was sent by a worker in the Saigon office of the International Social
Service to that organization's New York office. It details the requirements
for an international
adoption from Vietnam during the early stages of the U.S. war
there, long before most Americans were aware of the needs of Vietnamese
children. The names of the child and her American adopters have
Saigon, April 27th, 1966
Dear Mrs. Lewis,
Thank you for your letter dated April 21st, 1966 regarding the
above child and 2 carbon copies of your letter to Michigan agency
and 2 carbon copies home study of the Richardsons, which I received
this morning. This really lifted our morale as we begin to see that
the ISS work in Vietnam is moving. . . . The Richardsons
seem to be a wonderful couple and ideal PAPs, and I feel that any
child adopted by this family is fortunate. In the home study, the
worker mentioned several times that the child should have above
intelligence or at least average intelligence so that she could
live up to the family’s expectation. This is really difficult
for us at this end, as we have no facilities or specialist to test
the child’s intelligence. The child seems to be normal to
those who look after her.
We however would like to mention that Mai seem to make much progress,
but this is still somewhat slow in comparison with other children
of her age. Since March 23, 1966, we have removed her to Caritas,
a center for Malnutrition children, and of very high standard. Mai
still suffers some skin disease (molluscus contagiosum), and we
are going to take her to a doctor to have these warts cut off. Many
children in orphanages here suffer this condition due to shortage
of water and lack of care in these institutions. The doctors have
assured us that once these children are properly cared for and have
proper foods, this skin condition will be cleared away. Mai is still
very small, but she has a happy smile. We still hope that a home
will be found for her, despite of all these facts. . . .
At this end if the Richardsons agree to adopt Mai, we would need
1. Three pictures of the couple (and if possible with their children)
in order to send to the orphanage at their request, and for our
2. Birth certificate of the adopting father.
3. Birth certificate of the adopting mother.
4. Marriage license of the PAPs.
5. Power of attorney from both requesting ISS in Saigon to act
on their behalf for adoption.
6. Financial statement from employer or bank stating their income
and that they are in position to take care of another child.
7. A Statement from the INS or an adopting agency stating that
the PAPs have met all the preadoption requirements and that the
laws of their state do not object the adoption of a foreign child.
Furthermore, since the PAPs have been married less than ten years,
and they have already children of their own,
8. they should file a petition for a waiver. This waiver might
be obtained quite easily by the U.S. Citizens. The petition should
be addressed to the Chief of State. If the Von Kalers are willing
to go along, I will draft the petition and send it to you, and you
will forward it to the PAPs and the local adopting agency for approval
It seems that the adoption requires a lot of work and communications.
But if you can provide these documents, I will take all of them
to the Minister of the Interior here (whom Mr. Sherman had met)
and he will study the case. If everything is all right, he will
grant the permission for the child to be emigrated to the USA for
adoption, and that the ISS will have the custody of the child until
she is adopted. Thus we will avoid a proxy adoption. . . .