Friday , June 21 2024

Abandoned twin sisters hope to find mother


At age 52, Lan and her twin sister Le hope to find their birth mother, just as they found each other twenty years ago after being separated at birth.

Last month, Tran Thi Lan and her twin Nguyen Thi Hong Le asked one of their daughters to post a letter on to social media to help find their mother, who abandoned them 53 years ago.

“Why didn’t we try to find you earlier? It’s because it’s taken us until now, 50 years later, to finally forgive you for abandoning us when we were born,” they wrote in the letter. “If God doesn’t allow us to meet you in this life, then we will still wish that you and father, if you have ever missed us, live peacefully.”

Lan and her twin sister Le pose for a photo after they reunite in 2007. Photo by Que Thanh

Lan and her twin sister Le pose for a photo after they reunite in 2007. Photo by Que Thanh

Although she is happy with her husband and kids, in her soul Lan has never been at peace about her origins. She had been given away and adopted by several different families until finally she was taken in by the family Ba Cam in Cai Be, Tien Giang Province, who loved her as their own. However, they never knew where Lan was born, or the names of her parents.

“They have never treated me any differently and they love me like I was their own child, but I was always sad that I didn’t know where I came from,” Lan says.

At one point in her life, she was convinced that she would never know where her distinctive curly hair and voice came from.

But only 300km away, in Song Ray, Dong Nai Province, Nguyen Thi Hong Le knew the answer. At age 16, she was told by her adoptive mother that she was born at Nha Trang Hospital and had a twin sister.

In 1970 or 1971, her adoptive mother aborted a failed pregnancy and coincidentally learned that a 16-year-old girl wanted to give away her twins, so she decided to adopt one.

She chose the older girl because the baby seemed more resilient, but when she came back to the hospital after going back home to pack her things, someone else had already taken the older child.

So, she took in the remaining child and asked the mother to provide a birth certificate. When life became hectic, the birth certificate was lost, but Le still remembered everything she was told.

According to her adoptive mother, Le’s birth mother’s name is Phan (or Pham) Thi Dao, and was born in 1954 (or 1955) in the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long.

When asked why she was giving away her children, Dao said that they were the product of a relationship with a Korean soldier, but he had gone back to his country and all contact had been lost. Dao alone could not raise the twins.

“My mom told me that if there is someone in the world that looks exactly like me, then that is my twin sister,” Le remembers. She has always wanted to search for her, but life and all of its worries prevented her from doing so.

However a few stunning coincidences in her life left a trail of hints that eventually led her to her long-lost sister.

When an arts troupe from Cai Be once visited Song Ray decades ago, Le attended the performance. A person in the troupe suddenly tapped on her shoulder: “Lan, why are you here?” they asked. Le said: “My name is Le, not Lan.”

Suspecting this artist had mistaken Le for her twin sister, Le asked her mom if Lan had been adopted or not, to which she replied: “she was adopted by a man name Ba Cam.” However, because it was such a common name and she was so busy with her newborn, she let the event slip by.

In 2000, in Cai Be, a man selling coffee knocked on Lan’s door. When he saw her, he was surprised, “Why is Le here?” She thought he was a scammer, so she curtly said: “I’m Lan, not Le.”

The man was adamant that there was someone exactly like Lan living near his house, and he promised to bring back a picture of her to Lan.

The man was a neighbor of Le’s family. He went back to the southern province of Dong Nai and told them the story.

At the age when her end was near, the desire to find her daughter’s relative had risen in Le’s adoptive mother, so she quietly went to visit Lan’s family.

When she arrived, only Lan’s husband was home, but from the wedding picture on the wall, she instantly knew she had found her daughter’s older sister. She told the husband the story and promised that they would be reunited. As soon as tomorrow came, she and Le’s family returned to meet them.

“My sister watched from the alley while I approached her. It was like looking into the mirror. We cried so much. From the sides of the road, so many people came to see. Everyone knew we were sisters,” Le says.

“Just imagine believing that you’re an orphan for 30 years, with no relatives, and suddenly you have a sister who has the same voice, walk, and hair as you,” Lan recalls the emotions that day. “There were no words to describe this happiness.”

Lan (in pink) and Le (L) in the wedding ceremony of Lans son in 2022. Photo by Que Thanh

Lan (in pink) and Le (L) in the wedding ceremony of Lan’s son in 2022. Photo by Que Thanh

The two sisters live in two different places but still stay connected and talk every day. If something happens in one person’s family, the other is always there. Even so, the pain from being abandoned in the past has prevented them from gaining the courage and desire to find their mother, until now.

Que Thanh, 31-year-old (Lan’s daughter) said that she asked her mother many times if she wanted to find her grandmother or not, but her mother always dismissed the thought. Lan said that she lived with loving adoptive parents, so there was no need to find someone who abandoned her.

Not long after the sisters found each other, Le’s adoptive mother passed away. In 2013, both Lan’s parents also passed away. In that moment, the void inside the sisters’ hearts grew larger. As they grow older, they want to let go of all the hatred and find their birth parents.

In June of last year, when her daughter called from Da Nang, Lan blurted out: “If you have time then go to Nha Trang to find my mother for me!” After she said that, both of them started to cry.

“I knew that was something she has been suppressing for decades, only now does she have the courage to say it,” the daughter says. Que Thanh posted a picture of her mom and aunt on to social media and connected with channels that can help find lost relatives in the hopes of finding her grandmother.

“Mom, both of us have our own happy families. Both of us are 52, and we even have grandkids already. Mom, I’m sorry that it took us so long to finally be able to say these words,” they wrote in the letter.

Le has now moved to Binh Duong Province for work, but she plans to move to Cai Be in a few years to live next to her sister. “We only have each other, there’s no one else, so we have to be by each other’s side,” Le says.

Every night, from afar, she calls her sister to look at lost relatives posts on social media. “What if one day, we’re able to find our mom on here?” they tell each other in hope.

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