Nguyễn Thị Trúc and her second adopted daughter prepare to plant wild orchids as a way of earning a living in their house in Kon Tum Province. Photo thanhnien.vn
By Đức Nhật
KON TUM Nguyễn Thị Trúc never imagined she could become a mother at the age of 17.
Trúc was born to a poor family with ten siblings in the Central Highlands province of Kon Tum. At the age of 14, she was forced to drop out of school to earn money when her mother was seriously ill. Her father – the only breadwinner of the family – couldn’t earn enough money to feed the kids no matter how hard he tried.
Trúc worked at a business household in Kon Tum City, but soon quit after losing two fingers in an occupational accident.
The girl started to sell lottery tickets. Trúc spent all day walking along the road, hoping to sell all the tickets. She needed the money to help her family.
One day in 2007, Trúc was on her way home when she saw a lot of people gathering in front of Pháp Hoa Pagoda in Hoà Bình Ward.
Curiously, she stepped forward to see what the commotion was about. There she saw a baby girl sleeping under a thin blanket.
Trúc couldn’t resist approaching and picking up the baby. Waking up, the baby cried. Trúc tried to calm the child baby and rub its little hands.
The baby responded to her. She stopped crying, and grabbed Trúc’s finger without letting go.
That’s the moment Trúc decided to adopt the child.
“I wanted to carry her away at that moment. But people told me to let the child stay at the pagoda for several days in case her parents changed their minds and returned for her,” Trúc said.
Arriving home, Trúc told the story to her parents, and it became a controversial issue for the whole family.
Trúc’s father kept asking about the baby during every meal. He wanted to know whether someone had come to take care of her.
“My dad is an orphan. He was found and raised by my grandmother. He still does not know his roots,” she said.
In the next few days, Trúc visited the pagoda to learn about the baby. After three days of waiting, Trúc and her mother asked to adopt the child.
They went to the ward’s People’s Committee to complete the birth certificate for the baby. From that day, Trúc became the mother of a baby girl at the age of 17.
During her first days of motherhood, Trúc was clumsy. She had to learn how to change the diaper, how to lull the baby to sleep and comfort her when she cried for milk.
The small house in the small alley was bustling more than ever when Trúc’s older sister gave birth. Trúc had a lot of support from her mother and her sister. The best thing was that the two babies were breastfed.
The appearance of a new baby in Trúc’s house had quickly become a hot topic among the neighbourhood. Some knew the story and said Trúc was crazy to put more of a burden on herself. Some guessed she was pregnant out of wedlock, or even was raped and had the child.
Hearing the rumours, the young girl could do nothing but hug the child and cry.
Getting tired of the rumours every day, Trúc decided to move to HCM City, which was 680 kilometres away. She had to leave the baby at home.
“I had dozens of jobs, from garment workers to nail and hair technician. I did everything to get money to send back to my mum and raise my kid,” she said.
“I kept a photo of my baby and brought it with me. It was the motivation for me to keep going,” she said.
Being a mum again
In 2013, Trúc got a phone call from her brother Nguyễn Hải Hưng.
Hưng, who was working in Gia Lai Province, said he found an abandoned baby crying near a dry sewer. The baby was wrapped in a towel, still with the umbilical cord intact.
Trúc immediately travelled from HCM City to Gia Lai Province. She wanted to adopt the baby.
After going through procedures on verifying the baby, Trúc was allowed to take the baby back to her family in Kon Tum Province.
The baby weighed only 1.1 kilogrammes. Trúc decided to stay at home and take care of the new child.
Once more Trúc raised the newborn. This time, she had to buy formula milk to feed the baby, but was a better mum than the previous time.
Rumours about Trúc started again, but this time the words did not bother her.
The two children have grown up quickly. The older child is in secondary school and the little one is about to enter first grade.
“They know how to help me do many chores. They love me and are well-behaved,” she said.
To earn a living, Trúc learned how to grow wild orchids and borrowed money to open a wild orchid garden.
Pointing to the wild orchid garden, Trúc said orchids had strong vitality whether they grew on rocks or on a dry tree.
“I often teach my children to live as strong as the wild orchids,” she said.
“There are still many difficulties for the three of us. I just hope that the trade of wild orchids will go well so I can take care of the children well.”
Trúc said she also hoped that young people would learn how to love wisely and responsibly, so that no more children are abandoned.
Đặng Thị Tâm, chairman of Trần Hưng Đạo Ward’s People’s Committee said she admired Trúc's will. What she did was very praiseworthy.
The committee has listed Trúc as among local good people. It has supported her and would continue seeking donations to help her, she said. VNS