To Duane Vanberkom
One Amerasian's Story
The word "Amerasian" was coined mainly during Vietnam War when American troops fathered many Asian children primarily in Vietnam, but it is also an occurrence wherever U.S. troops were stationed. When U.S. service members fathered children they would literally abandon them once their tour at that duty station is over. Therefore, when the Vietnam War occurred, it left many children fatherless at its wake when the conflict was over. Not all soldiers left their child willingly or knowingly, however. There was no social media to put the word out, so essentially the connection is lost. The child then grows up in Vietnam or in the Philippines impoverished and ridiculed for being a bastard child. There is a website that discusses this phenomenon at length here.
I was one of the lucky ones, however. Although I never had gotten a chance to meet my biological father, I had a father and didn't live impoverished like many others did. He raised me since I was two-years-old when he fell in love with my mother. I also have one sister and two brothers from their union whom I love dearly. My father, Walter, adopted me and gave me his last name, and with that the whole soul connection to all his relatives, heritage and ancestors. Because of him, I am also part Ukrainian-American. My mom and dad are still together to this day.
What I do know of my biological father is that I am part Dutch-American from Powers Lake, SD, and Native American (Blackfoot) which is so obvious in my facial features. I tracked him and his relatives down many years ago when he was battling cancer. Unfortunately, even with that, he did not claim me.
You see, I have lived my life full of love that I received from my friends and family who have been ever present in my life. I didn't need my bio-dad's acknowledgement, just a confirmation of my lost heritage that I can never claim. Actually, I do, nevertheless...
Here is a prose poem I wrote during PBS's series on Amerasian's many years ago: