Searching for First/Original Family & Other Relatives
The AVI searching database was in operation for ten years but times are changing. With issues of privacy and a range of other sensitive issues now needing rethinking – the collection of any new searching posts has now ceased. The good news is that we will be keeping a look out to inform everyone of incoming and external new options on the horizon by organisations with more administrative muscle and resources for reunion mediations, counseling etc.
Below is a list of adoptee groups and related services that have searching strategies that might be able to assist you under ‘General Info’. This includes Operation Reunite’s DNA project and their expanding contact with Vietnamese and ‘biological’ parents, such as soldiers who fathered children during the war, who are searching for their children from the Vietnam War.
Thank you to Michael Purling who has kept the database for many years and everyone who shared information.
General Info & AVI Searching Guide
Vietnam Family Search
Launched in 2018 by My Huong, a Vietnamese adoptee living in Vietnam, working in orphanages in Danang and raising Vietnamese children from orphanages. See here
Operation Reunite & DNA Registry
Goldberg is a Vietnamese Amerasian who found her birth mother and is now dedicated to helping other VN adoptees on their journey. Since 2010 Operation Reunite has been running a DNA registry project for people searching for Vietnamese relatives.
The below is a collection of info created with the help of the adopted Vietnamese community and its supporters created October 2009 – please join the AVI Facebook Discussion Group for more regular updates of any incoming posts and info about general searching information and new projects/searching posts shared by various adoptee-related groups with AVI.
If you have any sources of information, corrections or suggested resources which you think can help searching adoptees, Amerasians, first parents and other relatives separated during the Viet Nam War (and contemporary adoptions) please do not hesitate to forward it to email@example.com or post them on the AVI FB page or AVI e-group.
It is not possible for AVI to research and verify the groups listed below, but it is hoped that the following information will be useful as you begin to conduct your search.
It is helpful for you to collect as much information as you can about your adoption. This is because thousand of orphans were sent overseas and the trick is to narrow your own case down as much as possible. Keep a ‘scrap-book’ or folder of all your records that you can collect, with ‘diary’ entries of what you do – and only send out copies (not the originals) to people or organizations. This will help you track your progress and to identify subtle things that might be helpful to you as you progress on your search. When approaching people who were involved with the adoptions from Vietnam, it is helpful to provide them with the following:
- Your Vietnamese name if known
- The orphanage you were from and age on arrival
- Any birth records with names of Vietnamese parents
- The village, district or province that you were from
- The year you were adopted, left Vietnam and what age you were
- Baby photos if available – and a list of any distinguishing features you may have.
You may find that your adoptive parents or others, such as adoption agencies, will already be in possession of this information. If you do not have access to your records you may also try contacting the local state and/or federal government department that administrated your immigration and adoption. The laws vary according to your location but often the government will have records of your Vietnamese birth certificate and some orphanage papers with signatures and addresses of witnesses. Although the legitimacy of these records varies, most of these papers can still be useful in tracing your birth parents eg. if only providing the year of your birth and village.
In Australia – please seek out your local state department that is in charge of foreign adoptions at the AVI Adopted Vietnamese Australians (AVA) page or the Attorney General’s Office post-adoption:
The Vietnamese Government has recently decided to issue Vietnamese born people with their birth certificate. For more info please contact Amerasian Family Finder at:
For your own independent searching options it is useful to consider contacting people who were involved with operation babylift, the adoption agency that arranged your adoption, the overseas Vietnamese community newspapers in your area (eg. there are hundreds in America and a good few in Australia) and elsewhere (over 2 million Vietnamese have re-setteled overseas in places including Canada, Europe and the Pacific Islands since the war). See media organizations in Vietnam who are interested in promoting searches in their community announcements.
