My older brother and his wife in Viet Nam recently died in an accident and I really want to adopt their nine-year-old son. However, I hold French citizenship, not Vietnamese, and I am single. So, am I eligible to adopt a child according to Vietnamese Law? If yes, what should I do?
Also, my younger sister, who holds American citizenship wants to adopt my older brother's son. So, could he be the adopted son of both of us? If yes, what should we do?
Based on our consultation with lawyers Phung Quang Cuong and Rebbeca Davies of Ha Noi-based NH Quang&Associates, we can give you the following answers:
Pursuant to Vietnamese laws, the priority to choose an adoptive family for a child is, in descending order, stepfather, stepmother, maternal or paternal aunt, and maternal or paternal uncle of the child.
So, although you hold French nationality or your younger sister is an American citizen, it does not affect your and your sister's priority right to adopt your nephew (Clause 1, Article 5 of the Law on Adoption of Viet Nam 2010).
If several persons are of the same priority to adopt a child, the people's committee of the province/city where the child lives will consider permitting the one with the best condition for bringing up, taking care, and education the child to adopt him. On the other hand, only a single person or a married couple may adopt a child. Therefore, you and your sister cannot both adopt your nephew (Clause 2, Article 5 and Clause 3, Article 8 of the Law on Adoption of Viet Nam). Both of you should agree with each other to select a person who will adopt the nephew.
In order to adopt your nephew, you or your sister need to prepare the following documents:
a) Application form for adopting the child;
b) A copy of your passport;
c) A document from the competent body at your location of residence that certifies and permits you to adopt a child in Viet Nam;
d) Documents about your psychology, health condition, incomes and assests and marriage situation certified by the competent body in the country of your nationality;
e) Your criminal record issued by the competent body in the country of your nationality;
f) A document proving that you are the consanguine cousin of the intended adoptive child.
You need to make two sets of dossiers and submit them directly to the Department of Child Adoption under the Ministry of Justice of Viet Nam. Regarding your nephew, his guardian in Viet Nam (grandparents, cousins, aunts, or other family member who is caring for him) will help to prepare his dossiers. The dossiers include:
a) Birth certificate;
b) Health examination certificate issued by a medical center of district level or senior level;
c) Two full-length photos with straight look, which were taken not more than six months ago;
d) Death certificate of his parents;
e) A document describing his remarkable characteristics, hobbies, habits, etc.
His dossiers need to be made into three sets and his guardian will submit these to the Department of Justice of the province where he resides.
After receiving your submitted dossiers, the Department of Child Adoption will send the dossiers to the Department of Justice of the province where your nephew resides to submit to the provincial people's committee for consideration and decision.
Within fifteen days from the date of receiving the dossiers submitted by the provincial Department of Justice, the provincial People's Committee will decide to let the child become a foreign adoptive. You are required to be present in Viet Nam to directly adopt the child within sixty days from the date of receiving the notice (Article 17, 28, 31, 32, 34, 37 of the Law on Adoption).