Baby girl may be stuck in Vietnam

Sat, Apr 09, 2011
By Desmond Ng

HE WANTED a baby with his Vietnamese wife.

But the 55-year-old Singaporean thought he was old and didn’t want any “medical issues”.

So he turned to adopting a baby in Vietnam.

All was going according to plan, until now.

Mr YH Yap, has just found out that there’s a law that may prevent his baby girl from leaving for Singapore.

The businessman claimed to have all the paperwork approved by the authorities in Vietnam.

But he and his agent were not aware of a recent law passed there last June, which came into effect in January.

Under this law, foreign couples can adopt from Vietnam only if their home country has entered into an agreement on child adoption with Vietnam, according to Vietnam’s Justice Ministry’s website.

The New Paper has not been able to find any such agreement between Singapore and Vietnam.

The law came about after increasing reports of the lucrative illegal trade of Vietnamese children.

When told of this, Mr Yap said: “If for some reason, the application is not approved, it’s okay.

“I will leave the baby there because we’ve relatives there. We can always raise her in Vietnam.”

His agent, Mr Mark Lin of Vietnam Brides International Matchmaker – which used to matchmake local men with Vietnamese women – said he consulted a lawyer in Vietnam last month about adopting babies there.

He said his lawyer assured him that it’s not an issue if the prospective couple can get approval from the Vietnam government for the adoption.

Mr Yap adopted the baby in Vietnam four months ago.

Coincidentally, it was through Mr Lin’s agency that Mr Yap was introduced to his Vietnamese wife, 18, four years ago.

On why he decided to adopt, he said: “Since my wife is Vietnamese, it makes sense to adopt a Vietnamese baby.”

He has three other children, all undergraduates, from a previous marriage.

He’s divorced from his first wife.

Mr Yap said that the Vietnamese couple – who gave up their baby when she was two weeks old – are unmarried undergraduates in their 20s.

Mr Yap’s wife is currently in Vietnam taking care of the baby with her family.

They’ve named the baby girl Hui Jin.

The Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS) said that prospective adopters are advised to consult their legal counsel on the laws in Vietnam before they consider adopting a Vietnamese child.