There is also the option of contacting newspapers and television stations in Vietnam and visiting Vietnam in person. For VN newspapers try:Nhan Dan newspaper, www.nhandan.org.vn Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 84-4-825-4231/4232 or Tuoi Tre Newspaper – 161 Ly-Chinh-Thang St – Dist.3, HCM City – Tel: 84-8-844-5984/5986 Translators will most likely required . Some adoption agencies that deal with adoption in Vietnam or orphanages may offer this service either for a fee or for free. However, there are other sensitive cultural issues and other cautionary factors that you should take into account. Also, if you do meet people that you feel are related to you, the evidence will ultimately depend on a DNA test.
In addition, you may want to contact other adoptees who are searching for family in your area i.e. adoptees from Danang if you were born there, as they may have done a lot of research themselves that can be helpful to you. You might find some on the *archive* AVI searching table. Some adoptees may even have recent pictures of your orphanage – and even contact lists that they developed from their own visits there in the past. Also – you can help others so please feel free to share any info you find out – as we, as a community, have been assisting each other accomplish great milestones.
Also see Trista Goldberg’s Operation Reunite: www.operationreunite.com
10 Questions to Ask Before You Search
Written by Hollee McGinnis, a Korean Adoptee who also has a lot of experience as an adoption professional. McGinnis graduated cum laude from Mount Holyoke College, where she completed an independent study on ethnic and racial identity of college-aged Korean adoptees, and a paper on the history of Vietnamese intercountry adoptions
www.akconnection.com/search/thesearch.asp?cat=search (page not found)
Motherland Heritage Searching for Vietnamese and Other Relatives Website
Canada based, global focus for adoptees searching for their first/original parents: www.motherland-heritage.com
Emmanuelle Babey writes (2009):
I am a VN adoptee from France, is setting up a new sight to assist adopted Vietnamese war orphans find information about their birth parents and extended family, plus general information about orphanages. I have many photos of orphanages available. To find out more contact: email@example.com
(also visit Emmanuelle Babey (Lê Thi My Hoàng) bio AVI page)
Lynelle writes on Oct 2008:
Hi .. some of you may not be aware, but each State/Territory Govt in Australia has one of these Registry’s that you can keep your contact details updated in, should the case arise that birth family or relatives contact the Australian Govt to find you.
This arose to my attention due to being on the NSW Adoption & Perm Care Committee where the case worker for DoCS advised of having had 4 birth mothers (mostly from Korea) contact DoCS seeking contact with their child, believed to be adopted to an Australian family. In all these cases, contact has been established.
The following is the link to RIR in NSW .. so those of you who were adopted via NSW, might want to consider updating your details. It costs $65 ($35 concession) to lodge yourself in the register … if you don’t wish to pay the fee, just write and contact DoCS advising you are interested in contact should a birth parent come forward one day – they will make up a file for you at no cost. See
Inter-Country Adoptee Support Network (ICASN)
* Please note Lynelle Beveridge retired from ICASN in July 2010 and the website is no longer online.
Dorothee Writes in Nov 2008:
I found on Facebook Anne Dolan – McCrudden, a children nurse who worked at Allambie from 1972 to july 1973 with Rosemary taylor and Susan McDonald.
Anne McCrudden is looking after children who spent time at Allambie during her time.
Please tell me if you want to get in touch with this woman or if you know adoptees (living now in Australia or USA) from Allambie who taken care by her.
Write me with e-mail address, I ‘ll give it to Anne McCrudden.
Dorothee also asks June 2009:
“Do you know a woman named Jacqueline Hardy. She lived in Saigon (around 1973) and took care for some children from Rosemary Taylor’s orphanages when they have health problems or integration difficulties”.
To contact Dorothee – firstname.lastname@example.org
Emmanuelle Babey aka Lê Thi My Hoàng (France) writes in April 2008:
On April 2008, thanks to a Vietnamese friend, I have met the journalists who run the televised program: “As there has never been any separation”. If I remember well, it is broadcasted once per month and is very followed by the Vietnamese.
This emission allows all abroad Vietnamese to find their families in Vietnam (adopted or not). All the persons who handle the search are not remunerated and do it really to help their compatriots to find their families. So, please, if you decide to call on this emission, think it thoroughly.
