she and another adoptive family hired a Vietnamese searcher to learn more about
their babies' abandonments. The searcher reported that one of the two
orphanages (which a number of agencies used to identify children for adoption,
according to Desserich) had closed completely; the other had only a "handful"
of babies and now housed mostly older and special-needs children. As
Ambassador Michalak and his investigators had suspected, when the money stopped coming in, so did the supply of "abandoned" babies.
Like Vietnam, neither Ethiopia nor Nepal -- the two
countries currently plagued by reports of corrupt adoptions -- have enacted the
Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. If there is indeed corruption in
these countries' adoptions, the U.S. embassies in those countries still have very little power to
respond -- except to increase investigations or close adoptions entirely, as
happened in Vietnam. Choosing the latter may save hundreds of families from
wrongfully losing their children, but it does so at the cost of preventing
children who genuinely need new homes from finding them in the United States. Until U.S. laws, policies, and regulations change, the United States can turn the spigot on and
off, but it cannot control the flow.
 U.S. Department of
State officials in Vietnam
met with the adoption agencies quarterly and tried to persuade them to police
and end the worst practices. In one March 2008 email, Jonathan Aloisi, deputy chief of mission in the Hanoi embassy, reported to Michele Bond, deputy assistant secretary of state for overseas citizens affairs, about a meeting with
the higher-level adoption agency representatives, including Tom DiFilipo,
president of the Joint Council on International Children's Services;
Keith Wallace of Families Thru International Adoption; Carl Jenkins of World
Child; and Robin Mauney of Holt International Children's Services. "They were a
little shaken by my mention of the murder of four Vietnamese by kidnappers
seeing fresh babies for the [adoption] trade," Aloisi said, but his primary
impression was that agency representatives believed that the real problem was
animus between the U.S. Embassy and the Vietnamese Department of International
Adoptions (DIA), and that "the relationship has become counterproductive. In other
words, we aren't willing to help them [DIA] improve. I explained the limitations
of DIA's authority and the threats that Dr. Long had made to Maura Harty about
the safety of our investigators. Nonetheless, we told the group, we deal with
DIA on a weekly -- and often daily -- basis. Our frustration is that even
information on cases of criminal activity are met with a 'not our business'
response ... Members clearly believe we
are being too active in trying to track down evidence."
gap was partly closed in April 2008, when the United States entered the Hague Convention
on International Adoption, gaining some oversight of adoption agencies-but only
for adoptions from other Hague signatory nations, as explained in an article, "The Baby Business," published in the Summer 2010 issue of the journal Democracy. Vietnam has not joined the Hague Convention, though its National Assembly is currently debating legislation toward that
end -- and so even then, U.S. Hague protections didn't cover adoptions from Vietnam.
 "The adoptions cases we are getting are increasingly problematic, with
strong indications of a return to 'baby buying' and worse. The paper trail for
almost every case raises questions, and we find problems and further questions
in virtually every case we investigate. Some of this is due to orphanages and
others trying to discover ways to hide facts so that we can't get to the bottom
of cases, but also cannot find smoking guns." -- Jonathan Aloisi, deputy chief of mission, U.S. Embassy in Hanoi,
in an email to State Department colleagues on October 25, 2007.
 In a Jan. 31, 2008, cable to the State Department, the U.S. ambassador in Hanoi wrote: "These cases offer compelling proof that government run clinics and
orphanages are actively engaged in baby buying and are lying to birth mothers
to secure children for international adoption. Further, when wrongdoing is
exposed, rather than investigating corrupt local officials, the police and the
Department of International Adoptions are prepared to use their considerable
power to 'correct the situation' by forcing witnesses and even birth mothers to
recant the statements they gave to consular officers so that the adoptions can
be completed. The moral of these cases is that once you accept help in exchange
for placing a child in an orphanage, for the birth parents there is no going
back. The challenge for the [U.S.
government] is to find away to stop future abuses without endangering birth
 In one report about Phu Tho, for example, "the team went to a medical
center to speak with a child finder ... Upon arrival, they were physically
blocked by local police officers who told them they were in the province
illegally... The Vice Chairman of the People's Committee ... order[ed] them to
leave the province immediately."
