A number of Irish adoptive families are not only caring for Vietnamese children, but also striving to keep them familiar with and close to Vietnamese culture.

As members of the 1993 The Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Cooperation in Respect of Inter-country Adoption, Vietnam and Ireland have intensified joint efforts in this regard.

With the signing of a memorandum of understanding on legal and judicial cooperation in child adoption in 2012, the number of Irish families adopting children from Vietnam has grown.

The Vietnamese Irish Network of Adoptive Families (VINAF), a 200-strong voluntary support group established in 2001, has provided support and a social network for families in Ireland that have adopted or are thinking of adopting from Vietnam.

As part of its activities, it organises two or three social gatherings in a year, usually coinciding with important Vietnamese cultural events like the lunar New Year that falls in January or February and the Mid-Autumn festival celebrated by children in September.

It also holds annual trips to the home country and opens Vietnamese classes for adopted children.

Vietnamese Ambassador to UK and Ireland Nguyen Van Thao hoped that Irish adoptive parents would continue serving as friendly bridge between the two countries.-VNA