Doing research require a lot of time, of travel and of money. Believe me as I know what I am saying, doing myself the research during my trips to Vietnam for some adoptees; voluntarily, for sure with the help of Vietnamese friends,,,… the most frustrating thing is to help people and when you are close to the objective, they just do not provide any more information!!! In summary, through this emission, you commit yourself to be filmed if your family has been found (as <lost of contact>), after the DNA test, of course at your expense.
It means that you commit yourself to come to Vietnam (if the emission has found your family) and that your reunion will be filmed by this televised emission. Unfortunately, as the journalists have told me, all the families have not been found…
For those who are interested, first of all you must fill out the forms before contacting the televised channel. All the forms must be filled out in English only. Do not omit any details. Your photos should be in the best quality as possible. (photo of yourself at the youngest age possible and actual) I take also the opportunity to send you a photo of Quynh Huynh, the journalist of this small televised channel (that has very limited resources) together with her business card and the one of another journalist Minh Luan. Both of them handle the requests of family gatherings. Do not hesitate to contact them in English, they are very nice. Of course, there are other televised channels in Vietnam, but not unpaid…
Emmanuelle aka Lê Thi My Hoàng (France) – email@example.com
My Huong Le writes for 2009 – 2010:
My Huong Le, an Australian VN adoptee living in Vung Tau and overseeing several schools and orphanages, is interested in compiling signatures of support for a TV announcement directed at birth mothers to raise awareness about searching adoptees. If you would like to hear about her early planning stages for this please email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org
John Nguyen, 2009 shares:
An adoptee friend in the US, John Nguyen, has kindly shared the below information about a television show in Vietnam (in Vietnamese language) that assists people searching for relatives. The link is
The same applies to all media I guess – you have to take some chances with your privacy and let go of a lot of control when you open your life to a third party of journalists. But it could be very good resource too.
there is a program by Vietnam Television network called “Nhu chua he co cuoc chia ly” contacted for detail so they help to investigate and plan on running on nationwide television program. This is a non profit program and they found quite a lot of missing people with striking, imazing re-union stories. If any of us, adoptee needs searching for family, I strongly recommend to contact them.
You can now follow up and do your own research using the additional info you have begun to organize and collect. Ultimately for now, we are our own detectives but the groups or services below in alphabetical order are beginning to some resourceful options for searching:
* In alphabetical order
Amerasian Family Finder
Amerasians who are helping other Amerasians (from Korea, Vietnam, Phillipines and other) find their relatives and negotiate numerous other issues of concern to this community can now network their resources via former Amerasian Foundation volunteer, Jennifer at email@example.com
Here is the website: www.amerasianfamilyfinder.com plus her special page for Vietnam is:
Adoption Links for Vietnam
DNA Bank for Adoptees Seeking Birth Parents
An ambitious project yet to prove practical, it is however a milestone idea in the process of adoptees searching for the birth parents. The Seeker, in conjunction with DNATesting.com is now conducting DNA Banking to help reunite adoptees with birth parents.
Holt Adoption Agency
Offers assistance to Vietnamese adoptees searching for their birth parents for a fee. Holt is responsible for around 30% of the US Operation Babylift adoptions in 1975. They also have a list of orphanage contacts from those that were operating in 1975 and may still be in operation.
