A Vietnamese mother who thought her daughter had died at birth has been on a decades-long journey to find the girl after learning that she is still alive.
Nguyen Thi Nhung, 53, gave birth to her firstborn daughter in 1986 at the age of 21.
The baby girl needed intensive care after birth, and the hospital later announced that she did not make it.
Nhung’s husband, worried that she would be shocked upon hearing the news, hid it from her and asked the hospital to take care of their daughter’s funeral.
As the mother eventually learned of the heartbreaking news her husband had tried to hide, the young couple moved to a new house a month later, hoping it would make it easier for them to move on after the agonizing experience.
Two years had passed before Nhung returned to the same hospital for a medical checkup.
That was when she learned from a nurse, who asked the mom normal catch-up questions, that her daughter had never died.
The hospital confirmed that Nhung’s daughter was one of the two babies who were born on the same date, who both had the same name and required intensive care.
The baby who died was the other one, while the hospital’s efforts to inform Nhung’s family about the confusion were in vain as she had moved to a new address, doctors claimed.
Nhung’s daughter was taken in by an orphanage in Ho Chi Minh City in 1986, and adopted by French parents in 1988, the same year when she revisited the hospital and knew that her baby is alive.
When Nhung eventually embarked on her journey to find her daughter, the girl was already in France.
“It was our fault,” Nhung told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in early November, as her 30-year search for the daughter still comes to no end.
“We were young and so shocked by the news that our daughter had died that we didn’t think it through.”
“It’s been 32 years, so she must be a grown lady now,” she said.
Having never seen her daughter’s face, Nhung can only guess what she may look like today by looking at her nieces.
She has also traveled to France, where every person she encountered on the streets reminded Nhung of her daughter, even though she never knew what the girl really looked like.
“I kept looking and looking, and suddenly every girl I saw became my daughter,” Nhung said.
“I just hope that my daughter is aware of her Vietnamese roots and takes part in activities of the Vietnamese community in France.”
“And I hope that she knows there’s a Vietnamese mother waiting for her somewhere across the ocean.”