My name is Miguel Jones, and I am an adoptee from the province of Hà Nam in northern Vietnam. My birth name is Manh Tung Tran, which I was told translates to strong tree. My story began when my adoptive parents decided they wanted to add a little boy to their family and began to inquire about international adoption possibilities in Vietnam. As faith would have it, our journey would eventually intersect and my life would be forever changed.
Years of paperwork and persistence later, my parents finally got the ok and travelled across the world to pick up the newest member of the Jones family. After 36 hours of travelling, they arrived at the orphanage in northern Vietnam to pick me up. When asking my parents decades later about the experience, they speak about how I was a happy 6-month-old baby, how I ate a weeks’ worth of baby food in a few days, and how I was the biggest baby at the orphanage. My parents’ memories are ones that I cherish and hold on to because they help me piece together parts of the story of my life in its first year.
One question I often receive is, “when did you know you were adopted?” and I respond by explaining that I have known I was adopted from as early as I can remember. My mother always told me I was adopted because my birth parents could not properly care for me. Even now, as an adult, I find it difficult to put into words the emotions that come with being an adoptee. You are pulled in all directions; as an adoptee, I do feel sad to think my biological parents put me up for adoption, but at the same time, I am grateful for my amazing and loving family.
As soon as I landed at that airport in rural Québec, I was welcomed with an abundance of pure love. I know this is because my family recorded every minute of it. For me, this home video symbolizes my official birth to the Jones family. In the movie, you can see a packed room of my extended family and friends, all tensely waiting in anticipation for the newest member of the family to arrive. We then see the aircraft land, and people begin to disembark. Finally, the moment everyone had been waiting for, my parents walk off the plane holding me, and the crowd begins to cheer. When I entered through the terminal doors, a wave of joy and happiness erupts in the crowd and a plethora of celebratory hugs and kisses ensue.
I was accepted and loved by my family from day one, and I am forever grateful for this. Like anything else, there are always challenges. As an adoptee, you always live with unanswered questions that you simply can’t ignore. Where are my birth parents now? Do I have any biological siblings? What is my family medical history? Do I look like my biological family? How would I feel when or if I meet my birth parents? As you can imagine, having these questions left unanswered for your entire life can be a heavy burden.
Though I was/am loved and supported by my family every day, there were many times during my childhood when the racial-based teasing became too much to handle, and I would break down. It was during these challenging moments that I felt most alone because even though I had a strong support system, they could not fully understand what I was going through. Today, I continue to be perplexed by how I can be surrounded by so much love but continue to feel alone, but this is something I am continuously working through.
Being adopted is something that I am eternally grateful for. I am blessed with my vibrant family of 8, which consists of my brother, four sisters, and my parents. Additionally, I can’t forget to mention my loving extended family of grandparents, godparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Adoption has given me everything (family, opportunity, health, education, friendships, etc.), and if I had my time back, I would not change one thing.
Thank you for reading my story and stay tuned for more adoption-related posts,
Your Friend Miguel.