Over on the Q&A, Christie asked,
Since you know Tess's Vietnam mama's name and where she is, do you think you guys will ever go back to Vietnam to visit her?
Christie, that is a huge question, and actually the answer has evolved over the years. We've put a lot of thought into this one and had several discussions about it. But let me start with a little background information to make sure that we're on the same page.
The VietNam adoption program is different from China's program in several ways. And one of the big ways it differs is the amount of information adoptees can receive. Unlike Mimi's China adoption, both Tess and Jude received some vital information re their first families.
Tess and Jude were both born in a hospital, and we assume that their first mother's had to present identification to be admitted into the hospital. Both children were "abandoned" in the hospital shortly after birth. We were told that this is not an uncommon way for first mothers to purposefully surrender their baby for adoption. So when it came time for Vietnamese authorities to investigate the children's abandonment, yes, there was already paper trail that included the birth mother's and birth father's name, age and marital status, and the birth mother's address. On the surface it sounds easy peasy enough to contact their first moms. And Vietnamese authorities attempted to do exactly that; to investigated the abandonment and locate the mothers. But the Viet authorities found that the information provided about the birth moms was "inaccurate."
And that's ALL it says on the paperwork we received.
Yep, that's it!
We have no idea if the name is incorrect. Or if the address is incorrect. Or both. We don't know it the birth father information was ever investigated. Or what happened at all. We only know that as indicated on their documents, Vietnamese officials using some unidentified method, determined that all (or some of?) the information was "inaccurate" and they were unable to locate their first mothers.
And the investigation stopped.
And the investigation stopped.
So... let me finally get around to your question, Christie.
Yes, as the children grow we will definitely be traveling back to VeitNam (more than once) to visit the country, culture and help our children discover more about their homeland. But whether or not we pursue finding their birth families, is not a decision that we feel we as parents should make. We feel that this is a decision that only Tess and Jude (and Mimi) can make for themselves. And the timing of such a decision should be theirs alone. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a curious as all get out to find out who these women are, and would love love love to find and contact them to show them how absolutely amazing our children are! I mean have you seen 'em?! Their stinkin' gorgeous and have personalities that you wouldn't believe! Not to mention that I'd give anything to say thank you for allowing me the privilege to raise them as my own. But my curiosity can not trump Tess and Jude's right to their own story and journey on their path of self discovery. We are absolutely here for our children to help and support their dreams any way we can. But any search and contact with their first families needs to be initiated by them and not merely to satiate our own curiosity. And for now, neither Tess or Jude has expressed an interest. Seeing as how they are only 6 years old, it's not surprising. Even though their first moms and families come into conversation regularly, Tess or Jude have never expressed any desire to have more information then we already have. There may come a day that they do ask questions that require more searching to answer. The great news is that (unlike the vast majority of China adoptions including Mimi's) we do have information to start researching. We are amazingly lucky to have names and addresses to start our search, and if they do decide to look for their birth families, hopefully they can learn for themselves what information is "inaccurate" and what is not.
And whether or not Papa and I would even be invited on their journey will be up entirely up to Tess and Jude. As an adult adoptee, this is a decision Papa made for himself too, and he chose to wait until his 30's and not to involve anyone in his search.
So there you have it. I guess the short answer is yes, if they want us to. And no if they don't. It's up to them. And until they express an interest in such a search, we'll just keep going about raising them, luvin' on them, and offering them all the options.