French girl’s desire to find a Vietnamese mother

FranceWhen she discovered that she had a serious illness, the desire to find her birth mother arose in Solène Martel because she knew “if not now or never”.

Solène Martel’s birth name is Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, born on August 27, 1998 at the health station of Phuc Xuan commune, Thai Nguyen city, Thai Nguyen province. She was adopted by a French family at the age of four months.

Over the years, she has repeatedly thought about finding her biological mother, but recently, that journey really began since she was diagnosed with Cushing’s syndrome due to a problem with her adrenal gland.

Last summer, Solène lived in the city of Amiens (about 140 km from Paris) had to undergo surgery, then maintained on hormone therapy for 6-18 months. Since suffering from a genetic disease that only 1 or 2 people meet in a million, Solène’s weight has increased uncontrollably. The feeling of self-pity followed her throughout the treatment journey, even though she was always surrounded by the encouragement and care of her adoptive parents as well as her sister.

“When I was on the hospital bed, I just wanted to know who my biological mother was. Is she still alive and suffering from the same disease as me?”, she wondered.

Solène Martel, whose Vietnamese name is Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, hopes to meet her mother one day. She currently lives in the city of Amiens, France. Photo: Characters provided

From the moment she became aware, Solène knew that she was not the biological child of her parents, but it was not until she entered elementary school that she knew her true identity. “My adoptive mother kept all of my papers in a box and kept them very carefully. When I could read, she showed them and said that every child born has the right to know about his or her roots.” From the moment she opened the box, she realized that she was more than just Solène Martel.

Solène’s family also has an older sister, who is also a Vietnamese adopted child. Eighteen years of living next to her parents before moving to live separately, the Vietnamese-born girl has always clearly felt their love for her. She also loves them, but all that love is still not enough to fill the void in her soul.

With the support of her adoptive mother, recently Solène began to share all the information and pictures she has on Facebook in the hope that her relatives will see and recognize. She also tattooed two words “Thanh Xuan” on each hand to remind herself to find her roots.

According to documents obtained by Solène, she was born at 23:30 on August 27, 1998, 5 hours later her mother left. According to the medical facility’s documents, her birth mother declared her name Tran Thi Hao, living in Thinh Dan commune (now Quyet Thang commune, Thai Nguyen city, Thai Nguyen province). After the pregnant woman left the medical station, the doctors and nurses asked the police to intervene, but they returned to the commune to find no one with the same name. The child was then raised by a nanny, before going to France for adoption.

Solène took a picture with her adoptee for 4 months in Vietnam.  Photo: Character provided.

Solène took a picture with her adoptee for 4 months in Vietnam. Photo: Characters provided

Ms. Veronique Deremaux, Solène’s adoptive mother, brought her back to Vietnam in 2004 with the desire to find her biological mother, but to no avail. In 2019, for the second time, this girl returned to her homeland on a six-month trip across Asia with friends. This trip was enough for her to understand her roots, her black hair and yellow skin.

“As soon as I set foot in Vietnam, my emotions suddenly surged,” said Solène. “That’s when I started thinking about my biological mother and really wanted to find my own blood.”

A month ago, Solène posted search information on a Vietnamese group in France. Here she met many people in the same situation, they told her to post on groups with many followers in Vietnam. Here, Solène met Nathalie Bui – a Vietnamese living in France – volunteered to assist with the translation because she did not know Vietnamese. Thanks to the help of many internet users, the two found the old nanny as well as the nurses at the Phuc Xuan commune health station, but no one knew the whereabouts of the mother named Hao.

Her mother has not been found, but what the French girl received is the help of Vietnamese people who know the story. She did not expect to receive so many shares and sympathy.

“Every day, someone texted me to ask and wish me to find my mother quickly. Even though I still have to use a translation tool, from the bottom of my heart I still understand the warmth of compatriotism,” the 24-year-old girl said.

Solène Martel's birth certificate is carefully kept by her adoptive mother.  Currently, she uses these documents to find her biological mother in Vietnam.  Photo: Character provided.

Solène Martel’s birth certificate is carefully kept by her adoptive mother. Currently, she uses these documents to find her biological mother in Vietnam. Photo: Character provided.

Many years ago, Solène graduated from university with a degree in human resource management, then worked as an office worker. Currently, due to treatment, she is temporarily absent from work, staying at home to recuperate. Every day, she still monitors the announcements to find her mother previously posted, hoping to find some clues.

Solène’s plan is that after another time when the condition is stable, she will return to Vietnam, go to the right place on the birth certificate to find her biological mother. In order to stay for a long time, she applied for Vietnamese citizenship.

Since posting information about finding her mother, Solène often dreams about her. In her dream, she saw her mother singing lullabies and patting her, but she never saw her face clearly.

“I hope I’m like my mother, if she saw me on search engines, she would still recognize me.” Solène shared that she is self-studying Vietnamese, so that the day she meets her mother, her daughter can clearly call two words “Mom”.

Hai Hien


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