Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Babies return from World of the Dead


For the past 16 years, hundreds of sensational stories, almost like fairy tales, have happened at an orphanage in the central province of Ha Tinh.

At around 5am on November 11, 1993, a man discovered an infant baby covered in rags on the table of a meat stall in front of Ha Tinh General Hospital. The black and blue baby’s stomach was injured because of ant bites and she was nearly dead.

The man immediately brought the baby to the nearby hospital. After two weeks, the baby recovered. The case was reported on the local media but nobody came to receive the child. She was taken to the orphanage, which is located in Thach Hoa commune.

The orphanage’s director, Duong Quy Dao, named the girl Duong Thi Thach Hoa. Duong is his family name and Thach Hoa is the name of the commune where the orphanage is located.

In the summer of 1994, during a business trip to France, Nguyen Ky, former Chairman of the Ha Tinh province People’s Committee, met doctor Fromont Michel and his wife, who asked Ky to seek a Vietnamese child for them to adopt. Ky then went to the orphanage and met Thach Hoa. In September 1994, the French doctor came to Vietnam to adopt Thach Hoa and took her to France. Thach Hoa is now a high-school student.

On October 8, 1997, a couple in Cam Xuyen district, Ha Tinh province found an infant baby in their pigsty. The baby was wrapped in a blanket and had been put on the pigsty roof, but pigs pulled the blanket down so she fell onto pig feces. A pig might have killed the child if the couple hadn’t discovered her. The couple took the child to the local health station for first aid.

As they couldn’t afford to raise the child, the couple brought her to the orphanage, where Director Duong Quy Dao named her Duong Thi Cam Xuyen. The girl was adopted by an American woman, Keren Jolwilyans on April 17, 1998. Through photos sent to the orphanage annually, Cam Xuyen is now a pretty girl.

The third case is quite strange. In June 1998, a buffalo boy saw a shepherd dog holding the handle of a plastic bag in its mouth and running from the La River bank. The boy chased after the dog so the dog released the plastic bag. In the plastic bag was a baby of 2kg.

After being rescued at a local hospital, the girl was brought to the Ha Tinh Orphanage and named Duong Thi Song La by Director Duong Quy Dao. The girl was adopted by a US couple in 1999 and she was named Maura.

“Maura is the centre of attention in our family. She is very lovely and the light of our life. Her smile makes life more bright,” writes the US couple in a letter to the Ha Tinh orphanage.

Another case is Nguyen Thi Cam Chung. The girl is the result of a son-in-law (23 years old) and his mother-in-law (42 years old) in Cam Xuyen district, who were anxious of the future consequences so sent the child to the Ha Tinh Orphanage.

The baby was adopted by a Norwegian couple who live in the US in 2001. The baby was named Amy. “She can speak both English and Norwegian. She has a strong personality and good behaviour. Amy is our family’s happiness. No word can express our gratitude to you!” the couple writes in a letter to Ha Tinh Orphanage.

These are five of 72 children nurtured at Ha Tinh Orphanage and adopted by foreigners, who all promised to bring their adopted child back to Vietnam when the children grow up.

In the past 16 years, Duong Quy Dao’s orphanage has received 251 children. Dao hopes that these children will return to Vietnam in the future as overseas Vietnamese who can contribute to their home country’s development.
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