Both Ông and Bà Đức missed me very much. I was constantly crying. I ate very little and did not cooperate with the new nanny. Ông and Bà Đức visited my parents and requested for me to live on the weekdays with them and my parents can pick me up on the weekends. They also added that my parents do not have to pay for their care. My parents said “No”. My father was adamant with his answer. Ông and Bà Đức visited several more times crying and pleading with my mom to reconsider.
My mom empathized with the couple. She saw how caring Ông and Bà Đức were to me through their actions. She knew that they will love me as much as their own child and will take great care of me. She also knew that I would get more attention when I live with Ông and Bà Đức. By that time, my mom was pregnant with a 5th child. After relentless begging and pleading from Ông and Bà Đức, my mom gave in without my dad’s consent. They all agreed that once I am older my parents will take me home and that will be that. Although my mom will miss me horribly, Ông and Bà Đức will take great care of me as their own child and I will be treated like a princess. That thought eased my mom’s mind from worries and guilt.
Even though it was common in Vietnam for a child to live with other relatives or friends other than his/her own biological parents, it was still not an easy decision for my parents. The most common circumstance was poverty. The family with many children was poor and usually, children were sent to other families while the parents worked to improve their financial status. It was not uncommon for the children to become attached to their foster parents and had a hard time returning to their biological parents.
I don’t know what I would do if I was placed in the same situation as my mom. It took a lot of courage for my mom to do what she thought was best for me. If I have to make a decision, I will do what I believe will be best for my child.
I called Ông and Bà Đức “Bố” and “Mẹ” Đức. Mẹ Đức was 42 years old. They became my godparents. Bố means Dad and Mẹ mean Mom in Vietnamese. I lived with them on the weekdays and visited my family on the weekends. My parents continued to pay Bố and Mẹ Đức for their assistance to watch over me.