P.O. Box 2880
1195 City View | Eugene, OR 97402
Office Hours: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm (PST)
Phone: (541) 687-2202 | Fax: (541) 683-6175
Operation Babylift 1975 Susan McDonald
Susan McDonald Author, (with Rosemary Taylor) still receives letters from women in Vietnam searching for husbands, fathers of their children. They have sent birth records, marriage certificates and other identifying documents, trying to locate these men. She has catalogued all this info–by Vietnamese women’s names; towns; branch of military; dates; men’s names; children’s names; dates, etc. This could possibly be helpful for anyone trying to locate birth parents. She also has info on over 40 orphanages. Please contact Susan directly with your name, Viet birth records and orphanage details if possible at email her: firstname.lastname@example.org or mail Sister Susan Carol McDonald, 826 N. Rock Hill Roadn St. Louis, MO 63119 USA
www.operationreunite.com founded by Trista Goldberg
The Post Adoptive Resource Centre (PARC), NSW Australia
PARC has just released a new Searching for Birth Parents Guide book. There is a chapter for Vietnamese adoptees with input by AVI and other sources. You can find out more by contacting the editor, Ms Thea Ormond TheaO@bensoc.org.au
Red Cross Location Service
Red Cross Location Service has been able to reunite lost relatives including orphans with their birth parents from the Vietnam War. There special connection to Vietnam after the war was with their work in Vietnamese refugee camps. The American Red Cross provides tracing and location services in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, our Congressional Charter of 1905, and our obligations as a member of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Tracing is an American Red Cross “Must” service; all American Red Cross chapters and stations on U.S. military installations overseas are required to provide this service to their communities.
(908)725-2217 in USA
The International Social Service – Australian Branch
International Social Service works across borders with those in vulnerable situations, with a special emphasis on children. We work to ensure entitlement and protection under international human rights frameworks, through the professional delivery of casework and advocacy services.
For Australia please see: www.iss.org.au
ISS has two offices in Australia
Office hours are 9.00 am to 5.00 pm Monday to Friday. Appointments are essential.
National Office, Level 2, 313-315 Flinders Lane, Melbourne Victoria 3000, AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 3 9614 8755 from outside Australia or (03) 9614 8755 from within Australia.
Toll free number: 1300 657 843
Fax: +61 3 9614 8766 from outside Australia or (03) 9614 8766 from within Australia.
NSW Office (for enquiries relating to NSW) Suite 8, Level 1, 13-15 Wentworth Avenue, Sydney NSW 2000, AUSTRALIA
Phone: +61 2 9267 0300 from outside Australia or (02) 9267 0300 from within Australia
Fax: +61 2 9267 3886 from outside Australia or (02) 9267 3886 from within Australia
Return to Vietnam: About Vietnam Motherland Tours
Organized for former adoptees, families and friends, the Vietnam Motherland Tour offers an opportunity for adoptees to reconnect with their roots and share the experience with fellow adoptees. The tour combines a balance of visiting places of personal significance with cultural and historical sightseeing of modern day Vietnam. Unique to the Motherland Tours is that each trip is tailored to an individual’s background. We do our best to accommodate visits to towns/villages, orphanages, and nurseries relevant to the individual’s background. Each place is thoroughly researched in advance so no time is wasted when the participants are in country. Meetings with former childcare workers and administrators are also well organized in advanced so that reunions can be made possible. If you are planning to go to Vietnam by yourself they can still advise you on important info such as if your orphanage is still running or the original location etc. and advise on good translators you can trust etc.
Sao Mai Searching for Birthparents Webpage for Amerasians
VAN – USA
The Vietnamese Adoptee Network is the pioneer group for adopted Vietnamese in the USA and elsewhere. It is a non-profit and offers a range of ongoing support for the community. Their original website is currently not online but you can find them on FB.
Victoria Adoption Registry Australia
Adoption Registry Connect is a worldwide adoptee and birth parent search registry designed to reunite adoptees with their birth parents and siblings.
Vietnamese brought out through the COR 1967 – 68 airlifts
In December 1966, the Committee of Responsibility (COR) was formed and incorporated in New York. COR was comprised of medical personnel, scientists, clergymen, and concerned citizens who had agonized over American involvement in the bloody Vietnamese Conflict, and who were seeking avenues for helping the civilians injured in the crossfire. In October 1967, the first three children arrived in the States. Over the ensuing months, nearly 100 children were evacuated and received the finest medical care possible. A few of you may find your names on the list at the bottom of this document [box 30].
For more information, contact Wendy Chmielewski, Curator at: wchmiel@ swarthmore.edu
Australia – AGD information on ICA
The Attorney General’s Department now posts a range of useful information on Intercountry Adoption: