VN Adoptee – UK
My name is Tuyet Carr and my name before I was adopted: Tran Thi Ngoc Chau My adopted mother is Finnish and my adopted father is English. I spent part of my childhood in Finland, and am also bilingual in Finnish and English. I work as a receptionist.
What does the 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam War mean to you?
The 35th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war, personally mean’s to me that it coincided with the meet up of other adopted Vietnamese (VAD’s) in Vietnam on April 2010. This was my first trip back since I was adopted 36 year’s ago (1974). It was an awesome event, with so many other VAD’s from different part’s of the world coming together at our Motherland. Some of these VAD’s I had only “met” via Facebook, so it was a special feeling to finally meet, connect and share our personal experiences of being adopted with those who only understand only too well what it’s like to be part Vietnamese and part Western upbringing.
This includes all the inner conflicts/issues/identities one can’t help questioning of oneself. To be part of a VAD group is like an instant acceptance. Which is a rare thing, when in adulthood you make new friends, you have to first build a “bond”, where as here with the VAD’s we share an instant bond, and we call each other as an extend family group.
What makes you feel drawn to and proud to be a part of the adopted Vietnamese community?
It is a sense of feeling of belonging. Of total and unquestioning acceptance. It doesn’t matter what monetary status or adopted family background or job title you have in your life, these go by the wayside. When meeting fellow VAD means, all barriers that usual friendships have to climb are instantly out of the way. We are at one with each other, and you are valued as a person.
What hopes and dreams do you hold for younger generations of Vietnamese adoptees?
I hope that like me, if after years of denial of my heritage and birth country, that they will discover what a wonderful country Vietnam is – and visit it one day. It’s never too late to discover your birth heritage. And like me, to find peace and acceptance of yourself, which can only come after you have acknowledged your past.
Can you discuss the passion that drives some of you to do volunteer work with reunions and/or developing adoptee groups?
A sense of accomplishment and belonging is certainly a strong factor in giving back to children who have so little in life. Or have little chance in improving their immediate surroundings. To see a child’s smile, as you tickle their feet, or give them a cuddle is so rewarding, to see a child develop through your own nurturing and caring…to know that you have given at least a chance in life, whether it be through fund raising or even volunteering for day, but know that it could have been me in the cot crying to be held and given some attention.
Can you discuss the work you might do for children in orphanages today and birth relatives and/or community in Vietnam?
After visiting Go Vap (thanks to Kim Nguyen Browne and the Vietnam Volunteer Network – www.vietnamvolunteerwork.com and my orphanage in Can Tho – my only regret was that I didn’t have enough time to volunteer at least a day of my time there. These orphanages are crying out for not only medical volunteers, even if just helpers to feed/clothe the children or even have time to play. Because of short staff funding, little is seen for interaction and stimulation of these children. Just the basic care, it is the most humbling experience. On our next trip, we intend to spend some time at my orphanage helping out, and I hope to do at least one fund raising event in preparation of my next visit.