A Vietnamese daughter and her biological mother, who had been separated for nearly five decades, eventually met each other in a teary reunion following the child’s tireless seeking effort that usually gave no glimmer of hope.
Phan Thi Thanh, an 87-year-old resident in Quang Nam Province, burst out crying after seeing the daughter taken away from her 45 years ago.
The daughter, hugging her, also had eyes filled with tears.
“We’re separated when she was an infant. I thought she’s dead already,” recalled Thanh, implying the life-threatening danger posed by the war between Vietnam and the U.S.
“But good luck smiled on us,” said Thanh, who lived alone in her house, tending a vegetable back garden and keeping poultry in her old age.
“My wish was to find the daughter so that we can stay in this house. Only when the wish comes true can I die in peace,” the grey-haired woman with a bent back continued.
Life of tragedy
When Thanh’s first husband had died in wartime, leaving her with four children, she married another man and gave birth to another child but the second husband died of disease when she was having a second baby with him.
In 1973, around three months after giving birth to this last child, who is female, Thanh was so ill that she was supposed to have only a short time to live.
To everyone’s astonishment, she recovered but only to find that the baby had been adopted by a couple with her family’s consent while she was lying on a hospital sickbed.
The woman traveled far and wide to find the baby but ended up in vain.
She usually dreamed of the kid, and told the encounter to neighbors, some of whom advised her to forget the child because she was too young to remember anything.
But Thanh has held the hope of seeing the offspring again.
One day in July, Nguyen Thi Lieu, Thanh’s first-born, heard a relative-searching effort by a person named Dang Thi Ha – whom she suspected to be the adopted child – and hurriedly ran to Thanh.
The news was broadcast as part of a public announcement made via loudspeakers, old-style speakers hung on utility poles and most commonly found in rural Vietnam.
They obtained more information about Ha and made a trip from their hometown in Quang Nam Province to nearby Thua Thien-Hue Province, where Ha has lived.
Thanh and Ha embraced each other, moved to tears when they met again.
A DNA paternity test confirmed that Ha is the blood daughter.
Nights following the reunion, Thanh slept with the newly found child, giving her a stroke on the hair.
“Those are probably the most peaceful sleeps in my life,” Thanh said.
Daughter’s journey of finding mother
Ha said she had no memory of Thanh as she was adopted at three months old, and began seeking the biological mother when she was mature enough to understand motherhood.
With support from her husband and parents-in-law, Ha traveled all across Quang Nam in 2016 to fulfill the mother-finding desire – a process filled with more disappointment than hope.
She also had recourse to news outlets in the effort, and the dream came true.
“The feeling was ineffable. We cried whenever seeing each other,” Ha recalled of the first meetings with her blood mother, Thanh.
“These days are the happiest ones in my life,” Ha said, visibly touched by the event.