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​Vietnamese adoptees confide heartwarming stories of tracing birth parents

Thursday, July 19, 2018, 16:12 GMT+7
​Vietnamese adoptees confide heartwarming stories of tracing birth parents
Auréline Malnoury (R) and other Vietnamese adoptees on the sidelines of a talk titled "Helping Vietnamese Adoptees Trace Their Roots" held by Tuoi Tre newspaper on July 12, 2018 in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Marion Potriquet and Auréline Malnoury, two adoptees who recently returned to their native Vietnam from France, shared their journeys-in-progress of finding their birth parents in separate talks with Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Here are the stories from Marion Portiquet, whose Vietnamese name is Niem Thuc Nu, and Auréline Malnoury, whose Vietnamese name is Phan Van Giang, with the first one penned into a letter by Tuoi Tre and the second is in the form of a personal essay.

'I feel ready for this huge change'

Dear mom,

A huge change will happen the day I meet you.

When I was born on April 10, 1996 at Tu Du Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, for some reason, you left me. What remained was the name you gave me, Niem Thuc Nu, and a paper with your name on it, Niem Thuc Kieu, 25.

I’m now a 22-year-old woman trying to figure out why you left me.

Marion Portriquet in a current photo she provided Tuoi Tre News
Marion Portriquet in a current photo she provided Tuoi Tre News

Apparently, you were alone when you gave birth to me. You gave me to an orphanage so that I could have a better life than the one you thought you could give me.

I was sent to the Go Vap Orphanage [in Ho Chi Minh City] and later adopted by a French family. Two months after I was born, I was on a plane to France. I have been loved and had a great life with a wonderful family. Mom, your hope paid off.

Of course, I always knew I was an adoptee because of my different hair, eyes, and skin color.

I’ve grown up with my own unique story and I am happy with it. I was sometimes teased at school because of my differences, or asked uncomfortable questions, but I don't really have any memories of really bad situations.

In France, adoption is quite common and I know many other Vietnamese who were adopted too. I am proud of my roots and I feel happy to be different. 

I have a big sister. She is tall, blonde, and has blue eyes. It’s completely different from me. That is very funny!

And she is the family’s biological daughter. She was five when the family adopted me and she held me when we first met in Saigon.

We still have pictures capturing that moment. We spent a lot of time together, especially during summer holidays.

Marion Portriquet and her older sister in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre News
Marion Portriquet and her older French sister in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre News

Indeed, since I was born, my family and I have always spent our summer holidays together in countries other than France such as Vietnam, Indonesia, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Malta, and Laos. 

My parents have been very good to me and my sister. They’ve always treated us equally, without any differences! Everyone wants me to be successful and happy.

More than that, they have been very supportive of my desire to re-connect with Vietnam and find my birth parents.

Last February, I moved to Hanoi for an exchange semester in cooperation with the National Economics University.

It gave me the chance to travel Vietnam to see your homeland, my motherland. Cat Ba Island, Mai Chau, Ha Long Bay, Ha Giang were some of the places where I discovered beautiful landscapes, nice people, and cultural treasures.

I fell in love with Vietnam and took a few Vietnamese classes. The language is very hard but I’ll keep trying.

When I returned to the Go Vap Orphanage, thanks to the video footage my adoptive parents took when they came in 1996, I was able to recognize the place!

It was a huge step for me. Coming back to the orphanage was emotional.

Seeing all the kids and babies in the room was really special. I cried. I was once in their place and I really hope that they will find a family that will raise them and love them as much as mine did.

They are really cute and deserve a good life. I am so grateful to the Go Vap Orphanage and to the staff who work there. 

I also think about you, who you are, where you are, and if you are ok.

You gave me life and for that I am grateful, I don’t hate you for abandoning me. I don't know how I would react if I find you, even though I’ve thought about that moment a thousand times!

But I will definitively be happy, stressed, and emotional. I know one thing for sure; if it happens it would change my life forever. I feel ready for this huge change.

I am still young and full of energy. I know that one day I will understand. I will not give up, though searching is difficult. I’m sharing this with the hope of finding a helping hand from people in Vietnam.

If you read this, please find me.

Marion Portiquet – Niem Thuc Nu

'I’m learning Vietnamese to see my mother'

I’m learning Vietnamese so I can talk to my mother if one day I can find her. I’ve always been afraid of: “how can I communicate with my birth parents if I cannot speak Vietnamese?”

I was ten months old when I was adopted from the Go Vap Orphanage by a French family.

Aureline Malnoury in a childhood photo he provided Tuoi Tre News
Auréline Malnoury in a childhood photo he provided Tuoi Tre News

Growing up in a north-central town in France, my childhood was quite difficult. I was a unique child raised by white parents in the countryside.

Every morning I woke up, looked at my face in the mirror and wondered “whose nose is this? Whose eyes are these?” If I can find my biological parents, I will be so curious to know which one I look like.

Recently, I’ve had some eye problems and the doctor asked me if anyone in my family has had the same issue. I could only tell him that I am adopted and that was not the first time I’ve been asked.

My first time returning to Vietnam was three years ago with my adoptive mother.

Seeing how happy I was here, and knowing that Vietnam holds the answer for the missing piece in my life, my mother apologized for not taking me back sooner. I was really touched by that moment.

During that trip, we visited the Go Vap Orphanage.

Now, since moving here to live and work as a tennis coach, I try to visit the orphanage once a week to see if I can contribute anything, from kitchen work to laundry.

Aureline Malnoury is seen with children at Go Vap Orphanage in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News
Auréline Malnoury is seen with children at the Go Vap Orphanage in a photo he provided Tuoi Tre News

I dream to be a sport coach, or even a life coach, for the kids there. I want to teach them my positive living philosophy.

I feel useful when I’m with them. I plan to move to live near the orphanage for easier traveling.

I want to be an orphan who was adopted from that shelter and came back to do something for the place where I was cared for.

I would be proud if I could do something for the children there and I’m happy that I can help them.

If I can ever meet my birth parents, I want to take them there.

Auréline Malnoury – Phan Van Giang

Dong Nguyen/Tuoi Tre News

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