 Consider what the U.S. embassy said about one case (two and a half pages are
redacted, to protect the families under the 1974 Privacy Act): "The
investigation showed a clear pattern of document fraud and corruption in this
case, as well as a strong nexus with other cases of baby buying in Vietnam.
However, as a result of the unwillingness of the DIA [Vietnam's Department of
International Adoption] to seriously investigate, and our inability to locate
the birth mother, or document a fraudulent abandonment, the case was issued."
Here's what that means, translated from bureaucratese: Although the embassy was
almost certain the child had been wrongfully taken from his Vietnamese family,
its evidence didn't reach the standard of proof that would be required by the U.S.
federal courts, if the case were appealed. An American family was allowed to
take home that child. For more on the standard of proof, see Trish Maskew, "Child Trafficking and Intercountry Adoption: The
Cambodian Experience," in Cumberland Law Review, Volume 35. 3, 2005.
 In a cable sent to the Secretary of State in Washington DC on Dec.
6, 2007 -- SUBJECT: A/S Harty Addresses the Challenges of
Intercountry Adoption with Vietnam -- the U.S. embassy wrote: "regularly receives reports of [adoption agencies] instructing
[adopting parents] to bring thousands of dollars in cash for donations. DIA has
never taken action against this practice, although they have stated on occasion
that it is illegal."
 "The U.S. Embassy has repeatedly shared info from field investigations with DIA
Department of International Adoptions] regarding violations of Vietnamese law
and fraudulent abandonments, urging DIA to take action to punish those
responsible. In response, DIA has repeatedly spring into action, not to punish
wrongdoers, but to fix whatever 'paperwork problem' the Embassy has uncovered....
going so far as to pressure individuals who previously signed sworn consular
affidavits to recant their stories." -- Ambassador Michael Michalak, U.S. Embassy in Hanoi, to the Secretary of State's office, Washington, D.C., in a cable sent Jan. 8, 2008.
 "The evidence collected during this visit to [redacted] province adds to
the mounting body of evidence that in Vietnam there is a market on which
children are being bought and sold, often against the express wishes of their
biological parents. The practice has become so widespread in some parts of
[redacted] that a market and a standard price per child has emerged ... Local,
provincial, and central authorities all participated in the production and
certification of documents that they knew were false. As a result we must
conclude that these documents are unreliable and that no competent Vietnamese
authority exists either to verify the facts in an adoption case or to protect
children from being reduced to a commodity, and sadly, one worth less than a
pig." -- Subject: Vietnam
Adoptions: A Child For A Pig, March 20, 2008.
 "75% of birth parents who were interviewed
by a consular officer stated that in addition to payments for food, medical
care and administrative expenses, they received payment from the orphanage in
exchange for placing their child in the orphanage. On average this payment was
six million Vietnamese Dong, which is the equivalent of 11 months salary at
minimum wage in Vietnam."
Email from Richard Klarberg, Council on Accreditation (COA), June 21, 2010: "EJ: This
agency -- ADOPPT -- discontinued its efforts to become accredited prior to a
determination being made by COA. Richard"
 In a cable from Jan. 8, 2008, Ambassador
Michael Michalak wrote, "I am becoming increasingly concerned at the growing evidence of
large-scale organized child buying in Vietnam ... a system under which
unscrupulous orphanage directors and agency facilitators have turned infants
into a commodity amidst rampant corruption ... Local officials are willing to
create documents to cover 'discrepancies' in a case ... [T]he miraculous arrival
of over 30 infant girls at Hanoi Center 1 within five months of the opening of
that center for international adoptions is not an atypical trend in Vietnam. We
have frequently seen that areas and orphanages not engaged in adoption only
have older children and those with special needs. This is a clear illustration of the supply being created to meet demand."