[under oath]

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“But unlike the half-French Vietnamese children, the Amerasian children of U.S. fathers were never granted American citizenship, although over the years other immigrant groups to America have been given special kinds of U.S. legal status. Under the law covering the Amerasians and other children born outside the United States, a U.S. citizen father must establish a blood as well as a legal relationship to the child, which might include acknowledging paternity in writing under oath and agreeing in writing to provide financial support until the child’s eighteenth birthday.”

*

“Amerasians needed to be acknowledged as having a place, if not even an important place, in the lives of their birth parents. The fathers they sought were idealized figures who by accepting and loving them could heal all the misery and shame of the past. Rejection or even ambivalence on the part of the father would amount to what one psychologist labeled a “psychological death blow.” And many Amerasians felt they at least deserved that acceptance; if not material restitution, from the American father and his country, since it was because of the father and his country that the child had suffered so much.”

from Surviving Twice (Yarborough 2005, p. 137–38)

He wanted a family. On the phone, my mother tells me that he wanted to take care of my half-sisters and me. If he had been treated for the depression, if he was able to quit drinking, if his lungs had held up, if he had found you somehow over the years, what would our lives have looked like? So much depended on him and so many of my thoughts lie in the conditional. I do know this: my mother would’ve taken you in.

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