35th – Australia – Simon Keogh’s Reflections

Simon Keogh
VN Adoptee – Australia


I always remember April 30th every year as it is the day the Vietnam War ended.

It always gets me thinking about how it’s changed not only my life and my adoptive families lives, but everyone who had anything to do with the war from the people of Vietnam and the soldiers on all sides to the children in the orphanages there today still suffering the effects of Agent Orange a generation later.

The 35th anniversary of the end of the war reminds me where I came from in 1973 and I wonder if the people of Vietnam celebrate this day and if they regard it as a special or significant day. Having returned to Vietnam twice since my adoption, I couldn’t help noticing how young the population seemed to be.

I’m sure a great many people there were not born until after the war ended or were only very young at the time and have no living memory of those awful times but is it a auspicious time for them and their families?

I feel proud to be a part of the adopted Vietnamese community and have met many adoptees who have shared their story with myself and others.

We are united by circumstances in which we had no control over and have connected with one another on a basis unique to intercountry adopted people.

We can say yes, we are adopted people from a once war torn country and yes we have had to face social issues as well as issues with our identity but look at us now!

We also share an empathetic bond with each other and a kind of trust, knowing that our feelings and emotions that stem from adoption are understood by others who have had the same experience.

It’s been very rewarding for me to meet and become friends with other adoptees who I feel have supported me in ways I hoped for and it is through these friends I have become involved with supporting the intercountry adoptee community.

I hope, that in the future, younger adoptees who will face complex issues regarding their identity, their past and their future have the same fortitude and resilience that I’ve encountered with other adoptees, and that they grow into the proud adults they are capable of becoming.

Simon Keogh