Tuesday, June 13, 2006


The nurse motioned the young woman to one of the empty cribs, in the large and dimly lit hospital room. The young woman, arms cradling her baby, walked slowly to the crib, still feeling the pain from labour. As she walked through the room, holding her baby tightly against her frail body, her physical pain was not on her mind. She could only think of what she was about to do and wished she didn't have to do it.

In front of the crib, the young woman leaned over the edge and carefully laid her new-born daughter, wrapped in a red blanket, onto the mattress inside the crib. Eyes filled with the silent tears of a heart-broken mother, she took a long look at her baby. She hoped the moment would never end. She wanted to pick the child back up and run as far as she could away from the hospital and away from the city, but she knew very well that would ruin both her and her daughter's lives, rather than saving both. An unmarried mother of a daughter who looks neither Chinese nor Vietnamese would not fair too well in a war-torn Vietnam. Both would be chastised.

The young woman turned and began to walk back to the direction of the nurse to finish off the paper work. As she did she was almost certain she heard her baby cry out for her. Little did she know, that baby would cry out for her her entire life.

I can only imagine that was what transpired when my wife was given up for adoption. The mystery of her biological roots has plagued her entire existence. Being given up by one's own mother, I imagine is very, very difficult. I find myself consoling my wife on many occasions when self-doubt, then anger at her selfish mother creeps into her system.

My wife's mystery is a fact of her life that has become a fact of my and son's lives.

If only there was a GoogleGenetics - that would redefine the phrase, "let me google myself"...

For more mysteries: Sunday Scribblings


Anonymous said...

What a poignant take on this week's theme! This brought a tear to my eye...Adoptees must struggle so much with this mystery of how they came to be put up for adoption...yet the biological mothers certainly must struggle as well to do what they think will most benefit their child. I think your scenario may very well be close to what really happened. What a thoughtful husband to write this for your wife. I hope it brings some comfort to her & her loved ones.

Anonymous said...

I can't imagine what it must have been like for your wife growing up in Vietnam after the war, especially if it was obvious that she isn't fully Vietnamese. Who took care of her? How did she survive?

My twin sister and I were put up for adoption in Canada, immediately after we were born. We were adopted by a loving family who were unable to bear any more children. As we were growing up, our mom always spoke so highly of our birthmother so we never resented being put up for adoption. She even took us to Parent Finders, a group for adoptees and birthparents to discuss adoption as a whole and possibly search for a birthparent/child.

About four years ago, with the help of the Cdn government, we met our birthmother and her family for the first time. It was scary at first. Very emotional. There was the worry that we would be rejected. Luckily, everything worked out and now we have two families.

Going to Parent Finders, just listening to other adoptees talk about their experiences and feelings about the whole adoption process had a positive impact on my sister and me (and on our family as a whole).
I wonder if there is a similar group as Parent Finders for those who share your wife's experience in Vietnam?

John E. Tran said...

Thank you both, Tinker and Susanna, for your comments.

My wife was adopted by loving parents, but they were in they fifties when she was adopted. This was good and bad, as with everything. Being older, they were able to give my wife the wisdom and stability that perhaps younger parents could not. On the flip side, as her parents grew older, my wife had the task (and arguably burden) of taking care of them. This meant much of my wife's teenage years and twenties were consumed with the care of elderly parents (many visits to hospitals and nursing homes). Both her parents have passed on now. This is another mixed feeling since on the one hand, my wife and her parents are now free of the pains of old age. But on the other hand, my wife is without parents at a relatively young age.

Life is full of goods and bads, isn't it?

Thank you Susanna for the Parent Finders suggestion. In a country like Vietnam, something like Parent Finders seems very improbable, but it's worth a shot someday.

Walt Disney said: "All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."


Anonymous said...

Please encourage your wife to have some compassion for her own mother who probably felt that she had no choice.