My name is Nguyen Thi Lan and I live in Quang Nam. I grew up with my mother and an older brother and a sister. My mother had a very hard life. People kept evicting her from where we lived so we had to go live in the mountains. We had to look for a place to live. It was very hard.
In 1990, I applied to come to the US under the Amerasian Homecoming Act. My application was denied. They wanted a picture of my father. My father did give my mother a picture but because she was fleeing, she lost the picture. So I didn’t have a picture. For that reason, the US Officer did not believe I was Amerasian.
After that, I started to have marital problems. My husband left me for another woman. I was so distraught about that that I didn’t look further into the application. I thought that since I knew I was Amerasian, the US should allow me to come, but since it didn’t happen so I lost all hope and I just let it go.
I have a friend who lives in America. He introduced me to Jimmy Miller. I asked Jimmy to help me find my roots and it inspired me to investigated it further. Before I submitted my [second] application, I didn’t even have enough money to do it. My family has so much hardship. We wanted to go do the paperwork but we couldn't go because of our challenges - we didn’t have the money to travel to Saigon to take the DNA test. It's because of Jimmy and Amerasians Without Borders that we were even able to have the opportunity to submit an application or take a DNA test.
I wanted to find my roots because my life has been so hard. I want to find a better life for myself. I hope to come to the United States to have a better life for my family. I have to help care for my mother and five children. I have five kids and my elderly mother who I care for. My children work to support our family. I work during the day and then I run home to take care of my mother in the evening. It's hard to make a living because of all of the discrimination, but I keep trying. As long as my mother is cared for and I’m close to her, that’s enough for me.
The DNA test came back with a positive match with an American father. It proved that I was Amerasian. Jimmy Miller advised me to apply to come to the US. But my mother is very elderly and very ill so it isn’t possible for me to go now. Jimmy told me that my father passed away on July 17th. I was so sad, I wanted to see him face to face, but I wasn’t able to because he passed away.
The lives of Amerasians are very hard in Vietnam. There is a lot of discrimination against us. People curse because of your American heritage. (cries) People view us as the children of the American empire. I want to go the US to find my heritage. I want to have a happy life and to live among people who will respect me and who won’t discriminate against me like they do in Vietnam.
Jimmy is such a caring person. He cares so much about Amerasians and me. He works so hard to find as many ways to help us immigrate. I respect him so much. I am so grateful to him because he works so hard to intervene on behalf of Amerasians. He calls me and encourages me all the time.
I want the US to help me with my application so that I can come with my children. I want to be able to go to the US and to bring my children along with me. (cries) My children’s lives in Vietnam are difficult and I want them to have a better life in the US.
I am sharing my story because I think that the land of the US is the land of the free and that it would give us a new life. If the US gives us the opportunity to go live there, we will have more respect and we will never leave the US but we haven’t had the opportunity yet. We want to have the full life that we cannot have in Vietnam because this land discriminates against us.
I want to thank Jimmy Mille. I’ve lived in the mountains for so long that I haven’t even stepped out of there. Because of his encouragement, I’ve ventured out and I took all of the steps that I needed to take to submit my application. If not for him, I’d still be in the mountains. If not for him, I would not have a better life like I do now.
I want the US and Americans to not look down on us and to understand our hardships. Please understand how we live and how hard our life is and don’t look down on us.
I want to tell Amerasians emphatically - don’t listen to what anyone says about you. The things they say make you want to run here, run there. But no matter where you go, you are a human being. Who you are depends on you. Don’t blame all these other people and places. It’s a waste of time and energy. We need to come together and work on this together. Don’t listen to the bad things that they say about you. You have to believe in yourself and believe in what the US is trying to do to help us. If we believe then it will happen and all of us will succeed.
I want to thank everyone who has helped me here today. I want to thank Kirk for coming here today to document my story. It's taken me 55 years during which I’ve kept all of this to myself. I’ve finally been able to tell my story.
I want to share my blessing to all the Amerasians everywhere to have good results in their application process and that everyone will be accepted by the US.
I want to tell Americans, please love and have compassion for Amerasians. There are so many of us still left behind in Vietnam. There are so many of us here - not just a little. We have many hardships and we suffer a great deal. Please let Amerasians come to America so that they can live a better life. We have to strive to survive here even though people look down on us. We are always working hard to uplift and better our lives despite all of the discrimination. I hope for all of us Amerasians to be able to go to the US, like me, so that they can live out the rest of their lives in comfort and happiness.