Tiffany Goodson spoke to AV about her thoughts on being adopted and other issues, May, 2000.
AV: Through the 1960s to April 1975, more than two thousand children born in Vietnam were adopted by families in the United States, how many are Holt International in contact with and how many turned out to the event in April, 2000?
TG: My name is Tiffany Chi Goodson (Duong Thi My Chi) I was adopted through Holt and flew out of Saigon around April 6 to Seattle. I was 5 months old. I regained contact with Holt in February of this year and attended the reunion they had in Baltimore in April.
AV :Adoptee Vietnamese Americans’ lives were profoundly touched by the Events which led to their adoption. Apart from having Vietnam, birthplace in common, what are some of the common stories post adoption you’ve heard from adoptees?
TG: Stories of discrimination, prejudice, racism, low-self esteem, drug/alcohol abuse. But also positive stories of gaining insight, self-realization, inner-peace, a broadened outlook on life, strength from struggles with identity.
AV: Beyond the politics, the tragedy, the conflict of the Vietnam years, These Vietnamese adoptees are a legacy of survival and triumph. Can you mention some of the “success” stories you know of from this group?
TG: No, only myself, which I cannot reveal to you at this time, because I am not a huge success yet.
AV: What is the common reason given for parents wanting to adopt a Vietnamese, back in the 1960s/70s and what are they like in the late 90s and 2000?
TG: Back then, my parents wanted 2 kids, but were just able to have one. My Dad was stationed in Okinawa for a year back then, and my mother stayed with him for that year and they came to love the “oriental” peoples. They wanted to adopt a Japaense baby, but knew that there were far more Vietnamese ones available at the time.
AV: Have you ever met an adoptee not interested in meeting or finding their birth parents? Is this an issue Holt. Int. address and provide service for? Do you know of any successful searches?
TG: No, but I am searching right now. I would love to hear from them (other adoptees).
AV: Do you find the parents of the adoptee are supportive of searching for birth parents, cultural information on Vietnam and multiculture? Or do you find most children are bought up in a homogenous environment matching that of the parents and dominant society?
TG: My parents are supportive of my search. They did not provide me with any cultural information about Vietnam. I think growing up, they had little access, and left the curiosity fulfillment up to me. I began to research in my college years, and they support me in whatever I want to learn about. I was brought up in a homogenous environment with a dominant culture, and am thankful that I have much in common with most everyone else, and can share many common experiences.
AV: What stories, if any, do you hear from the Vietnamese parents who give up their children for adoption?
AV: Finally, as a sub-group of Vietnamese immigrants, what is theinteraction like with American Vietnamese and adopted Vietnamese Americans like?
TG: I get stared at, because I am always with non-Asian peoples. I don’t speak the language, which doesn’t hinder interaction with people my own age or younger, but does with older Asians. I typically cannot really tell if people are Vietnamese unless it comes up in conversation. I have been told my mannerisms are very different than the typical Vietnamese girl, which I am glad, cuz I want to be anything but typical. This creates wierd misunderstandings from bizarre cultural assumptions that some people have, but oh well. For the most part I don’t hang out with too many Vietnamese Americans unless we have stuff in common (like adoptees.)