Byline: Simon Parry
A VIETNAMESE boy offered by a ‘baby broker’ for $10,000 to an Irish Daily Mail reporter is to begin a new life with a family in Canada within weeks.
Hoang, now four months old, had been kept at a ramshackle maternity home which supplies infants for adoption to Ireland.
He was parted from his mother on December 13 when she left the home run by Tang Thi Cai – conveniently placed next to Lang Son orphanage – and returned alone to her hill tribe village near the border with China.
Baby broker Tang then sold Hoang on to the orphanage, where six Irish couples collected adopted babies in October. He is being kept in the orphanage until his Canadian adoptive parents arrive to collect him this month.
The Irish Daily Mail revisited Lang Son two months after revealing how the orphanage that has sent scores of infants to Ireland in recent years relies on Tang to supply it with children ready for adoption overseas.
Women from villages across the province stay in shacks behind Tang’s home while they are pregnant, and hand over their babies in return for free bed and board and compensation payments of about e200 a child.
A cafe owner close to the orphanage entrance said Hoang’s 28-year-old mother had a tearful parting, adding: ‘She came to see me for one last time before returning to her village and she seemed sad. She told me she would come back by bus to visit him one last time and to say goodbye.’ Lang Son orphanage was one of two main children’s homes used to source babies for adoption to Ireland before the agreement between the two countries lapsed in 2009. The other is in Thai Nguyen
, two hours’ drive north of the capital Hanoi. The orphanage manager, who gave her name as Miss Dung, said: ‘Most of the adoptive parents here used to be Irish. Now they’re from France, Spain or Italy.’ When we visited, the orphanage had 30 infants all between a few days old and four months. Miss Dung said that all were due to be adopted, the majority of them overseas. She added: ‘They are booked by the adoption agencies even before they arrive here.’ Incredibly, she claimed that every one of the 30 babies had been abandoned by their mothers – in most cases left behind at clinics or hospitals where the mothers gave birth, often leaving false personal details so they could not be traced afterwards.
In 2008, a critical U.S. embassy report into adoptions from Vietnam uncovered what it described as ‘multiple, credible reports from orphanage officials that facilitators are deliberately staging fraudulent desertions to conceal the identity of birth parents’.
About 50 to 60 babies a year are adopted from Thai Nguyen, each supposedly raising thousands of euro in fees to be ploughed back into childcare at the orphanage. But it was clear from our visit to the run-down facility that money from overseas adoptions was going elsewhere.
Back in the Vietnamese capital, the luxury apartment block Hanoi Towers where Irish parents stayed with their adopted infants while documents were prepared for them to leave the country is now a temporary home for couples from countries with adoption agreements still in place.
By the swimming pool at the complex where apartments rent for e2,400 a month, I found two Canadian couples sitting beneath sun umbrellas with their adopted daughters newly collected from Lang Son orphanage.
When I told them my name and asked if they would agree to be interviewed about the process, they rounded on me. One mother said: ‘We know who you are. You’ve caused us enough trouble already. I think you should go away now.’ [email protected]
Baby for sale: Simon Perry holding Hoang in his arms