Sharing the history of Generation X, one photo, one day at a time. Click here to subscribe to the Daily Photo. If you would like to submit a special photo for possible publication, please email me, jenx1967 [at] gmail [dot] com.
Many years ago — probably 30 or more — a documentary aired on one of the major news networks about abandoned Amerasians in Vietnam. These were children born to U.S. servicemen and Vietnamese women during the Vietnam War. U.S. involvement in that war roughly spanned 1959 to 1975. Those years overlap the majority of birth years for Generation X, which are 1961 to 1981.
Many of the Amerasian children in the documentary were around my age. I couldn’t believe the government left them there to become outcasts, orphans, beggars, even prostitutes.
Unfortunately, this did not just happen in Vietnam, but in other Asian countries where U.S. servicemen were stationed including Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Cambodia, Laos, Taiwan, and most notably, the Philippines.
In 1982, the U.S. passed the Amerasian Immigration Act, giving preferential immigration status to Amerasian children born during the Vietnam War. (The act did not apply to Amerasians born in the Philippines.) Since that time, many Amerasians have immigrated to America and been reunited with their American families. Others continue to search for their American fathers including Anni. Here is a beautiful picture of her with her beautiful mother, Mu Yachiung — a.k.a. Lucy.
Anni was born in Tainan, Taiwan, on June 21, 1963. She never knew her biological father, but was told he was in the U.S. Army. The man lived with Lucy until she was six months old and then shipped out. Her mother never wanted to talk about him. On Anni’s Taiwanese Household Registration (birth certificate) the father is listed as unknown.
When Anni was nine-years-old, her mother married an American and moved to the United States. When she was 16 her mother passed away. She has no information about her biological father. Through a Facebook group for Amerasian children, she hopes to locate him or information about him.
Thanks to the ready availability of DNA-testing kits, many Amerasians have renewed hope in finding their fathers and/or half-siblings, etc. Unfortunately, many of the U.S. servicemen who fathered and grandfathered these children have already died. In May 2016, one source claimed 390 Vietnam Veterans die every day.
I was born in 1967 and had a cousin who served in Vietnam. Although I never really knew him (not really), his brief presence in my life as reported to me by my father had an impact on me. It’s a story that has stayed with me all my life. I wrote about it in 2012.
This story was with me when I saw that documentary on Amerasians all those years ago. My heart broke for those children, most of whom were born of Americans during the birth years of my generation. I hope dear Anni finds information about her father. It’s so important to know how we got here. Even the most anecdotal evidence of our arrival and journey forward into this life and world can hold great meaning. It is our breath and our days. Our history. It is us in the faded photographs hoping to be found, hoping to be untethered from the great mystery of how and why our lives began.