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‘Do I look like my mom?’ Vietnamese adoptee pens letter hoping to trace roots

Thursday, November 08, 2018, 15:26 GMT+7
‘Do I look like my mom?’ Vietnamese adoptee pens letter hoping to trace roots
Margaux Veldeman in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre

Margaux Veldeman, a Vietnamese adoptee living in Belgium, wrote a letter to Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper to express her wish of finding her biological family in Vietnam.

Veldeman’s letter came after the newspaper launched the second phase of its “Helping Vietnamese Adoptees Trace Their Roots” program, an initiative held in collaboration with the U.S.-based charity Kids Without Borders to help Vietnamese children who were adoptees in countries around the world find their biological parents.

The first phase of the program, launched in July this year, saw its first successful case in which Vietnamese-French Amandine Durand found her biological family in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau.

“That has given a hope to other Vietnamese adoptees around the world," said Son Michael Pham, chairman of Kids Without Borders.

Below is the story of Margaux Veldeman, with some editing for cohesion, clarity, and concision:

My name is Margaux, I live in Belgium and my Vietnamese name is Luu Thi Kim Xuan. My biological mother gave me life on May 22, 1997 at a hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, and then I was put up for adoption. After that, I was placed at the Go Vap orphanage [in the city].

Margaux Veldeman in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper
Margaux Veldeman in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre

According to papers, my biological mother’s name is Luu Thi Kim Cuc. She was 21 years old when she had to make this decision, a decision I will never question. It’s her choice and, from my point of view, the best option if she thought she would not be able to take care of me as well as she might have wished.

In June that year, my [Belgian] parents learnt that they were finally going to adopt a child after long years of expectations. They began to fill out the considerable number of adoption documents and came to see me in Vietnam that August and September. On September 27, 1997, we flew together to Belgium, the country where I have always lived.

I grew up in a family that gave me a lot of love and all I needed. Despite some dead ends and the fact that my parents finally split up, I never felt like I missed out on anything. I also have two brothers and a sister who are their biological children and we were always treated equally. I’m thus the only one with my own unique story. I feel a little bit different but I’m proud of it.

Since the very beginning, I always had a great relationship with my mom. She was always by my side. She always talks to me and is always helpful when I’m asking questions. Lucky for me because behind my joyful, curious, and spontaneous self, I’m kind of a sensitive and emotional girl. I have to admit that I’ve been frustrated many times because there are certain questions I’m just not able to find the answers to. That’s the reason why I will never give up my search, even if it’s sometimes difficult and even though I often think it’s a waste of time.

Margaux Veldeman in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper
Margaux Veldeman in a childhood photo she provided Tuoi Tre

I wonder what my biological mother’s] life looks like and if she’s okay. I’d really love to thank her for what she did, because giving birth to a child and then giving her to adoption when conditions were difficult (which was probably the case) represent a real act of love from a mother to her baby.

I don’t know how I would react if I’m able to meet her someday. My [Belgian] mom has the typical Italian look due to her origin and my dad has fair hair, white skin and blue eyes. I know it’s silly but it will be really strange for me.

I haven’t had the chance to go back to Vietnam yet, but a trip is planned for next winter. I’m looking forward to going. I’d really love to discover my native country and return to the place where I spent the first months of my life and try and involve myself in some projects there. I have a lot of ambitions.

Margaux Veldeman in a photo she provided Tuoi Tre (Youth) Newspaper
Margaux Veldeman in a photo she provided Tuoi Tre  

Finally, I would like to tell you, mom, that I’m sure of one thing: your hope was worth it. I don’t blame you for what you did and I never will. A part of me really hopes that besides the education my [Belgian] parents gave me and the values they tried to instill in me, I have inherited a little from your personality and just look a bit like the woman you are. This year, I will be the same age as you when you decided to abandon your child, crossing your fingers that she would live a better life. This is indeed the case. I have a great life and I’m infinitely thankful to you for it. I can now see it from your perspective and understand.

If one day you find this text, I hope that you could understand me too, and that we will meet each other. I remain hopeful.

Margaux Veldeman

Dong Nguyen/ Tuoi Tre News

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