Here and there

Imagine being of this world and of another.

That’s the insecurity facing the children of dual parentage known as Amerasians. They are usually progeny of Asian mothers and American servicemen who father these children while stationed abroad. There are an estimated 25,000 of these Vietnamese- American children now here in the United States. The issue of the illegitimacy of the immigrants made it at times difficult to acquire citizenship. There are many more who were left behind to face discrimination, a tragic legacy of war.

The further complication is that when many of the fathers left Vietnam, they were more than happy to leave their descendants and their mothers to fend for themselves. Such was the case with O Thi Huýnh (see “The mystery of O,” ).

But ironically, she found that once she got to the United States, there were Americans who did want her Amerasian kids. The question now is did she want to give them up? She obviously struggled with what to do and eventually she was found dead in the home of the adoptive parents.

Beyond the questions surrounding her death, there is an important one being asked by her children. Who am I? It’s a familiar one to Amerasian children who often have lingering questions about lineage and their connection to the culture they came from.