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Have You Ever Wondered About the fate of ...

all those children Father Crawford helped through Go Vap orphanage?

Many of us remember Father Crawford as the kind Priest who helped us get our ACS *Teenagers* baseball team going. But, one can only guess at how many 1000s of other children he helped through Go Vap orphanage.

The more I learn about him, the more remarkable I find him to have been.

Hardly a week goes by that I don’t receive a very *touching* email from a Saigon Kid telling of their past and present experiences they’ve encountered along their journey of life.

Here is one such story of how Father Crawford helped direct the fate of one newborn baby at Go Vap orphanage.


I am excited to have connected with Saigon Kids, to hear your stories and see if you can help me know my story.

I was born March 4, 1964 in Saigon and was left shortly thereafter at Go Vap Orphanage. Because of the work of Fr. Crawford, a Catholic priest in Saigon, I was connected with my adopted parents.

They were residing in Phomh Penh, Cambodia, my father working at the U.S. Embassy and my mother teaching ESL; and, both actively involved in the local community theater. Father Crawford made monthly visits to Phomh Penh to give an English Mass. My parents had reached out to him regarding their interest in adopting a baby; and, in early 1964 he notified them that a newborn infant had been left at the orphanage.

I have been told that my birth mother, a French-Vietnamese woman apparently died as a result of childbirth and my birth father, “unknown” on the birth certificate, was an American civilian. It may be that they had a relationship of some sort, but we know a liaison took place during a critical time in history of the American-Vietnam War. Protests against the government of Diem were dominating the major cities of South Vietnam, including Saigon and Hue where Buddhist monks were self-immolating in extreme acts of protest.

I spent a very large portion of my childhood in Asia, Cambodia, Thailand, Taiwan and Laos. So although I do not resemble a person of Vietnamese origin, and my parents are Caucasian Americans, I feel a strong connection to the region of my birth. Content and grateful for my circumstances, I am nevertheless becoming more curious about the story of my birth and the circumstances and piece of history that it portrays.

I would love to hear from people who have any personal memories or information about their lives or the lives of people living in Saigon during 1963-1964 and/or would recognize the name Phan Thi Khan (my birth mother) or would have any insight into how I could begin to trace my birth father. I would be most interested in communicating with you.

At the very least I am interested in bringing an image of Saigon at that time alive in order to begin to unravel the mystery of who I am.

Angelique Kenney
(Born: Phan Thi Hoang, March 4, 1964)

When I hear stories such as Angelique’, I can only marvel at the deep compassion and dedication Father Crawford displayed through his tireless work assisting others in Viet-nam and Southeast Asia.

For those of you who are interested Go Vap orphanage is back in full operation today caring for about 200 disabled children ranging from newborns to 18 years of age. Shortly, after the fall of South Viet-nam to North Viet-nam the new government ordered all orphanages to turn over there *Register* – then burned them. Many of the orphanages hand copied the Register (or as much of it as they could) before turning over the originals to the new government. All orphanages where then closed by the new government. The able-bodied orphans where sent to *re-education camps*. The others simply – disappeared. Go Vap was one of the largest orphanages in South Viet-nam having cared for about 30,000 children since its founding in 1874 until 1975. Go Vap was eventually reopened sometime during the 1980s.

If you know of organizations who assist Viet-nam war orphans and their birth parents to reconnect, please leave contact information in the *Comments* section below.

Angelique, I’m sure I speak for all Saigon Kids by saying once again – Welcome! And, thank you for sharing your story with us. Hopefully, you’ll be able to *unravel the mystery* through your Saigon Kids family – 🙂

Bob

4 comments to Have You Ever Wondered About the fate of …

  • Kathie Koehl Beaty

    My family lived in Saigon from 1960 to 1963. Fr. Crawford was a family friend. We are Catholic. He taught my catichism class. I volunteered to work at his orphange. I was a young teen so what I really did was play with the kids. Many years later I became a pediatric physical therapist. Wonder where that came from! My sister, Linda went back to saigon in the late 80’s or early 90’s and saw Fr. Crawford. Reading about him brings back so many memories. I don’t think I can help much with his kids finding out about their roots but I would be glad to help if possible.
    Thanks,
    Kathie

  • Angelique Kenney

    Dear Kathie,

    I just saw that you responded to my messge from years ago. I have since done a DNA test and despite being born in Vietnam and having had a Vietnamese name at birth (Phan Thi Huong) I have no Vietnamese blood and I’m trying desperately to try and find something out, especially as everyone is getting older. Do you remember any infants that didn’t look Vietnamese? Did you remember anything about foreigners giving up their baby for adoption. I know it was so long ago! But I’m grasping at any straws! My personal email: angeliquekenney2 [@] gmail.com

    • H. Clark

      Dear Angelique,

      I am wondering if you have visited this website:

      http://www.adoptedvietnamese.org/searching/orphanage-lists/

      Also, you might find more information by visiting the story of My Huong Le on the AVI Reunited page http://www.adoptedvietnamese.org/searching/reunited

      My Huong Le is an Australian VN adoptee living in Vung Tau and overseeing several schools and orphanages, was reunited with her Vietnamese mother is open to hearing from you if you are from this region.

      Last year, I had an opportunity to contact My Huong and got an immediately response from her, on the very next day, with positive result on my inquiry. Although I realize you might not be from the same region that she is now working, I believe she would be an excellent point for contacts.

      Best wishes,

      Huong

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