When I first met briefly Mai in the February of 2012, she came to visit Hung Phan and dropped off some documents. Underneath the face mask, hoodie and a motorcycle helmet I could tell that the face looking at me was an Amerasian face: her lighter skin, high-bridged nose and deep-set eyes speaks of a somewhat more Caucasian look than Asian. I never got the chance to talk to her until November when I visited Ho Chi Minh City again.
Mai is a divorced mother of three who lives with her 64 year-old mother, a blind brother and all her children except for the eldest son who lives next door with his wife and young daughter. She was animated, always ready with a smile and very open about her single status. This is the letter she intend to send to the US Consulate here in Ho Chi Minh City.
An Open Letter to the Consular General of the United States
To Whom It May Concern,
My name is Trần Thị Tuyết Mai, and my mother Bùi Thị Bé has told me that I am an Amerasian child of an US serviceman who was stationed at Tân Sơn Nhất Air Base in 1967. My mother used to work as a room cleaner at the Air Base and that’s where she met my father. I was told that my parents had a good relationship then and they both spent much time together when he was in Vietnam. On his departure from Vietnam in 1968 he left behind photos taken of him and my mother, his army uniform, his military dog tags and his address in the United States. Unfortunately when the South regime fell to the Communist in 1975 there were many rumors that anyone with connections to the Americans would be killed or sent to prison. Hence, out of fear of retributions, my mother burned everything she had of him.
My mother said she really regret her actions as she no longer can recall much information about my father except that his rank is that of a sergeant and his name sounds something like ‘Tommy’. The one thing she does remember clearly is the shoulder patch of a white-headed eagle. I’ve been told that the only Army unit with a white eagle is that of the 101st Airborne Division.
My father left Vietnam between July or August of 1968 when my mother was four months pregnant with me. My mother said my father once wrote to her after he was back in the US and asked if his child was boy or girl.
I am a divorced single mother and I have 3 children from both my ex-husbands. I currently live in a small rented room with my mother, two children and a blind brother while my oldest child, who is now married, lives next door to us.
I’m would like to request that you take a look at our case and give it due consideration. I’ve had a prior application in 1991 under the assumed name of Vu Kim Ngoc Ha with a Vietnamese family who had coerced and paid my mother to purchase my Amerasian identity. I realized that my lack of evidence and a prior fraudulent application has caused terrible damage to my eligibility to apply for a US immigrant visa under the Amerasian Homecoming Act.
I hope that the Consular Service would be able to help me resolve this and provide my family and me with an opportunity to go to the United States that is the home of my father.
I really appreciate the current effort invested by the US government to repatriate the Amerasians who are here in Vietnam. Thank you for your kind attention and I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Trần Thị Tuyết Mai