Adopted Vietnamese International (AVI) was launched in April 2000 on the 25th anniversary of end the Viet Nam War. AVI is a volunteer network that is dedicated to Vietnamese adoptees from past generations to today. The first main generation were adopted before, during or in connection with the Viet Nam War or its mass exodus that directly resulted. Generations that followed came with refugees arriving in the 1980s and more recently, through international agreements between various nations.
One of the main aims of AVI is to provide a range of resources and opportunities for adopted Vietnamese to explore their community and history and to share their unique insights on adoption with adoptive parents and birth parents, the wider trans-racial adoption community, younger generations of adopted Vietnamese, general members of the Vietnamese Diaspora and other cultural communities. Since its launch over ten years ago, the AVI network has offered a range of Internet intiatives, creative projects, adoptee events and research.
AVI is a community network run on a voluntary basis. All individuals in key roles are volunteers who were adopted from Viet Nam.
Throughout modern history, a number of orphans Vietnamese orphans have migrated to Western nations for adoption, beginning as early as the 1950s during French occupation and throughout the Viet Nam War with America and its allies in the 1960s &1970s. Then, in the final months of the conflict, approximately 3000 Vietnamese more war orphans (mostly babies) were airlifted in a remarkable military and humanitarian project known as Operation Babylift with most adopted by families living overseas.Some were never adopted and placed into state care and foster situations. Operation Babylift stands as a remarkable event in the Viet Nam War and the history of adoption from Viet Nam due to the extraordinary mass-evacuations it involved, and a tragic plane accident known as the C5-Galaxy Crash.
Adopted Vietnamese war orphans from these eras, including many survivors from the C5-Galaxy Crash, now reside today in countries such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Finland and France. There is also a growing number who have chosen to return to live in Viet Nam.
The Mirror is My Memory
“Each time we looked in the mirror, we could see that we had a different family, culture, language, country and ancestors that we belonged to, if only for a brief moment. Only some of us would feel that loss for a lifetime…despite new loves, family and lives. The community joins together to say ‘Lest We Forget’ for the memory of soldiers lost at war; all we say is ‘Lest We Forget’ for the many soldiers, mothers & fathers, grandparents, younger sisters, little brothers, cousins and others who were lost in the Vietnam War, and to those who may have been our relatives. And for those who survived, we have not forgotten you and hope we too, are not forgotten.” – Vietnamese War Orphan
AVI has since grown in heart and nature from the input and inspiration of groups such as the IAC and former ICASN group in Australia, Origines Vietnam in France, Project Return II and Orphans of War: Voices Today in the UK, and Mam Non, The Vietnamese Adoptee Network and Operation Reunite in the USA. There are also more broader transnational and transracial adoptee groups who have truly inspired.
AVI sets out to offer one of the ‘homes’ away from home (and ‘homeland’) for adopted Vietnamese to get to know each other and exchange their ideas. All adopted Vietnamese including new emerging adopted Vietnamese groups in Australia and overseas are most welcome to promote their activities on the AVI web or egroup.
Our experiences, as adoptees, are unusual and can provide new insights on matters relating to place, culture and identity -so we welcome two- way dialogues on these and a range of other interesting and timely subjects. This process of exchange has, and continues to be a constructive and supportive one.
The adopted Vietnamese community defy rather than comply with easy labels. Our sense of history and identities can include a mixture of African American, First Nations, Latino, White and various Asian heritages, alongside our Vietnamese heritage. In addition, our adoptive parents and siblings backgrounds include various nationalities and faiths.
As a result, we defy traditional identity narratives. We do not fit mainstream notions of what is ‘real’ or ‘authentic’.
We are constructing new ways to feel proud of who we are beyond old borders – and are hopefully helping build a path for others who follow our more unusual but not unique life journey.
As we continue on our life journey, we have sort fresh and wide collaborations. An additional sense of knowledge, love and strength has been found through a range of individuals and collectives, including people who are adopted from other nations, Indigenous communities, as well as networking with general refugee, Asian and other cultural communities.
We have a number of ways that AVI members connect. Check out our AVI Social Networks & Groups page to find out more.