35th – Australia – Emma Pham’s Reflections

Emma Pham
VN Adoptee – Australia


My name is Emma Pham. My Vietnamese name is Pham Thi Chin.

I arrived in Sydney Australia in 1973 two years before the Vietnam War ended. I was meant to be here only on medical visa to see if doctors could restore to me my eyesight but sadly it was too late. Hence I remained.

I have been giving much thought to the question as to what the 35th Anniversary end of the Vietnam War has meant to me. It has meant many things. It has produced many things. It has produced for me moments of joy, unhappiness, miracles, a voice in which to speak my feelings, lasting friendships and justice.

For many years, I thought I was the only Vietnamese adoptee in australia until a book titled “The Colour of Difference,” was to be written and then, hello! I met and spoke to on the phone, some Vietnamese adoptees like me and others from many other countries aside. Then, I no longer felt alone.That, to me gave me much comfort and joy. Then web cites came to being where adoptees were able to voice their feelings of their experiences of what it was like to be adopted without fear of retribution or being judgedor feeling that they had to be grateful for everything.

There, was for me a sense of freedom in saying that I was completely unhappy with my lot but, I struggled with many families until the right family found and loved me for who I was and knew that I had my place in the world. And, knew that one day I would need to go back to Vietnam and find answers to my missing parts of my history and past. And, even if I did not, it was a chance for me to find peace and to learn acceptance and to be able to move on.

I guess if anything, this is what I want for the younger generation of adoptees. I want them also to feel that they have the freedom to feel all those things to be happy with who they are, to find their place in the world to find their missing past if they can. For some this will mean travel. But, please do it at your own pace. And, if not to accept that and to move on with peace. To be able to voice their experiences of what it is like to be adopted whether it be with difficulty or with joy. To meet up and connect and to form friendships.

With the help of technology this has made this so much more a reality. But much more important than technology, if it were not for people such as Indigo Willing (of AVI) and Lynelle Beveridge (of ICASN), none of this would never have happened so, this is the time we need to take to thank those who have helped to establish foundations as, Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) at www.adoptedvietnamese.org and its egroup adoptedvietnameseinternational@yahoogroups.com and the Intercountry Adoption Support Network, (ICASN) at www.icasn.org

Today, the younger adoptees have much more resources to fall back on than wedid. For this I am grateful for. I hope this will continue. I hope too that parents who wish to adopt will willingly embrace the child’s country’s origins and as they grow to maturity will happily go with them back to their country and help them search their past as far as they are willing. I wish for both parents and adopted child to be as happy together as they can be. I know this is not always possible. For those that don’t have happy adoptions, I wish for them a very very strong network of friends. That, is so very important. For they are the ones that will help you to find your place in the world and put you on the right path to who you can be and to help you find your hidden talent. If you can keep a journal, that is so helpful as well.

My last note is I hope we never have another war like the one in Vietnam again. Sadly we are still at war in other parts of the world. Children are still misplaced and still being made orphans. That is the saddest part of all wars. I pray for peace. And if adoptions still need to be had, I pray that they are screened properly.