Through an arrangement with a friend, Dai was adopted by a French family. Here they are, in HCMC, visiting Chi's house. Right is Chi's mother, left her Aunt who cared for Dai through the first year.
Meanwhile, Chi and her mother lived together. Chi revealed to me only yesterday that her mother had seriously considered a similar fate for her, but in the end decided against it. By Grade 6, Chi was shopping at the market and preparing basic meals for herself and her mother. By the middle of Grade 8, she was working at the Saigon Horse Racing track selling tickets at weekends.
Over in France Jean-Baptiste (Dai) was continuing his growth and education.
A week today, Chi and I will fly to Paris. After three nights wandering the streets and savouring the atmosphere we will catch a train three hours south east to the town of Besancon. Here Chi will be reunited with her brother for the first time since he left Vietnam as a one year old baby. Discussion of this event is already banned in our house for fear of the waterworks starting. It will be an emotional few days for us when we drive to stay in Gex, the hometown of JB and family, up in the mountains of the Jura region just a few kilometers from Geneva.
For Chi especially, I hope this is the start of a great relationship with her brother and his wonderful family -- the heartbreak she feels from what happened will I hope in some way be forgotten as they meet for the first time as adults. . The events 15 years ago shaped Chi's entire life and personality -- and all she wants most of all is a happy family. It's something she has missed out on for so long.