[2 percent]

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The men who lived and fathered children with Vietnamese women during the war have gone on with their lives, often remarrying and raising families. The appearance of a child and spouse from twenty years past is not always welcome. Only about 2 percent of the father searches end positively.”

–from Children of the Enemy (DeBonis 1995, p.15)

Anything I say sounds like an excuse: He was young and didn’t know where to look, he didn’t even know whether you were born or not.

Here is what likely happened: he never tried to find you.

His parents were traditional, and by that I mean, they approved of his first wife, who was a white, Catholic woman. Years later when he married my mother, they barely acknowledged this union. She wasn’t Catholic. She was going through a divorce. But she was white, and my father, for the most part, was a racist. He didn’t hesitate to use slurs, to forbid me from dating outside our race. How to rectify such disparate ideologies. He wanted that first child, but I think he imagined a boy who looked like him and talked like him and drank like him. In his mind, you were always male.

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