In tear-jerking scenes, a Vietnamese mother is reunited with the Australian son she left behind in an orphanage in 1975 at the age of four.
The tender mother-and-son moment showed her bursting into tears as she hugged Mr. Fry, who was told she was dead when he started looking for her in his early twenties.
The remarkable emotion-laden scene was ‘closure’ for Mr Fry, now 51, who had been searching for her for 30 years.
In the chaotic final weeks of the Vietnam War, more than 3,000 children were flown out of the country and “into the arms of waiting couples in the US, Canada, Britain, Europe and Australia.”
The relocation of Vietnamese children was later called ‘Operation Babylift’.
Jamie Fry, who grew up in Adelaide after being adopted by an Australian family, was finally allowed to hug his Vietnamese birth mother at her home in Georgia, United States, 47 years later.
After 47 years, Mr. Fry is allowed to hug his biological mother, who is very happy. Her happiness quickly turns to sadness and overwhelms when the moment hits you.
Mr. Fry eventually tracked down his mother using DNA tests from other adopted children who were in the same Vietnamese orphanage as him.
Do you remember this face? he asked his biological mother when he showed his childhood photos
He comforted his emotional long-lost mother in the most Aussie way imaginable in the segment, which was part of a powerful SBS special about adopted children reconnecting with their birth family.
Mr. Fry’s mother grabbed her son and said, “Jamie. I am very happy.’
Then, visibly overwhelmed, she collapsed.
‘You’re right?’ replied her son.
When they went into her house for a drink and a meal, he asked his still dazed mother, “How are you feeling?”
“I feel good, but I think I don’t know,” she said. “I see you and I cry.”
“We’re here now,” he told his emotional mother.
Jamie Fry (back left) with his American siblings. They recently reunited in Georgia
“I want to say I miss him, I love him,” Mr. Fry told viewers.
Mr Fry finally met his brother and sister for the first time and shared a meal and drink with them.
He took Carlton footy club memorabilia as gifts for his family.
Adopting children from abroad
Intercountry adoption has declined in popularity since the 1970s, as concerns have arisen in some cases about corruption and the ethics of adoption processes.
In 2020, only 37 children were adopted this way by Australian parents.
Australia has active intercountry adoption programs with 13 countries: Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, Hong Kong, India, Latvia, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan and Thailand.
There is currently no agreement with countries that have adopted Australians, including Vietnam and the Philippines.
He then sat with his mother and showed her pictures of his upbringing in faraway Australia.
“Do you remember this face?” he asked, pointing to his earliest photo.
Mr. Fry was the son of an African American soldier who served in Vietnam.
When the US military left Vietnam, Mr. Fry’s mother was unemployed and had three children to raise. She made the heartbreaking decision to leave him in an orphanage.
He grew up in a middle-class family and attended a private school in Adelaide.
Growing up, he had identity issues and found it hard to get a handle on his life.
‘I’m glad he’s married. He has a family and a job in Australia,” his mother said.
“It’s better than if he had stayed in Vietnam, he would have suffered.”
Mr. Fry admitted that he felt a lot of guilt with his mother.
“The first time I hugged my mother, I had mixed feelings about her,” he said.
“I think there’s still a sense of guilt with Mom, she hopes I don’t blame her, which of course I don’t.
“It would have been difficult as a single woman with a mixed-race child during the war.”
His mother explained. “It was hard, I worked for the Americans, but now that they left I had two children to take care of and no job.”
Mr. Fry was told about his roots in his early twenties and was given adoption papers that led him back to the orphanage.
He traveled there shortly afterwards in search of answers, but admitted that he felt he was not accepted as partially Vietnamese.
He was also told that his mother has died, but did not believe it.
Mr Fry eventually tracked down his mother using DNA tests from other adopted children who were in the same Vietnamese orphanage as he was
Mr Fry (center) drinking in the United States with his two of his American siblings
“They told me that my biological mother had passed away and that didn’t feel quite right.
The breakthrough came when he got a DNA match with a half-brother in the United States just before Covid closed the border.
Finally meeting his siblings was “brilliant,” he said.
†[It was] something I’ve dreamed of all my life. I’ve gotten to know them over the years, but the real face to face and being able to give them a hug and all those things were absolutely brilliant.”
Adoption expert Jane Adams of the Benevolent Society said the reality of being adopted can become a problem for that person at any point in their lives.
“Often in those big moments of identity, so first in adolescence, meeting their life partner, when their parent dies — so when big things happen, it comes back to them,” she said.
“It’s never really life-threatening, but it’s always there — it’s with them at every event, it’s part of who they are.”
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