Do I feel sad that I’ve only just realised I need to do this?

19958_268145841427_4018750_nYes and no. I do feel sad that I’ve only just embraced my true identity and I know I have so much work to do.

I know that history cannot be rewritten and the facts of my identity will still be the same today as they were in 1975 when I left Vietnam. However, with time, these facts get diluted, in that they may be more difficult to find answers to as the nuns at the orphanage may not be around today or, if they are, their memories of those days will not be as vivid.

It still may not be too late. Yet.

But still, I also realise that I may never find all the answers to my questions as not all the facts were written down or recorded, so a great deal of speculation has to be applied. That’s why the other adoptees are invaluable. With their facts and speculation, I can try make some outline of what I think my story may have been.

So the facts that I once denied myself has now become a strong need, a burning desire to do everything I possibly can to find out about such a tiny portion of my life, the first years of my life, that formed the basis of who I am today.

They say that the first two years of a child’s life are the most fundamental as they form the foundations of their personality, their mental standing, their maturity and their ability to deal with everyday life as an adult. So those first 18 months form 75% of that valuable time I need to uncover. I also believe that the outstanding 25% of that time was absorbed in getting used to a new life with a new family in a new country.

This is so very important.

So, in answer to that question, yes I feel grieved that I haven’t done this before now.

But on the other hand, I also realise that I obviously wasn’t ready to travel this journey before now. Everything happens for a reason: sometimes stars collide, sometimes the planets realign themselves. Even if it if it is too late, this journey will still have been worth it, if only to find out about my own personality rather than the facts of it. I have always been an immature child, I could never cope with mature conversations; the last 10 years is when I’ve done most of my mental growing up and so I feel that this past decade has helped me to prepare for what I’m doing today.

Another aspect of it is that I never knew how to approach it as I wasn’t aware of what tools I needed in order to accomplish this task. Since the art and facilitation of online networking sites, this task has become so much easier, that I can share experiences with others, obtain the right support and comfort from other people. So no, I don’t feel sad that I’ve only just started out as it would have been so much harder and a longer journey.

So, I also feel confused in my mixed emotions.

I’m extremely fortunate for the amount of love and support I have around me; from my family, my friendship circle and my online friends that I can share so much and put my story out there without fear or judgement and get so much back from them. I also feel so blessed for the people who have come forward to help me on my progressive journey to help uncover and record my story.

And to deal with the subject of angels: this covers every one of those people in these passages who have so much love in their hearts, so much time and information to give and their invaluable help and support, without whom, none of this would’ve been conceivable.

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Stunned … she’s just found out that one of her Vietnamese names means “Angel in the Full Moon”

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So do we translate each part of our name and make a story of it or do the pick the most prominent one? Since I think I have a given name by my birth parents and a “false” name by the orphange, here goes:

* Lam Yen Hang
Lam: Jungle or Dense Forest
Ye^n: Peace, Safe, Stand Still
Ha`ng: Angel in the Full Moon (<— I like this one!)

* Trang Thi Minh, Tran
Trang: Not yet known
Thi: Poem (<– the most common middle name for girls)
Minh: Jade
Tran: Not yet known (<– very common surname)

How do I feel?

1917914_214777231427_78599_nAs Abba once said: “I have a dream,” and “I believe in angels”. I not only have a dream but I have I have a vision. I also very much believe in angels. Let’s deal with the first bit now:

My dream is to explore my past, to put the missing piece back into the jigsaw of my life. I feel that by doing this I can uncover the mysteries that I have in myself and to better understand who I am, who I want to be, why I think the way I do and to embrace the unknown me in my ethnicity, culture and country that I have left undiscovered for so long. It’s not just a project to work on – although it’s a very enjoyable one – it’s something that I feel I need to do, I owe it to myself to uncover a part of me that I’ve ignored, turned my back on and disrespected for almost 35 years.

And to deal with the subject of angels: this covers every one of those people in these passages who have so much love in their hearts, so much time and information to give and their invaluable help and support, without whom, none of this would’ve been conceivable.

The Search Starts

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So, I started my search. I Googled everything I possibly could, the name of my Orphanage, my supposed Name which I knew was wrong, Operation Babylift, Orphans, The Daily Mail, Project Vietnam Orphans, Reverend Patrick Ashe, in fact anything that was remotely connected to the airlift.

I found a few bits and pieces on the BBC website, a few websites which were to do with the Airlift but they were all US based – there didn’t seem to be anything based in the UK.

I continued, never gave up, persisted, determined and intent on finding something, anything – anything that would steer me in some direction as to where to go next.

It really wasn’t that long before I came across my first gem. After having Googled the name of the orphanage I was in, it returned a result and as I clicked on the link, my heart was filled with so much joy as I found the name of someone who had a very similar name to mine who was in the same orphanage as myself. Her name was Lam Yen Hoan, mine was Lam Yen Hang, she had been in the Lam Thi Ny orphanage in Saigon, where I had been. This was such a revelation. I aslo had her name as an American Citizen, having been changed by her adoptive parents after her adoption.

As I’m on Facebook I did a search to see whether she was on there and to my elation, a result came back. So I emailed her and so the connection began.